Lou the Labradoodle lives in scenic Utah with her awesome dog parents Maya and Carson. Lou is no ordinary dog; she goes exploring canyons in the vast desert with her mom and dad. They love taking her on adventures, and she seems to enjoy it just as much as they do!
“We absolutely love Lou and she brings such joy to everyone we meet in canyons,” says Maya, the proud dog mom of Lou. “It always surprises people to meet her in canyons, especially because she’s not a tiny dog. She does weigh about 70 pounds, which doesn’t always make it easy, but it makes it absolutely worth it!”
Of course, it took Lou a while to feel comfortable rappelling off giant cliffs and hiking through slot canyons. Once she warmed up to the sport, though, it seemed like she was a natural! She now rappels and hikes through canyons like she was born to do it. They’ve taken her on countless adventures, and they couldn’t imagine their excursions without her now.
Maya says lovingly of her furry friend:
“Lou is pretty incredible. She is a year-and-a-half old red Labradoodle, but she doesn’t quite look like one; she’s a mix between a Lab and Labradoodle. She just didn’t end up curly, and we love her just the way she is.”
Maya and Carson have a lot of experience with canyoneering. After mastering the sport, they decided to show Lou the ropes as well. There’s nothing like exploring the great outdoors with your best friend!
“My husband and I are extraordinarily active; we’ve spent the last couple of summers being canyoneering guides. Canyoneering is the exploration of slot canyons through downclimbing, hiking, rappelling and even swimming at times. This is an incredible sport and we have fallen in love with it.”
Adventure dog Lou is a master of canyoneering
Canyoneering takes time to become skilled in, so they wanted to ease Lou into it slowly. Hiking in Utah’s deserts is no easy feat, so they wanted her to feel comfortable with that first.
“When we got Lou, we wanted to bring her on as many adventures as possible. We began simply by hikes,” Maya says. “She got really, really good, really fast. We began taking her on more difficult hikes and training more and more with her each day. Eventually, we decided to start with very basic rappels after she was comfortable with being on the edge of cliffs and we could trust her there. We began rappelling, and she fell in love with it; from then on, we’ve been canyoneering with her for the last year.”
If you want to take your dog hiking or canyoneering, you need to make sure you have the proper gear. Dog shoes or boots are an absolute necessity in the desert, as the rocks can get scorchingly hot. Also, dogs can easily step on thorns or sharp plants which can cause painful cuts. Maya talks about the importance of boots in one of her Instagram posts.
“The first time we went canyoneering with Lou, we didn’t have boots for her, and by the end she had several cuts in her paws. Not to mention, she got into a cactus. Boots protect her feet from sharp rocks, cactuses, and the heat off the rocks. If you are looking to do a lot of adventures with your dog, boots are essential! Our favorite brand is My Busy Dog Boots!”
They also bought Lou dog goggles to keep sand out of her eyes and protect her from the sun. In addition, it’s important to make sure you have the right rappelling gear for your dog. They use the Ruffwear double back full body harness, as it seems most comfortable for Lou.
Lou proves that adventuring is more fun with a dog
Throughout their adventures together, they’ve also made adjustments to their rappelling technique. In the beginning, they tandem rappelled with Lou suspended below them. While this is the most common technique, they found that rappelling with her in their lap felt more comfortable. They also discovered it gave them more control over the experience.
Now that they’ve made the right adjustments and gotten the appropriate gear, canyoneering goes smoothly and is even more fun! Lou has mastered the sport of canyoneering, but she’s still a little skittish when it comes to crossing water. A bit strange for a retriever for sure, but it’s one of those quirks unique to every dog.
“We absolutely love her. She’s very talented, she’s had lots of training and we’ve gone on so many fun adventures with her. She’s a part of my family, and she looks out for me just like I look out for her, and I absolutely love that about her,” Maya says.
“She’s a ray of sunshine in our lives; she has brought so much happiness and continually just brightens our day. We want to share that with the world.”
While dogs can make life much more fulfilling, it’s important to be prepared for the responsibility.
“If I was to give advice to anyone, I would say first off, do your research. Don’t go in not prepared,” Maya says. “My husband and I, before we got Lou, were preparing to get her for a year and a half. We didn’t want to just get a dog and then give it away. We wanted it to become part of our family, and that’s what we did. There’s so much more you can do with your dog and that has just brought pure positivity into our lives.”
Final thoughts about Lou the adventure-loving, canyoneering dog
Lou proves to any dog owners out there that dogs are capable of more than just neighborhood walks. They can go on long hikes and even explore canyons, provided they have the right gear. Dogs can and should explore the great outdoors with their pet parents, because it benefits them as much as it does us! Hopefully, if you have a dog, Lou will inspire you to bring your pet with you on your next adventure.