Dogs and Canoe. Are we mad? Quite possibly but we have a 17ft Coleman Canoe because Paul spotted one on Facebook that looked pretty cheap, it is in good condition apart from a small dent but it is water worthy and yeah. We have a canoe.
In an ideal world we would take the boat out with all four dogs and enjoy some time on the water with them all. Realistically that is just not going to happen with our dogs, or at least not any time soon. We were umming and erring whether to take any dogs with us on our first canoe outing but we had bought it to go out with the dogs and so I decided we should take Lily. She is our little good one and though our attempts of SUP with her involved running up and down trying to chase the paddles, we figured there were worst things that could happen. However she did try and chase the paddles as soon as we started using them. Thankfully she is older and wiser and so she calmed down quite quickly and stopped trying to chase them.
So I am not someone who is used to being on the water and I am not someone who is a great swimmer either. If I am completely honest I was really apprehensive about going on the water and it took me a while to get in the boat to begin with. Every time it moved or tilted I was worrying about it. Paul has done a lot more on the water, that paired with the fact he spent years teaching swimming to people means he does know what he is doing! Thankfully he was quite happy to teach me whilst we were out too and by the time we got back I was happier in the boat – getting out was something entirely different and I am still not a fan of getting out of it!
We made sure to get Lily a buoyency aid before we went out a second time. The first time she went out she was exhausted! There were so many ducks and swans out and she so wanted to go and play with them but we just said to her a couple of times to leave and not once did she try to get out of the canoe. I was pretty impressed to be honest because she does love to chase birds and small animals. We did then sit there and wonder if it will ever be possible to get the munsters in the canoe, would they sit still when we are going past ducks that close? Hmmm not sure…
Our first trip out was also in the evening as the sun was setting, it was beautiful to look at, the scenery, everything was stunning. It did mean that lots of birds and wildlife were about though, so maybe if we do decide to try the munsters we do it more during the day than early morning/late evening.
We wanted to get Lily her buoyancy aid before we went out again and so I spent a lot of time researching! We were recommended the Ruffwear Float Coat by a lot of people but it was really expensive. So we were looking around for either an alternative or whether anyone was selling the Ruffwear one cheaper and we came across the Hurtta Life Savior and it was about half the price of the Ruffwear one. I have to be honest I am not a fan of these things, I don’t like that a lot of them restrict the dogs movement and it can make some dogs quite lazy when swimming. I only agreed to get one because I think for our trips on the water its safer. I don’t use them for our dogs swimming but I might use one on Raven when she swims just because she gets tired but now I am getting off topic…
I do like the hurtta life savior though, it is really adjustable and Lily was so comfortable in it. She was happy jumping in and out the boat (will get back to that in a bit!), was brilliant for getting hold of to get her back in the boat and she fell asleep in it which was brilliant. I was really worried she wouldn’t be that comfortable to chill in it but she was so we give it a big thumbs up!
On our second trip out we decided we would let Lily jump in the river. We weren’t initially going to because I didn’t know whether or not she had the self control to stay in the boat when there were was something outside she might want (a duck!) vs she is allowed out the boat for a swim. We decided on our first trip that we definitely wouldn’t let her jump out because then we could just have the rule “you stay in the boat” however it got very hot on our second trip and she was clearly very hot. It was getting to the point where we were going to be getting water to pour over her and so we decided we would give it a go and let her get in.
She struggled to work out how to get in to begin with but once she worked out how to jump in she was brilliant. She loved swimming alongside the boat and was much quicker swimming than I was paddling – Paul was on Lily watch as he has the space to get her back in at the back. She liked to cut in front of the boat a few times which made me worry but being we are in a canoe, it can just stop and she was fine.
We did almost 8km on our second paddle and were on the water for around two and a half hours. It was great fun, so relaxing and when we got back to Tattershall Bridge it looked as if everyone was out enjoying the water! I got out and then Paul decided he wanted to go and paddle with Lily on their own, see how easy it is to manouvre our massive canoe on his own. Lily was a little confused to begin with as to why I was on the side and not in the boat with them but then she settled down again. It was lovely watching them in the boat together. Loads of people who were on SUP boards and open water swimming loved seeing Lily and we got so many comments about how lovely she was. Always nice to get compliments from people about your dog!
So Dogs and canoe… it’s a winner. We love it. I will try and blog a little more about our water adventures, especially as we slowly start adding the other dogs too. Not sure how it will go, how wet we might get, but we will see!