BWCA Dogs in the BWCA, training and Islands Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Dogs in the BWCA, training and Islands     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 03:06PM  
Note: I've edited the title of this thread as I think it may be helpful for folks thinking about dogs and issues in the BWCA. I have a great dog who was also fun to camp with, and last summer she unexpectedly took off at night out of the tent when we were on the Wisconsin. So we decided not to take her to the BWCA last summer, and won't again this summer. My OP was trying to think about some island sites that maybe would help calm my nerves so we could take her in the future, and I still am interested in that - but thanks to good feedback I'm thinking I really just need to stay focused on training. Would be sad to not be able to bring her along, but thems the breaks I guess.

Here was my OP:
I'm lucky enough to already have three trips planned for this summer (without my dog). But since we got our GSP we've learned she's not great to take on canoe camping trips without an island campsite. She bolted out of the tent one night on the Wisconsin River and was hard to get back to camp. During the day, she's good. Maybe with a few more years on her she'll calm down and we'll feel more comfortable having her around camp. But that being said, I'm wondering if there are EP's that you like where there are great options to find campsites on islands? Knowing that we would have a good chance at scoring an island site would go a long way to helping me feel comfortable planning a trip where we could bring Piper along. Any recommendations?
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
mschi772
distinguished member(659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 06:34PM  
Honestly, if your dog is that difficult to control, and you're not keeping her on a leash, I have to recommend as both a fellow tripper and as someone who has worked many years as a canine professional that you consider leaving her home until her training and your handling are strong enough that you don't have to hope that an island can contain her. I strongly recommend enrolling in some training classes to start building her training, your handling skills, and relations with a local trainer. Hoping a GSP will just naturally mellow-out on their own over time isn't the best strategy especially with a high-energy breed with a lot of drive to hunt/work.

Knowing that that isn't what you want to hear... it's hard to give this advice in the form of entry points as many destinations can be reached from multiple different entry points, so I'm just going to list some destinations that come to mind and trust you to plot-out how to get there.

Little Sag, Cherokee, Long Island all have numerous island options. Insula does as well. LLC, Basswood, Seagull, and Sag have lots of islands, but many have multiple sites sharing them--if someone's dog found its way off-leash into my campsite, I'd be quite pissed especially if I knew the owner was aware of the dog's tendency to bolt ahead of time.
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 06:48PM  
mschi772: "Honestly, if your dog is that difficult to control, and you're not keeping her on a leash, I have to recommend as both a fellow tripper and as someone who has worked many years as a canine professional that you consider leaving her home until her training and your handling are adequate strong enough that you don't have to hope that geography can contain her.


Knowing that that isn't what you want to hear... it's hard to give this advice in the form of entry points as many destinations can be reached from multiple different entry points, so I'm just going to list some destinations that come to mind and trust you to plot-out how to get there.


Little Sag, Cherokee, Long Island all have numerous island options. Insula does as well. LLC, Basswood, Seagull, and Sag have lots of islands, but many have multiple sites sharing them--if someone's dog found its way off-leash into my campsite, I'd be quite pissed especially if I knew the owner was aware of the dog's tendency to bolt ahead of time."


Thanks mschi: yeah, I've hired a college kid to stay with her in our home while we are on our trips this summer and until we can spend more time on training. We took her once to Insula when she was very young, and she stayed right near us. We've since taken her canoeing and camping, and it is getting worse. As a bird dog, she shakes and wines and wants to jump out of the canoe at every bird that passes. We of course have her on leash on the portages. Last year on the Wisconsin River, we were camping on a very small island and when my daughter opened up the door to pee, she took off and it took us 30 minutes of calling her in the middle of the night to get her to come back. She is an awesome dog, very well-behaved...until night falls in the woods and then she just can't seem to help herself. It just stinks. Starting to work with a remote collar, and I'm hoping that will help with the handling. We won't take her out until we are more comfortable. I was just wondering if there were some magical places out there with lots of islands that I haven't come across yet.
mschi772
distinguished member(659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:07PM  
scotttimm: "mschi772: "Honestly, if your dog is that difficult to control, and you're not keeping her on a leash, I have to recommend as both a fellow tripper and as someone who has worked many years as a canine professional that you consider leaving her home until her training and your handling are adequate strong enough that you don't have to hope that geography can contain her.



Knowing that that isn't what you want to hear... it's hard to give this advice in the form of entry points as many destinations can be reached from multiple different entry points, so I'm just going to list some destinations that come to mind and trust you to plot-out how to get there.



