What are your thoughts......a dog on a paddle with a large MeetUp group

Love friend’s dogs I know when we are one two or three paddlers, however…how about on a paddle with 10-15 kayakers of whom most are strangers?

PS - I know my first issue is organizing an open to “almost all paddlers” MeetUp event.

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From my experience with Meetup groups the dog is probably a better paddler than most of the group…


Why is it that people with dogs think everyone else should have to put up with their dog. They always claim that their dog is well behaved, doesn’t beg for food, sniff crotches or jump on others. They forget that dogs and kids are a lot alike. Not everyone likes yours like you do.


I always paddle with my dog.
Paddling with 10-15 people I don’t know sounds like a nightmare.
I have led trips of up to 8 people, but it is cat herding. Never again.
now I like 1-4 for a group size.

My brother used to say, that any place he could not take his dog was not worth going.
I changed out the seats in my tandem OT Canadienne to one solo seat. I put it back a ways from the neutral position to account for the fact that I always paddle with my Border Collie Ruby Begonia.


Unless your pet is “truly” well behaved (key word is truly); I would personally suggest you leave your pet at home. What is well behaved to the owner is typically NOT considered well behaved by others.

Nobody wants to listen to a yapping dog that won’t shut up, and the owner can’t make it shut up. Nobody wants your wet/muddy dog climbing on them, and begging food when they’re sitting down for a meal. Nobody want a wet/muddy dog inside their open tent.

The biggest problem with pets I’ve observed is the pet’s owner. The behavior of a dog runs right down the leash from its owner. Too many pets run loose and their behavior is just ignored by the owner. Too many owners use their “he’s so cute” pet as an attention seeking device for themselves.

I do know some paddlers who bring their pets, but those owners make the pets behave, and correct them if they don’t.

I know what a well behaved, and well trained, under control dog looks like!
I worked as a military police/ sentry dog handler for 4 years, and was a military police/sentry dog unit supervisor/trainer for 2 years.

18th MP Brigade Senty Dogs 212th Military Police Company (Sentry Dogs) MACV Sentry Dogs

US Army K-9 Corps badge ![Viet Nam K-9 memorial patch|473x335]

Viet Nam K-9 memorial patch


Somebody else’s dog? Not my thing, but I’m fine with that.

I am not a dog-person. I don’t tolerate slobber-mosters very well, but when someone in the group has a dog, tolerence is called for. I would prefer no dogs, no perfumes, no smokers, people I like, etc, etc. but dogs are no worse than anything else.

My opinion is that people should not bring dogs in a group who don’t know each other, but after a 2nd or 3rd meet, or if dogs are explicitly invited, and then, dog-owners are expected to moderately control their animals - and in my experience, almost always do.

My real irritation with dogs is with ‘strays’ that probably belong to a nearby house and is allowed to roam free, not with dogs people bring to kayak with them.

Thank you for your service !

As for Meet ups, you are likely to have beginners in any type of boat and any skill level, including none.
I’ve scheduled many and none have been long or difficult. I’ve met many nice people who didn’t have a clue and I always had someone along who did. I can’t remember one that wasn’t a good time.
I also know people who live for the long and difficult and those trips aren’t Meet Ups.


Thanks for ya’lls replies. MeetUps are a way I try to help grow the paddling community between New Orleans LA and Mobile AL. Fortunately, I am located almost in the middle of those two cities. MeetUps are also a way to get out basic safety info to paddlers that might never hear it or the reason to think about safety from a real person.

Several students have come from meetups and some have become very good friends too - besides paddling buddies. Some remain recreational, fair weather, flat water paddlers while a hand-full have understood the value of advanced skills to be safer/experienced in more adventurous conditions b4 being confronted with impromptu rough water/rescue situations when conditions unexpectedly change.

The dog issue is a tough one though as paddling with a pet is fun for both human and pet. In the future I need to set expectations that just like wearing a PFD and no alcohol until the end of the paddling day, no dogs on group paddles.

