BWCA Portaging your canoe with a leashed dog Boundary Waters Group Forum: Doggie Paddle
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      Portaging your canoe with a leashed dog     



02/13/2017 02:30PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Anyone have to do this? I have a 7 foot lead with a section of shock cord incorperated in the lead. I use for Dogjoring and just thought I'd clip it to my belt. I want to have both hands free when portaging the canoe Anybody else do this? What are your methods. I know I'll have to get him used to me hoisting the canoe up with him close by.
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02/13/2017 05:40PM  
If I had to do this my dog would stay home. I know it's the rules but my dog doesn't chase wildlife and will lay down if I say her name. She listens extremely well so she's free on the portages.

If she didn't behave like this I would leave her home but I think portaging a canoe with a leash is dangerous.

02/13/2017 06:14PM  
There is no rule requiring dogs to be on leashes in the BWCA; they simply have to be under control and that can be verbal.

I always travel with a 15 foot rope but have never yet hooked my dog up. Without knowing your dog's size, inclination to pull, obedience, or likelihood to bolt if frightened it's sort of hard to say how your method would work. The first thought that crossed my mind is a 7 foot lead puts the dog under the canoe with you. If you bump a tree or rock with the boat, what will your dog do? Seems to me a little longer might be a little safer, and it might be worth doing a quick release (like tucking a loop of the lead into your belt so it can pull out if needed), provided your dog can be recalled. Hopefully others have more scoop on what has worked or not worked for them.
02/13/2017 07:47PM  
My Black Lab is very friendly. He stays by me but wants to say Hi to everyone he meets. Some people have an issue with a dog coming up to them. I may be over thinking this too much.
02/14/2017 07:02AM  
Mine likes people but tends to avoid them on portages. If I go a few days without seeing anyone then she gets startled if we run into someone and will let out a bark. I tell her it's ok and she quiets down but won't go up to them unless I stop to chat and she can see they are not "dangerous".

She did freak out a bit when we saw a guy with a canoe on his head coming the other way on the trail. she got pretty afraid of that but I just called her past the man and she was fine.

I had assumed dogs needed to be leashed on the portages. Good to know I am wrong on that.

02/14/2017 12:11PM  
quote Blatz: I may be over thinking this too much."

I don't think you are. You need to think it through and be honest with yourself about how your dog acts on the trail and decide how to maintain control. Aside from the legal angle, I'd say you have a responsibility to other paddlers not to let your dog bother them. My lab likes to meet people too, but I've got enough verbal control to keep him away from people until I've sized up their reaction.
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02/18/2017 07:38AM  
I love my big black dogs but I don't always like other people's dogs and so I try to keep that in mind.

Both of my dogs leash walk on portages, one is young and loves jumping and running everywhere. When we do any kind of hiking he is on-leash to help pace him and prevent his over exuberant greetings. The other, my friendly black lab is getting older and deafer and gets spooked whenever we run into people on the trail. Everyone has been really cool about it but I feel terrible when all of us jump at the sudden dog bark (followed by a wagging tail). She does better when she is right by my side and it helps pace her aging bones.

We practiced loose leash walking at home and both have learned to fall in line behind me or walk straight in front when on a trail. Teaching the dogs to walk on the correct side of a tree and walk through mud puddles is the hard part, but both dogs know "wait" and we leapfrog across or I will let them off-leash and have them cross separately and then reconnect. Now that we are practiced, it really isn't a big deal to have them on-leash.

I use a thin 6' leash that I can stow in my pocket and a carabiner for quick connects to my belt or pack belt. Neither one pulls hard, though sometimes a little pull uphill is nice. Also will clip leash to a tree branch when getting the canoe into/out of the water sometimes, then leash is grab-able with canoe on head.

If the portage is totally empty I might let the dog run or swim some and burn energy or let them off-leash at the landing while loading.

02/18/2017 04:14PM  
Thanks Barracuda. You basically described what I had in mind. It's nice to hear from someone who has experience with leashed to the belt portaging experience. My dog is very comfortable walking with me while leashed. It seems to calm him.
02/19/2017 11:06PM  
I have done it with a leash. I had an 8 month old golden with me last year on a 4 day solo.