Little Sag, Cherokee, Long Island all have numerous island options. Insula does as well. LLC, Basswood, Seagull, and Sag have lots of islands, but many have multiple sites sharing them--if someone's dog found its way off-leash into my campsite, I'd be quite pissed especially if I knew the owner was aware of the dog's tendency to bolt ahead of time."



Thanks mschi: yeah, I've hired a college kid to stay with her in our home while we are on our trips this summer and until we can spend more time on training. We took her once to Insula when she was very young, and she stayed right near us. We've taken her canoeing and camping, and it is getting worse. As a bird dog, she shakes and wines and wants to jump out of the canoe at every bird that passes. We of course have her on leash on the portages. Last year on the Wisconsin River, we were camping on a very small island and when my daughter opened up the door to pee, she took off and it took us 30 minutes of calling her in the middle of the night to get her to come back. She is an awesome dog, very well-behaved...until night falls in the woods and then she just can't seem to help herself. It just stinks. Starting to work with a remote collar, and I'm hoping that will help with the handling. We won't take her out until we are more comfortable. I was just wondering if there were some magical places out there with lots of islands that I haven't come across yet."


I strongly urge you to work with a professional. A remote collar, especially in the hands of a non-professional, can be disastrous and introduce loads of confusion and anxiety. There are trainers all over that are well-versed in the actual science/psychology of canine training, and the first thing you're going to want to work on isn't punishing her for bolting or not returning but teaching her a solid recall and rewarding her for that. Please please find a good trainer in your area to work with, and try not to delay until later. The sooner the better for countless reasons.
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:09PM  
And just saw your edits - yes - we're exploring training classes, hoping to get started this summer. I did some training on my own with her initially, and she was really good for two years, and then it seems like instincts have really taken over. The thought of losing her is too much, she is a great great dog, and that's why we're not taking her this summer. Maybe my post should have the subject:
Best Island Sites and Recommendations for Dog Training?
05/06/2021 07:10PM  
Agree with the advice only a well trained dog should be on wilderness trips.
I had a golden retriever who loved canoeing, and of course swimming. Normally very well behaved on one occasion she sensed something and bolted . I heard some crashing in the woods and she was back all proud she had protected me. I am grateful it was not a bear or?
mschi772
distinguished member(659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:12PM  
I know it may seem like I'm coming down hard, but it isn't my intention to slam you--I recognize and appreciate that you're trying. So many people don't even try. Building a solid recall will help you a ton. Don't just stop with that, but definitely start there and hopefully with a little input from a trainer so that you can really get the most out of your training sessions with her.
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:12PM  
mschi772: "scotttimm: "mschi772: "Honestly, if your dog is that difficult to control, and you're not keeping her on a leash, I have to recommend as both a fellow tripper and as someone who has worked many years as a canine professional that you consider leaving her home until her training and your handling are adequate strong enough that you don't have to hope that geography can contain her.



Knowing that that isn't what you want to hear... it's hard to give this advice in the form of entry points as many destinations can be reached from multiple different entry points, so I'm just going to list some destinations that come to mind and trust you to plot-out how to get there.



Little Sag, Cherokee, Long Island all have numerous island options. Insula does as well. LLC, Basswood, Seagull, and Sag have lots of islands, but many have multiple sites sharing them--if someone's dog found its way off-leash into my campsite, I'd be quite pissed especially if I knew the owner was aware of the dog's tendency to bolt ahead of time."




Thanks mschi: yeah, I've hired a college kid to stay with her in our home while we are on our trips this summer and until we can spend more time on training. We took her once to Insula when she was very young, and she stayed right near us. We've taken her canoeing and camping, and it is getting worse. As a bird dog, she shakes and wines and wants to jump out of the canoe at every bird that passes. We of course have her on leash on the portages. Last year on the Wisconsin River, we were camping on a very small island and when my daughter opened up the door to pee, she took off and it took us 30 minutes of calling her in the middle of the night to get her to come back. She is an awesome dog, very well-behaved...until night falls in the woods and then she just can't seem to help herself. It just stinks. Starting to work with a remote collar, and I'm hoping that will help with the handling. We won't take her out until we are more comfortable. I was just wondering if there were some magical places out there with lots of islands that I haven't come across yet."



I strongly urge you to work with a professional. A remote collar, especially in the hands of a non-professional, can be disastrous and introduce loads of confusion and anxiety. There are trainers all over that are well-versed in the actual science/psychology of canine training, and the first thing you're going to want to work on isn't punishing her for bolting or not returning but teaching her a solid recall and rewarding her for that. Please please find a good trainer in your area to work with, and try not to delay until later. The sooner the better for countless reasons."

