In a few weeks, we are embarking upon a camping trip in northern Wisconsin for a long weekend. To get from the car to our campsite, we’ll have to paddle our canoe across a lake. With that in mind, we decided that it would not be the worst idea to figure out ahead of time just how Dalla would handle a ride in a canoe.

We don’t want to leave Dalla at a kennel for a weekend, but we’re also not interested in retrieving all of our camping gear off the lake bottom after the dog tips a fully loaded canoe.

So, yesterday, we took Dalla out on to Lake Mendota for a half-hour canoe expedition. She was somewhat less than impressed by the whole experience. When we led her on to the dock to which we had the canoe secured, she walked very tentatively (and with all of her claws out) after she looked down through the slats of the dock and saw the lake underneath.

Then, I got into the canoe and tried to coax her into the canoe with me. She would have none of that! So, I grabbed her and lifted her into the canoe in front of me. I wanted to keep her under close control because our canoe is meant for relatively shallow, calm fresh water and the lake yesterday was choppy from the wind and periodic speedboat wakes.

Once we got her in the canoe, she whined for five minutes or so while clearly looking unhappy. However, after that, she started to settle down and tried to get comfortable. If we had put down something on the canoe bottom on which she could walk, she might even have gone to sleep. As it was, the bottom of the (fiberglass) canoe is slick, and she couldn’t get any purchase to keep from sliding back and forth in the canoe when we hit a particularly large wave.

After getting the canoe back to the dock, and on top of the car, we took her over to the dog beach to try and coax her to swim. Sarah waded out into the lake and called the dog. Dalla would then wade out into the water, but as soon as she started to float (rather than walking on the lake bottom) she would execute some sort of caterpillar-contraction maneuver to get her feet back on the bottom. So, no swimming yet, but we’ll keep trying.