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What you posted regarding cold water temps relates to humans, not the German Shepherd dog. LOL Timber will voluntarily go out in swim in water just after the ice break up. Actually, he seems to love it.

I guess I do not understand what your post has to do with the GSD.
 

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My point was that cold water can sap body heat (yes, even in dogs-- if they're soaked to the skin their fur is not helping the same extent as it would do when dry) and this can result in them tiring more quickly than they would otherwise, and their "limit" might be a lot less than it would be in other situations.
 

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The precise response I anticipated. But do you have any idea how well the GSD does in cold watwwr, of course not. You have nver hunted, trapped or fished with the breed. They are remkable.

As for the folks that do the canoe trips, on wild rivers with tons and current. I cannot disagree because I have no experience on these types of trips.

As for the folks that put the vest on when you walk your dog to the lake, no matter how large, gimme a break. The GSD has been with the military, from defending Alaska to Iragi. So LOL, why a life vest in a lake.
 

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Originally Posted By: Timber1The precise response I anticipated. But do you have any idea how well the GSD does in cold watwwr, of course not.
No, I don't-- and I don't want to find out my dogs' "limit" when they're swimming and the waves suddenly increase in Lake Michigan, or they go out a little too far and get caught in a strong current.
 

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Originally Posted By: Timber1As for the folks that put the vest on when you walk your dog to the lake, no matter how large, gimme a break. The GSD has been with the military, from defending Alaska to Iragi. So LOL, why a life vest in a lake.
I'm concerned with their safety. I make them wear PFDs while boating in case of an accident. Two people died on Saturday in Lake Powell and two more are still missing. If they had been wearing a life vest they would have lived.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705299949/2-dead-2-missing-in-Lake-Powell-accident.html
 

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Originally Posted By: Timber1
As for the folks that put the vest on when you walk your dog to the lake, no matter how large, gimme a break. The GSD has been with the military, from defending Alaska to Iragi. So LOL, why a life vest in a lake.
Because they are DOGS and at times their drive overrides their common sense!

For example, my uncle's dog is a working retriever. We thought it would be funny to send her out to retrieve.....nothing. Funny, until we realized the dog will swim until she drowns from exhaustion because she cannot find what she is supposedly retrieving. This is a dog that jogs 5 miles a day and can swim for hours, but we've had to paddle out and rescue her b/c her head was going under.

They don't always know to just swim to shore.

I don't put the PFD on my dogs but I want them to have a handle if they are in the boat. My uncle's dog, also a working retriever who swims almost every day, fell off a dock and got tangled in something, so all her swimming abilities did her no good because she could keep her head up. It was difficult saving her, and now they say she will always have a handle on when they are out on the water.

So if you are miles from shore in Lake Michigan and your dog falls in, how exactly are you going to lift a naked, wet, 70lbs dog back into your boat?
 

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How many dogs are any of you personally aware of that died, and could have been saved because of PFD's. My answer is none with one exception. When the ice is breaking up on a river or lake, and a person is dumb enough to allow their dog on that ice, once they fall through they are dead. A PFD might have saved a dog in this case.

Two, in my neighborhood have died after falling through the ice and going under it.
 

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There are obviously two (or more) sides to this and I believe everyone is fully aware that you won't consider using one. Great, but the OP was about suggestions for lifejackets so why not let those who would use them make the suggestions and leave the debate for another thread.

I haven't had a PFD on my dogs yet as we usually are walking to the water from shore. But I would seriously consider it if we were to be out on a boat in the bay here or a large lake-including the lake I let them swim without one from shore. So I'm also interested in what folks are using.

Maybe for this one, you might listen to your own post from another thread today:
Originally Posted By: Timber1 As an old friend and dog trainer told me. At some point, no matter how great a person's rep, you just need to say whatever and move on.
 

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Well Timber, can't say I know anyone that's died from being ejected from a car for not wearing a seat belt, or not putting any swimmies on their toddler, or cracking their head open in a biking accident, but sealt belts, swimmies, and bike helmets all seem like pretty good ideas to me.

If you have an alternative for lifting a soaking wet German shepherd out of the water into and boat, I'm all ears...
 

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Lies, well spoken like someone who has hauled a soaking wet dog out of the water! It's like Mom always said, better safe than sorry.
 

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Quote:
How many dogs are any of you personally aware of that died, and could have been saved because of PFD's.
My GSD came very close.

We were playing an impromptu game of fetch at the edge of a river. Dh tossed a stick. Camper didn't see where that stick landed; he saw, instead, a larger stick in the river, which was wide and seemingly slow moving. He dove in after the stick.

There was an undercurrent. He started to be pulled downstream. He looked back at me, his eyes HUGE in fear. I ran as fast as I could into the river and threw myself on top of him. I was wearing jeans, shoes, a gore tex jacket. I could fell the river pulling me as well. Fortunately, Dh (who has probably never run so fast in all of his life to get to us) was right behind me and grabbed the back of my jacket. I had my arms around Camper.

Dh had planted his feet well before he grabbed me and somehow, we managed to get our very heavy dripping wet, terrified dog to shore.

I almost lost my dog. This isn't a story I'm proud to tell because I was stupid. I should have had him on a harness and leash like I always did. But we weren't planning on letting the kids go into the river at all. The river was so wide and seemed to be barely moving. I forgot my training -- that when you read a river, you're only reading what you can see.

In this situation, had he been wearing his PFD, it would not have been so dire. He could have swam to shore on his own. Or, I would have had more time to get to him. I risked my own life by diving on him as I did.

The water was very cold, as it usually is. It slows your physical abilities and your mental reactions. Camper was an athletic dog and a great swimmer. But he didn't react at all. He was stunned.

