Monday, July 13, 2015

Canoeing with the Dogs: Good to Try Once

Another weekend, another chance to spend time outdoors and in the water. 
Saturday was a nice relaxing day at my aunt's pool. I generally don't bring my dogs as I want my aunt to invite me back, but I have been feeling particularly in love with Dahlia lately and couldn't resist bringing her. 

She was actually really well-behaved, sitting quietly under my feet as we ate lunch then enjoying herself in the fountain. 

She only harassed my aunt's dog Charlie when we went outside, so I leashed her up and used the opportunity for some make-out time. 

Staying at my aunt's place is so relaxing, time easily gets away from you. Fortunately, my dad was there to keep us on task so I got home right when Florian got home from teaching, and we were able to head to a nearby reservoir for a dog-free date nite on the boat. 
Really nothing better than getting out in the boat in the late afternoon, when the air is still and the sun is less intense. And yes, it's pretty amazing to have some dog-free time too.

Shhh! Did I say that?

Well don't worry, dog-free time never lasts for long around here. Sunday it was time to bring the dogs for a hike. We chose Tuckahoe State Park, not too far once you cross the Bay Bridge in Maryland. 

We took a nice trail for a while, but there was no water on the trail, the dogs were thirsty, and it was hot. Plus, we were both exhausted ...Florian has for some reason been teaching an insane number of classes lately, and I've been pulling weeds and rearranging plants and rocks with a vengeance. 

We saw that near the trail there was a lake and a place where they rented canoes. We thought, why not? 

We've been thinking a lot about boats, fantasizing about getting a boat that the dogs could go in, like a canoe or like the porta bote that our boat-savvy friend Pamela told us about.

And we learned something, namely that it would take some doing to get our dogs comfortable with riding in any boat. 

A canoe looks pretty stable from the outside, but try riding in one with two big dogs who are constantly shifting around, leaning over the edge, and occasionally humping one another. 
It was fun, but maybe not as relaxing as one might hope. 

The canoe was very unstable and responsive to changes in weight. When the dogs sat or lay down in the middle of the boat all was well, but they didn't do that often. When they shifted, they tended to shift to the same side, both at once, and I was pretty sure we were going to capsize more than once. 

So after a while I disembarked with the dogs and had a nice walk around the lake while Florian explored in the canoe.
That was more relaxing for everybody, though of course Fozzie got anxious that his people were separated.

They both relaxed once they could go in the water, especially Fozzie as he is an old pro. Dahlia usually tries to avoid deep water, as I don't think she knows that she knows how to swim. When she unexpectedly went into a deep part though, she seemed to do just fine!

Seems to me that all dogs know how to swim, they just need some practice to realize that it comes naturally to them.

Even if they are terrible at canoeing. 

How does YOUR dog do on the water?


  1. we have never been in water like that, if we did not sink to the bottom like a heavy rock we would love it. stella rose

  2. I spent a lot of time this weekend on a houseboat. Now that is my idea of boating. A comfortable chair and a margarita. I may take a dog along next time.

  3. What a wonderful weekend you all had! We both like the water a lot, butt we've never been in a boat before. We both like to swim very much. Summer - YAY!!

    -Ruby and Otto

  4. Hi Kirsten, a swim coach taught me how to swim at my first pool. I wore a flotation device (life jacket) at first and they carried me around the pool and eased me into the swimming part. I'm pretty good now and I swim in a pool every Sunday. You can come by and watch me anytime :)

  5. Im jealous none of our dogs like the water at all which is why my husband is against taking them boating for the fact that it would be unstable and we would likely capsize and they wouldn't like falling in the water. The only one who does like water a bit is Bob the bulldog who enjoys his baby pool but the others won't touch it. I do think we could probably do it with Tuvok our toy poodle as he is so small, about 7 lbs, and very good at sitting still

    retro rover

    retro rover

  6. Good question. I've been spending a lot of time with my friend's dog G (preparing for her visit in Aug - more details at my blog) but I don't know if she can really swim. She certainly seems to enjoy water, so guess we may have to put that on our list!

  7. Loved our pictures. And yes, a canoe is pretty challenging for a pair of wiggly dogs.

    A kayak is much more stable for pups, if a much tighter fit.

    When we went canoeing with our last dog, Shadow, we found it best to have me in the back and Mike in the front. Just watching her wiggling made him very tense while I simply adjusted my steering and body weight to adjust for her movement.

    Oh, and one thing that got us looking at the Porta Bote is their stability. I can't see Honey doing as well in a canoe as she does in a kayak.


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