I used a 20' retractable leash. I would attach it to her upon landing. I would then take her up the trail 20 feet or so and tie to a tree leaving the leash chest high. I would then load up with whatever I was to carry. I got back to her and ran the sternum strap trough the handle. It worked great.

My pup learned quickly when to pull and when not. An assist up hills is welcome, and yank downhill is not.

I didn't leash her every single time, but for busier portages or longer portages I did.

02/20/2017 10:56AM  
I don't leash Echo on portages but he stays close and doesn't chase animals. I also still use his e collar just to make sure. I know that not everyone likes or trusts dogs so I do keep a short leash in the pocket of my pfd (which I wear while portaging). If I see or hear someone coming I'll attach the leash to ease the mind of the other people especially when they are carrying a load.
in the 2nd pic he sat next to me and watched 3 moose take off running
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03/13/2017 07:10AM  
I leash my dog Jake. He does have excellent recall and he is very good at ignoring others on the trail if told to do so ... however, other dogs on the portage are another story. Other dogs may want to play, or fight - or whatever ... and with a leash I feel I have better control of my dog. I realize it is not a perfect system, I believe the dangers to my dog are less on the leash than the dangers off.

That said, in very remote areas, he may be unleashed.

04/09/2017 07:06PM  
Being the mother of three sons, I have never had to portage the canoe...just a pack and all the paddles (There's usually six of us on our annual trips).
Last year was the first time I took my miniature poodle mix into the BW. My oldest son's 12-year-old dog had died the past year, and he wanted to have my dog along.
I was prepared to have Jiminy leashed on a retractable leash to a skijoring belt that I use when I backpack/hike with him. It was sort of a hassle with all those paddles. Usually I just use trekking poles to help my old knees with the ups and downs. Six paddles are not as useful. :-/
He said to just let the dog off and see how he does. I have to admit the dog did pretty well. He would move back and forth between whoever was ahead of us and me. We hardly met people on the portages, but when we did I think the dog's small size was not threatening or scary to them. But I kept the retractable leash hooked around my waist just in case a situation arose. None did. Maybe I was just lucky.

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09/15/2019 01:00PM  
I think you have to also consider the small possibility that you run into another portager with a dog that isn't friendly. I saw a lot of dogs on my last trip.

Also, didn't someone on lose their dog portaging.....found several days later fortunately, at a campsite.

I leash Amelia while taking the packs across and then tie her up while I take the canoe, if I am solo. She pulls too much to have her on leash with a canoe on my back.
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09/20/2019 08:03PM  
Here's my angle:

I think keeping a dog under control in the BWCA means not allowing it to approach other paddlers or other paddlers' dogs on portages. Owners cannot predict what will happen when their dog enters either another's personal space or that person's dog's space.

Dog owners must consider the negative consequences that possibly may result. Perhaps the human approached by the dog may not be good at reading dog behavior or has previously experienced aggressive dogs. That individual may interpret fido's inquisitive face as aggression. Perhaps this could cause a panicked reaction that results in....escalation. Ugh. Remember, the human did not approach the dog, she was approached.

Similarly, my dog minds its own business and is as sweet as plum pie unless she is approached by another dog. When that unfortunate occurrence happens, I feel sorry for the other dog. My dog is always leashed within 6 feet of me. Free roaming dogs have a significant advantage, or so they believe until Miss Molly latches her jaws into their hinder.

I come away from these occurrences thinking how inconsiderate these dog owners are. The dogs know no better, but the humans should.
09/21/2019 05:52PM  
As long as the dog isn't a psycho I don't care if they are running around. But that is up to the owner to know. If I see a dog running around without a leash in the bwca I assume the dog is nice and have always been told that when I meet them. The ones on leashes I don't go near because I figure they are on a leash for either one of two reasons. One the dog might run off or two the dog isn't the nicest.
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09/22/2019 01:27PM  
I just use a longer lead than you do and hold it in one hand. You can just drop the lead if you need to for some reason. Some people are afraid of dogs and do not appreciate when people let their friendly dogs approach them. My black lab could not have been sweeter but when walking her in the neighborhood some people would cross the street to avoid getting close to her.
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