I believe it's best to wonder if your dog needs a PFD than to wonder if a PFD could have saved his life. In my case, I know it would have. I was incredibly lucky that the water wasn't just a bit colder, that I was standing where I was and able to get to him in time, and that Dh was able to get to us in time. I will NEVER make that mistake again.

Ultimately, if you want to take risks with your dogs, that's your decision. But some of us have experiences that make us far more cautious. The OP asked a reasonable question. As Samuel said, there are two sides depending on what you've lived.
 

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Originally Posted By: SunCzarinaLies, well spoken like someone who has hauled a soaking wet dog out of the water! It's like Mom always said, better safe than sorry.
No kidding. It's hard enough to help a person, and they have common sense plus you can tell them how to help (ie, "hey, don't keep flailing all your legs everywhere!").

Honestly I don't know that I'd even be able to pull one of my boys out without tipping or falling in myself, but like I've said enough times now, at least with a handle you can assist in holding the dog up, or prevent the dog from swimming even further into danger.
 

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I know quite a few people who died when they fell out of boats and weren't wearing pdfs. When I have my dogs in the kayak with me I stay close to shore and I don't take them out on really choppy days for obvious reasons!

My Massie was the strongest swimmer I've ever seen. She could handle almost anything but one day about 20 years ago I was bouldering in New Mexico and she decided to swim instead of climb the boulders. Problem was there was a current with rapids and she was moving towards them very quickly!
I screamed at her to swim into me and she made it in but it was really scary. I have no doubt that another dog would have gone right over! That taught me to be much more careful about where I allowed her to swim! No point in taking chances when it's your dog's life at stake!

If I were taking my dog on a trip in a boat I would get a pdf for her or him. There's no reason not to!
 

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Originally Posted By: BowWowMeowIf I were taking my dog on a trip in a boat I would get a pdf for her or him. There's no reason not to!
Other than the guy factor - I can still hear his voice so many years later 'Take that off my dog before someone sees him.' I was like since when is Luther YOUR dog? YOUR dog isn't wearing a lifejacket becuase YOU won't buy him one. YOUR dog is the idiot who jumps off the back of the boat all the time...
 

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Quote:As for the folks that put the vest on when you walk your dog to the lake, no matter how large, gimme a break. The GSD has been with the military, from defending Alaska to Iragi. So LOL, why a life vest in a lake.

Hey my mom's GSD went 1 time into the Long Island sound and went a bit too far as the tide was going out, and it started to take her out with it, the look of panic on her face because she had a hard time fighting the current made me realize that while they are dogs and can swim better then us they too still can get tired when in the water.

(Couple that with owning breeds like Boxers that can have a hard time swimming I always put a vest on my dogs when we hang by the water)
 

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My rule of thumb is that if I'm wearing a life jacket, Grace is wearing a life jacket. And if it's a dog that can't swim, like our ChiPom Hector, then in any situation where a child would be wearing a life jacket, he is too.

I do think I'm going to invest in one of the ones on this thread. There seem to be better options than what we've got currently. Though he does look quite dashing





Actually, even if Hector could swim, I'd still have him in a life jacket. He's small and brown and it would be so easy to lose him in the water. Grace didn't have a PFD for that trip but she will from now on. Thanks to the OP for starting this thread! I've been meaning to order something and it's very handy to see the different models and hear the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Originally Posted By: SunCzarina
BowWowMeow said:
Other than the guy factor - I can still hear his voice so many years later 'Take that off my dog before someone sees him.' I was like since when is Luther YOUR dog? YOUR dog isn't wearing a lifejacket becuase YOU won't buy him one. YOUR dog is the idiot who jumps off the back of the boat all the time...
My husband would say that, and all his guy friends would say the same thing.

I am not a strong swimmer. If Dakota tips the canoe, I will slightly panic till I get myself under control. I know that, but I will get myself under control. I don't want to add an extra worry about my dog.

Someone asked whether or not we own a canoe, we do, we have two, and one is a beautiful wood gunnel (sp?) Langford Kelvar canoe.

We lost Murphy from a boat once (English Setter). She hoped in at a cottage when a friend was taking the kids (teens) to an island. He didn't even realize that he lost her. He assumed that she hopped out on the island with the kids. Nope, she had bounced out when they hit a big wake. Took a long time to find her and I had resloved that she drowned or was lost in the dense forest that surrounded this finger lake. She swam to shore and stayed there and barked. A group of fishermen found her, took her in and was going to take her home with them and then call the information on her tags.

I had my kids with me and they never gave up hope that Murphy was going to be found.

Back then, I never even considered a life jacket for a dog.
 

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Re: Life jacket that keeps dogs head above water

The problem with all of the life jackets posted here (including the RuffWear that I recommended) is that none of them will keep the dogs head above water if the dog is unconscious.

On another forum, one person was searching for a life jacket that would make it safer for his dog who has seizures (they were scared to let him swim for fear he would have one in the lake and would drown). Someone recommended this:
Critters Inflatable Pet Life Jacket

According to the website, it's fully automatic or can be changed so that it is controlled manually!
 

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We are planning on going to Algonquin park for some daytime canoeing in the summer. Hope Dakota can sit still, at 77 lbs she could sure tip it. We alos have a small Zodiac which we haven't used in years but would like to start again. My husband thinks she does not need one, but he is going to lose this battle. I'm not a strong swimmer and always wear a lifejacket. I want my pup protected too.

I have a 10% discount from a store for 5 weeks as my dog is in agility classes, so I want to make the purchase soon.

What lifevest would you recommend. She has a 31" girth and in 9 1/2 mths old so if I could I would like to buy just one.
Like others, I would strongly recommend Ruffwear Float Coat! It's the best even today!
 
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