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First off, I’d check with the organizers to see if dogs are allowed on the paddle. There are people that are terrified of even the most gentle and well trained dog and the organizers may know if they are going along. I have two dogs and they don’t kayak with me because they are two big Irish Wolfhounds and weigh in at about 150lbs each and if they fell in I couldn’t get them back in the boat even if they fit in the first place, but I do bring them out in public a lot. If its an event, I always ask if dogs are allowed.


Thanks for asking the organizer. In this case, the organizer is me and your comment caused me to go review my comments to make that more clear. :slight_smile:


I love dogs but it’s a liability for the group. Take your dog where it’s you and a friend in a safe safe place.


I used to organize Meetup paddles, a few years ago. One lady wanted to paddle, with her lap dog. Told her the dog was welcome. But if the kayak flipped; and they both ended up in the water, she was the priority. Not the dog. Until she was safe and back in her kayak, the dog was on their own(Unless someone else, was able to assist the dog). Legally it is a lot easier to deal with a drowned dog, than a drowned person.

I can see taking a dog if paddling a canoe, but a kayak?

Paris being the exception, of course.

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Paris rides on top of the kayak. The most common way a dog goes with {on a sit in kayak} is to leave the front hatch cover off and have the dog ride in the front hatch…Bad bad idea if the seas are at all running high. Even wash overs can cause a Cleopatra’s Needle. tough rescue. Group paddles…dogs are a nightmare. Some people are allergic and even cute and well behaved dogs are like bringing a 2 year old on an adult outing. {some 2 year old kids are behaved…but the group dynamics are not at all the same.} Had it happen several years ago…didn’t realize until everyone was afloat that someone had snuck their dog into the open front hatch while everyone was launching…not good.


Our two kayak/canoe culbs use Meet Up for communications/scheduling. Most of our Florida paddles are in gator water. Dogs are not encouraged.

We are currently on a weekend trip. There are three dogs. All three stay in the base camp. Dogs on boats tend to be drifter groups. This group is not one of those. I would tend to discourage the dogs on boats…of course I sometimes loose that argument with Qruiser. Thinking of the Sept Poker run on the Suwannee where she took the retrievers on a sit on top. It was a drifter " party" paddle . A section without gator conditions.

The Ann Arbor paddling club (Great Lakes Paddlers) has a NO PETS rule and that makes sense to me. But my black lab was always invited since she had a lot of experience (and friends) and was never the slightest burden. Even still I never took her on the New Years’s Day paddle.

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I love the Suwannee. Had a family reunion there one year. My sister in law almost stepped on a 6’ diamondback. It was early spring and cold and the snake had no desire to move. We moved .

None of the above replies tell me whether the dog and accompanying paddler have good experience. So no way l can comment intelligently about yes or no.

I don’t see discriminating because someone simply dislikes dogs unless that is a policy the group has already set. Once they are in the boat it’s not like they can be jumping on someone.

In your shoes l would ask some questions to try and find out their basic practices. Per…

Does the dog have a PFD? Not optional, if something happens you will need that handle. Plus if people need one it should apply to the dog.
What kind of boat, a canoe or SOT, or a kayak with a hatch compromised to hold the dog?
How much paddling has the person done, solo and with the dog? Personally l would say no to someone who has decided your meet up is a good time to experiment w a new experience for the dog.
How big is the dog, against what they are paddling? A 90 lb dog in a 10 ft rec boat or a lightweight pack canoe fpr a small paddler is likely a bad idea.

Just some,thoughts…

There is no issue with stating that your group paddle, the one you are voluntarily providing a service to, does not allow dogs. The paddle is for paddlers, not their pets.

The problem with dogs in groups where at least some people do not expect dogs is that the event becomes a showcase for the It’s All About The Dogs kinds of owners (and their spoiled dogs).

Most people like or tolerate well-behaved pets…in appropriate settings. Examples of appropriate settings: dog parks, pet supply stores, homes of friends who invited dogs to come, vet offices, “mutt struts.”

I hope you don’t get a militant dog nut in your group, the kind that says “It’s A Service Dog!” when it is not.