How to Kayak with a Dog – A Detailed Guide

Kayaking is an exciting and enjoyable sport and it would be more fun if you take your dog with you for kayaking. Dogs are our best friend and nothing could beat the enjoyment than kayaking with your dog. 

There are some important things that you should keep in mind while kayaking with a dog as you just can’t put the dog in your kayak and go. With a little bit of simple acclimatization and patient training, you could make a kayaking tour with your adorable dog. Here are the tips about how to kayak with a dog.

1. Ensure that your dog loves water:

Kayaking with your dog would be a great idea only if your dog wants it. Some dogs are more cautious and skittish whereas others may find water like fish. If your puppy is exposed to water at a very young age, the puppy may like water.

2. Introducing the dog to the boat:

If your dog likes water, you have to get him familiar with the kayak before you plan any kayaking trip with him. Your dog would feel less scared when getting used to it on land and this would make it easy to adjust with the water and kayak. You should take your kayak slowly on the first trip. Paddle in the shallow water and notice the reaction of your dog. If you found him easy and calm, you could go around the middle of the river or lake. Dogs have unique personalities and ensure the reaction of him before you get into the deep water.

3. Training is a must:

If the dog likes water then it is great but if he likes too much, it may be dangerous for you sometimes. Make sure that your dog listens to all your commands. He should learn how to stay, come or sit on your command especially during distracting or stressful situations. If he doesn’t know these rules, he probably is not ready for kayaking. Your well-behaved dog could make your kayaking more interesting.

Your doggie paddler should be trained with the leave it command. Your dog may be tempted with the wildlife and new smells. Whenever your dog tries to touch something on the boat, just give him the command- leave it. if you plan your kayaking trip with a dog, ensure that locked baits, hooks or some other essential things are in the storage properly.

4. Launching your boat with your dog:

You should try to combine your dog with a kayak a few times even if he likes the water. your four legged dog may not like the feel of floating when your boat hits the river or lake water. Thus, it is crucial to comfort him in every step. Before launching a kayak, get it near the water as much as possible when sitting on the hard ground and command the dog to climb into the kayak and lie down. Then climb in yourself, start paddling and push off the kayak from shore. You should not try to push the dog out on the water and let him do this task himself because it may spook and cause him to stick out. Your presence would reassure him.

If your dog loves to swim, allow him to paddle for some time before you get into the boat. He gets tired and sits still and calmly in the kayak after that. Once you get onto the water, just float for a few minutes and let him get acclimated. You have to act casual to make him comfortable. your dog may want to be seated on the kayak in positions like, facing forward, lying down or facing you and this highly depends on your kayak. Ensure that your dog and you are comfortable on the kayak before heading for deep waters.

5. Out on deeper waters:

You and your dog should stay calm on open waters. You should avoid bringing your dog with you when you are kayaking on open ocean or whitewater rapids. Kayaking with a dog is suitable on calm waters like lakes and rivers and try to paddle close to the shore as it could reduce the distractions temp of the dog. If you stay away from the fishermen, the shoreline or other kayaks, you could reduce the chances of the dog selecting to swim or jump out.

It is best to let your dog swim if he really wants and tries this because it is risky to capsize your excitable dog. Don’t forget to dress him with a lifejacket. Grab him through the handle and pull back when he is done swimming or let him enjoy swimming while paddling behind him.

Some quick tips:

  • You should never tie the dog to your kayak. Sudden movements of the dog could be a safety hazard for you and the dog.
  • It is essential to keep yourself and your dog hydrated. You may not find drinking water on saltwater. Thus, always bring fresh water with you and bowl for your dog.
  • Kayaking could be a matter of stress for dogs who have health issues and older dogs. Cold water or air could cause pain to them. you should not bring them to kayak.
  • You should trim the toenails of your dog before heading out. This may help keep traction on your kayak and also prevent scratches.

Gears for your dog:

  • Lifejacket
  • A harness
  •  A lease
  • Fresh water
  • Dog treats
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Doggie bags

4 Types of kayaks for your dog:

If you are planning to rent or buy a kayak for kayaking with your dog, you should consider these things below-

1. Sit-on-top kayaks:

Open deck design and sit-on-top kayaks could give you enough space to get comfortable and move that is essential for both of you. Ensure that the kayak has space for your dog to lie and provides you enough space to paddle. Your dog could easily jump in or out if you are using a sit-on-top kayak.

2. Closed-cockpit kayaks:

Closed-cockpit kayaks are like recreational kayaks that could be a perfect choice for the dog. Ensure that you have an additional seat for your doggie with a big cockpit opening.

3. Tandem kayaks:

If you want to buy a tandem kayak, ensure that your dog sits in the front and you steer in the back. These kayaks come along with a wide beam that could add stability and space to move easily.

4. Inflatable kayaks:

These types of kayaks are also good for kayaking with your dog. You would find models such as Sea Eagle that have canoe-like design along high walls which could act like a barrier for your dog. Moreover, they are built with tough materials to fight your dog’s claws and various air chambers. Most of them come along repair kits that you could use easily.

Hopefully this article would be useful for you and provides you with a lot of information that you may need to kayak with a dog. Follow these tips and enjoy your day!