Yes, that is the plan. All of the research and reading I have done agrees that recall and reward with the collar is the method, not used for punishment. So you don't recommend following the programming recommendations - stick with a professional?
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:17PM  
mschi772: "I know it may seem like I'm coming down hard, but it isn't my intention to slam you--I recognize and appreciate that you're trying. So many people don't even try. Building a solid recall will help you a ton. Don't just stop with that, but definitely start there and hopefully with a little input from a trainer so that you can really get the most out of your training sessions with her."

NO - not at all! I'm not taking it as a slam, I very much appreciate the advice. We walk her off leash at a prairie near us and she is great. She loves to swim and is just a blast to be around. We THOUGHT she was really good, until she wasn't that night. After our experience on the Wisconsin last summer, we decided not to take her back to the BWCA later last summer and again this upcoming summer. We are on the same page about having her trained - and now I'm thinking more about a professional - so I appreciate that feedback.

Back to the OP, considering how weird it was that she took off at night, really out of character, I just think I'd be more comfortable with her on an island...so maybe that's just a NO. On a portage last summer, somebody's unleashed dog almost knocked me over on a portage, I would never have her off-leash on a portage. But I was really surprised that she took off in the middle of the night like that. And then hearing about all those folks who lost their dogs last year, I'm just like NOPE.
mschi772
distinguished member(659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:17PM  
scotttimm: "Yes, that is the plan. All of the research and reading I have done agrees that recall and reward with the collar is the method, not used for punishment. So you don't recommend following the programming recommendations - stick with a professional?"

E-collars, way more often then not, generate confusion and anxiety. Anxiety can be subtle, and most people don't even recognize the harm they're doing or have done with such tools. She's young and primed to learn. Rewarding, force-free training methods have been found in the most current scientific studies to be most effective and are easily all you need to not only teach her what you need to but to teach her that learning stuff is inherently fun and rewarding.
05/06/2021 07:23PM  
mschi772: "scotttimm: "mschi772: "Honestly, if your dog is that difficult to control, and you're not keeping her on a leash, I have to recommend as both a fellow tripper and as someone who has worked many years as a canine professional that you consider leaving her home until her training and your handling are adequate strong enough that you don't have to hope that geography can contain her.



Knowing that that isn't what you want to hear... it's hard to give this advice in the form of entry points as many destinations can be reached from multiple different entry points, so I'm just going to list some destinations that come to mind and trust you to plot-out how to get there.



Little Sag, Cherokee, Long Island all have numerous island options. Insula does as well. LLC, Basswood, Seagull, and Sag have lots of islands, but many have multiple sites sharing them--if someone's dog found its way off-leash into my campsite, I'd be quite pissed especially if I knew the owner was aware of the dog's tendency to bolt ahead of time."




Thanks mschi: yeah, I've hired a college kid to stay with her in our home while we are on our trips this summer and until we can spend more time on training. We took her once to Insula when she was very young, and she stayed right near us. We've taken her canoeing and camping, and it is getting worse. As a bird dog, she shakes and wines and wants to jump out of the canoe at every bird that passes. We of course have her on leash on the portages. Last year on the Wisconsin River, we were camping on a very small island and when my daughter opened up the door to pee, she took off and it took us 30 minutes of calling her in the middle of the night to get her to come back. She is an awesome dog, very well-behaved...until night falls in the woods and then she just can't seem to help herself. It just stinks. Starting to work with a remote collar, and I'm hoping that will help with the handling. We won't take her out until we are more comfortable. I was just wondering if there were some magical places out there with lots of islands that I haven't come across yet."



I strongly urge you to work with a professional. A remote collar, especially in the hands of a non-professional, can be disastrous and introduce loads of confusion and anxiety. There are trainers all over that are well-versed in the actual science/psychology of canine training, and the first thing you're going to want to work on isn't punishing her for bolting or not returning but teaching her a solid recall and rewarding her for that. Please please find a good trainer in your area to work with, and try not to delay until later. The sooner the better for countless reasons."
Totally agree. An E collar is a great "tap on the Shoulder" tool to get your dog refocused. BUT it needs the right trainer who knows how to correctly use them. They are never used as a punishment.
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:26PM  
mschi772: "scotttimm: "Yes, that is the plan. All of the research and reading I have done agrees that recall and reward with the collar is the method, not used for punishment. So you don't recommend following the programming recommendations - stick with a professional?"


E-collars, way more often then not, generate confusion and anxiety. Anxiety can be subtle, and most people don't even recognize the harm they're doing or have done with such tools. She's young and primed to learn. Rewarding, force-free training methods have been found in the most current scientific studies to be most effective and are easily all you need to not only teach her what you need to but to teach her that learning stuff is inherently fun and rewarding."


