What is the ideal canoe dog for a solo canoeist?

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When things get a little uncertain, or scary Gunner panics. Jake, looks to me for what to do in those times.
Jake sounds like a great dog. One of my favorite parts of traveling with a familiar dog is that interaction. Not only them looking to you for direction but, upon hearing an odd noise or something out of sorts, looking to them for direction. They have better hearing, better nose, and a much better catalog of things like that in their head. If I hear something at night and Sadie isn't concerned then neither am I.

Alan
 
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Honestly, my heeler is too active to be a good canoe/camp dog. He barks at wildlife and wants to play constantly. He minds well in the canoe, but moves around more than I want when things get chippy. I'm considering taking our lab out, who is so mellow I'm not worried about him in the boat even though he's not done much canoeing. Part of the reason I got a Prospector 15 was to have room for his bulk. The one thing giving me paws :) is his nose has gone light. We had another dog that lost the pigment on his nose and it burned easily in the sun, constantly scabbing over.
 
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Honestly, my heeler is too active to be a good canoe/camp dog. He barks at wildlife and wants to play constantly. He minds well in the canoe, but moves around more than I want when things get chippy. I'm considering taking our lab out, who is so mellow I'm not worried about him in the boat even though he's not done much canoeing. Part of the reason I got a Prospector 15 was to have room for his bulk. The one thing giving me paws :) is his nose has gone light. We had another dog that lost the pigment on his nose and it burned easily in the sun, constantly scabbing over.
BlackFly check out My Dog Nose It on Chewy.. yes sunscreen that can be used on a dogs nose supposedly. I have not tried it.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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The one thing giving me paws :) is his nose has gone light. We had another dog that lost the pigment on his nose and it burned easily in the sun, constantly scabbing over.

Kevin Callan uses an umbrella attached to the canoe with PVC pipe or Bungee Dealee Bobs to protect his dog from the sun. He shows and talks about it at 3:30 of this video, which is pretty informative as a whole on the subject of canoeing with dogs, without much of his usual goofing off.

 
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My lab is a great water dog and more importantly she obeys. She was a high powered field trial girl. I made her sit in the canoe for a couple of weeks before going to the water. She and I survived an Argosy that was more canoe than my skills provided. We live along the ICW so plenty of exposure. She’s smallish at 51 pounds, in my mind just right
 
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I'm curious to hear from owners of black dogs if overheating is a problem in the summer? Sadie was chosen specifically with canoeing in mind and I passed over many dark colored dogs knowing there would be many days of warm and sunny weather spent in the canoe with no shade. I didn't know if this was a real issue or not but I erred on the side of caution.

Alan
 
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I'm curious to hear from owners of black dogs if overheating is a problem in the summer? Sadie was chosen specifically with canoeing in mind and I passed over many dark colored dogs knowing there would be many days of warm and sunny weather spent in the canoe with no shade. I didn't know if this was a real issue or not but I erred on the side of caution.

Alan
It is harder on black dogs for sure, but very light colored dogs can sun burn and it's tougher on their eyesight in the longrun. I'd say a brown or speckled dog is best.
 
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These are the traits I consider important (not in any order):
1. Very loyal
2. Intelligent (listens to commands well, settles into routine without prompting)
3. Temperment (calm, easy going, friendly)
4. Sun resistant coat
5. Good swimmer
6. No more than 50 lbs (35-40 would be better for food consumption, yet durable)
7. Not a barker
 
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Lets add to BF's list.. A dog that will carry its share of kibble on a doggie pack. My Lucy a Golden was the sweetest most obedient dog until we unloaded at any portage and she saw the dog pack.. She would be off like a shot without the pack down the trail.. And continue to try to evade us for many minutes. I swear just to torture us.. She never got away with portage au naturel but she gave us a fight every time. And at 70 lbs we had a pack that had perhaps 5 lbs of kibble.
 
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With a big dog chow hound the training them to carry a pannier pack of their own would be advantageous. I’ve not seen that on a portage trail, but have met climbing parties, burdened with ropes and gear, whose dogs were carrying their own weight.

Kinda doubting Glenn wants a big dog in tender boats. He could get something like Sadie. I’ve told this tale before, but it remains a group trip favorite memory.

We were on one of those multi-day Gentleman’s trips where we’ve brought everything but the kitchen sink; tarps, chairs, serious food larders, coolers with frosty beverages, dogs and assorted hangers-on.

Alan has brought along his miniature canine companion Sadie, a 5 lb Toy Manchester, and her assortment of diminutive doggie accoutrements, including a dry dog food mixture consisting of tiny little crunchy pellets, made especially for a Lilliputian pooch.

Camp established, sun set, we settle in for a long night of frosty beverage consumption. Arising somewhere bleary eyed the next morning we survey the carnage of our camp. Most folks have at least made it back to their tents and we commence the inevitable morning after clean-up.

In the midst of policing the area Alan finds that something has been at Sadie’s dog food stash, the top is off the jar and her supply of tiny crunchies is nearly exhausted. Something clever we deduce, cunning enough to unscrew the lid. Most likely a raccoon. Alan finds the lid, secures the jar and makes a mental note to take better precautions with Sadie’s food in the future.

Little by little our remaining companions awake to stumble about camp. Alan’s newcomer friend Jay is one of the last to arise, looking quite the worse for wear. Jay plods about the campsite in an unfocused manner, at last coming to a stop beside Sadie’s food jar. Unscrewing the lid he scoops up a handful and begins popping them into his maw.

“JAY, what are you DOING?” Alan shouts.

“Oh, uh, sorry, I, uh, I thought they were for everybody” Jay replies sheepishly.

“How much of that have you had?” Alan asks.

“Um, well, last night. . . . I mean. . . . I thought they were for everybody”

Not a cunning animal. Not a raccoon. Jay. Jay has mistaken eaten a three day supply of dog chow in one night. And liked it enough to come back for more in broad daylight.

Being the empathetic and tactful group that most boaters are we spent the next several days speaking to Jay with peculiar, enthusiastic inflection. “Down Jay, sit, sit down!”, “Come Jay, atta boy, who’s a good boy?”

For some reason Jay never came on another trip. And we even offered to bring some of the stuff that makes its own gravy.

Glenn, maybe a Manchester Terrier, trained to carry a tiny little kibble pack. I can’t resist. From the 1966 Observer’s Book of Dogs:

“Purely British in its origin, and probably descended from an elderly barrister’s Black& Tan Terrier, it had its heyday in the last half of the last century, when it was quite fashionable”.

That sounds like Glenn to me.

“The quality and popularity of the Manchester deteriorated. . . .and eventually the breed neared extinction”. That’s Glenn all over, including “Ears small and vee shaped. Coat close, smooth, short and of firm texture”

Not that I spent much time petting Glenn when he visited.
 
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