Any studies, methods, literature you'd be willing to recommend?
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/06/2021 07:32PM  
I'm going to rename the thread, as I think it may be helpful for other folks thinking about dogs, the BWCA, and issues they may have
05/06/2021 08:18PM  
scotttimm: "...and it took us 30 minutes of calling her in the middle of the night to get her to come back...."

Not good for adjacent campers. Reminds me of all the lost dog threads posted here last summer.
05/06/2021 08:55PM  
I also have a GSP and she's trained to bird hunt. This summer when it's warmer water I'm going to try her with me in either my solo canoe or more likely my Jackson kayak since it's more stable. I've had her in my jon boat once and she did fine except for when I motored through a flock of waterfowl that were taking off from the river all around us. I said "stay" a bunch of times and she was good. She's trained so that the quiet "beep" on her collar I have control over means come...and she comes back in a hurry every time.

She's 4 years old and has great recall and whatnot, but I still run an e-collar on her if I know I'm going to be in new places or around other people/dogs. I've camped with her in tent and she did great too those nights. We'll see if I ever get brave enough and she's good enough in a canoe/kayak to think about going on a trip with her to the BW. She's not good at just relaxing and laying around....so I could envision her pacing and circling in the boat a lot...and watching for anything that moves in all directions. Keep practicing and you'll be good! I read a few books and watched some professional youtube training videos to fill in the gaps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1v65JqVz_g
05/06/2021 09:02PM  
As for what lakes....Sag, Seagull, etc have quite a few. Honestly Basswood just north of the no-motor line of Jackfish Bay has a bunch of island options.
05/07/2021 07:51AM  
I don't do much as far as training. My past dogs have just been great. However my current dog has given me pause. I am going to delay my first trip with her until I get to know her a tad more. With that being said though on my other pets firsts I did the island campsites. You really don't have to worry much as they can only go so far unless they are really crazy. If you go to the map here you will see tons of lakes with islands from Brule to Kawishiwi to Perent to Gabbro to Gaskin to Meeds, etc. Tons of options. I would target some of those during non busy times and feel pretty comfortable if I were you. Like end of May early June or Late Sept and early Oct is easy.
Speckled
distinguished member (316)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 08:01AM  
We brought our dog, a Standard Poodle, to professional training and went through all the steps at our local trainer. Which were; Puppy Foundation, Adult Foundation, Intermediate Foundation & Advanced Foundation. It felt like for the first year and half of his life we were in training. He performed remarkably in the classes and remarkably our of the classes. Responded to both verbal and visual commands near perfect.

We live out in the country and have acreage. He was near perfect 99.9% of the time. In his 16 years of life, he still managed to disappear a handful of times.

Once out grouse hunting; one second he's where he needs to be and the next he's out of site. Call and upon call did not bring him in. Fortunatly grouse hunting was on our property and neighboring state land. After looking for the majority of the day...sometime that evening we look outside and he's just laying on the porch panting, full of burrs and a giant smile on his face.

Another time, morning pee break outside mid winter, he took off after something in the woods. Again, no call would bring him back. What made him take off that day, no idea. He's seen deer, squirels and almost always (99.9%) was stopped by my voice. I followed his tracks for a couple miles, but eventually had to return to go to work. That evening, again he was found just hanging out on the porch.

We never brought him to the BW, but I always had in mind if we did, it would be an island site. That 0.1% that he runs off...in an unfamiliar place, i'm not sure he finds his way back and i'm not taking the chance.
05/07/2021 08:12AM  
LLC up around Snow Bay and Iron lake have some good island sites. They might help in curtailing your puppy's nocturnal wanderings :)
IronRangeMike
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
 
05/07/2021 09:06AM  
Good luck with her calming down... My GSP is five, I run him 8-10 miles a day spring and summer, 15-20 fall and winter, and his energy level rarely wanes. He's great with my kids, fairly well trained, and listens to commands but he's strictly an upland bird dog. I've considered bringing him duck hunting and but he'd ruin the hunt as he can't sit still. I'd never bring him camping or expect him to sit well in a canoe. Train her up and she'll listen but she won't calm down for several years hahaha.
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 09:17AM  
IronRangeMike: "Good luck with her calming down... My GSP is five, I run him 8-10 miles a day spring and summer, 15-20 fall and winter, and his energy level rarely wanes. He's great with my kids, fairly well trained, and listens to commands but he's strictly an upland bird dog. I've considered bringing him duck hunting and but he'd ruin the hunt as he can't sit still. I'd never bring him camping or expect him to sit well in a canoe. Train her up and she'll listen but she won't calm down for several years hahaha."

I think we lucked out in that she is normally a very laid-back and chill dog. Sleeps on the couch all day. Runs like crazy when we take her to the prairie each day, but then returns back to the couch and is a great lap dog.
ockycamper
distinguished member(575)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 04:05PM  
I think it depends on the group and where you go. If it is just you, or your family, and you are in an area where no one is around, go for it and bring the dog.

The caveat being that the dog is kept on the leash and isn't allowed to just wonder off and "own the island" so to speak. I would not be thrilled at all to find someone else's dog just walk into my site.

When in groups, that is a different story. I have never allowed a dog when we take our groups up in the fall. Too many encounters with moose and bears. Also, not everyone in the group is a dog lover.
IronRangeMike
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
 
05/07/2021 07:06PM  
He does chill out, don’t get me wrong but excitement returns immediately when the right noise occurs.
Jakthund
member (24)member
 
05/08/2021 08:06AM  
Maybe 8 years ago I had a friend who lost his GSP off the Gunflint Trail. Wasn't in BWCA, but staying at a cabin and hiking. They were out hiking and the dog was just gone. Never seen again. Dog was at least 5, so not a puppy. Although it was a rescue and a bit skittish.
GSP's are awesome dogs, but do need to be on the move. It's what they're bred for and I think they like to range further.
I've taken various dogs on trips and love a dog in camp. The 2 best dogs I've had on trips were a Springer and a Golden/Lab mix. These breeds tend to stay closer and are content to sleep in the canoe while we fish. Although be ready to play fetch for hours at a time when your in camp. These dogs never strayed far from camp.
Every dog (and handler) is different, just my personal experience.
chessie
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2021 09:27AM  
We took my 1st Chesapeake Bay Retriever on her 1st canoe trip at her age of 2. It was May Day, very cold water. What was I thinking? She whined all the way across the 1st lake. Lots of good smell coming in I'd guess. The short of it: that dog loved BWCA canoe tripping. She was good in the canoe. She learned, after one very uncomfortable stretch, to 'wait' until told to get in/out of canoe, she would march quietly down the portage trails, carrying her saddle bags (until she got older, then it was too much), she lived to swim and dredge rocks, she asked to go sit in the tent when the black flies were bad, she never barked at anyone, she was indifferent to other dogs, she liked a good fire, she didn't harass wildlife. If we started packing for a BW trip, she go sit by the truck and not move, for fear of getting left behind. It doubled our joy in tripping to have her along, because she loved it so much. I miss her. Fast forward, Chessie #2, and a German Coolie. This Chessie is a great dog, so great, she's been a certified therapy dog, and done countless visits to schools, colleges, nursing homes, etc., bringing a lot of joy to others. However, these 2 are lousy campers. In spite of our best efforts, with 2 attempts, we've vowed to never take them again. It saddens us, but it is not worth it. Stressful for us, stressful for them, and not fair to other wilderness trippers we encounter. Finding good house-sitters is now the key to our success.
dschult2
distinguished member (114)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2021 10:45AM  
However, these 2 are lousy campers. In spite of our best efforts, with 2 attempts, we've vowed to never take them again. It saddens us, but it is not worth it. Stressful for us, stressful for them, and not fair to other wilderness trippers we encounter. Finding good house-sitters is now the key to our success. "
If you don't mind me asking, what exactly made them bad trippers?
chessie
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/10/2021 10:39AM  
dschult2: "However, these 2 are lousy campers. In spite of our best efforts, with 2 attempts, we've vowed to never take them again. It saddens us, but it is not worth it. Stressful for us, stressful for them, and not fair to other wilderness trippers we encounter. Finding good house-sitters is now the key to our success. "
If you don't mind me asking, what exactly made them bad trippers?"

The chessie ingests anything and everything. The 1st morning in, on Pawness - she pooped out a full length sock. One night, she heard a critter outside the tent and made a dive through the screen door - which thankfully held, or mosquitoes would have had their way with us all night. The Coolie is anxious, so hard to manage in canoe, and he barks at people. And he has ice-blue eyes, so while friendly, when you have a 65 lb dog barking and staring, and his hair standing on end... just not good. He scared someone on a portage and that was the deal breaker. This is the short list. We made two attempts w/ them. The first trip was with our exchange student, her friend, and 2 other friends. The mutts were outnumbered [by humans] and that helped. The 2nd trip, a big loop --- that was the real test. They failed. They are great dogs, just not great trippers/campers. We could have done more to work with them, no doubt, but at this point, not worth it - given their age(s).
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next