How to Kayak with Dogs

How to Kayak with Dogs

Dog owners who know how to kayak with dogs find it easier to buy the right kayaks for their adventures.

If you do not know how to kayak with dogs, you should not attempt it. It is not about putting a dog on a kayak and paddling.

How to Kayak with Dogs

It requires more than paddling with a dog. The safety and comfort of your pet are paramount. This means that you have to know how to kayak with dogs.

The first you need to do is to find a dog-friendly kayak that can support your weight and the dog. It should have enough space to accommodate both of you.

Such kayaks come with higher weight limits, enough space, and other features. While a great kayak is good, you must learn how to safeguard your pet.

To learn more about how to kayak with dogs, we want you to continue reading,

Do you know how to kayak with dogs?

If you do not know how to kayak with dogs, we can help you. This article is written for people who want to enter the water with a dog and their kayak.

Most dogs may not find it exciting to ride with you on a kayak, especially in rough water.  This means that you have to train them to learn how to kayak with you.

You should not rush a dog into a kayak because they may jump in the water or cause the kayak to flip over during struggle.

To avoid such difficulties, we have created some of the easiest tips for you.

Tips on how to kayak with dogs

Here are some of the tips that can help you with kayaking with a dog:

Teach Them Commands

You have to teach them commands when kayaking. It does not matter if the dogs are well-behaved or well-trained.

Some things could go wrong in the middle of the water. When this happens, it could be a hazardous situation.

This means you have to train your dog to behave in the water.

Some of the commands that can make or break your kayaking

  • Get In Your Spot

Get in your spot is a golden rule you should teach your dog.  You should designate an area for your dog on the kayak.

Teach the dog to sit in that spot without moving around.  When the dog learns this, it can avoid playing around the kayak in the water.

How to Kayak with Dogs

  • Leave It

When it comes to how to kayak with dogs, you should teach your dog how to stay calm.  A dog should not be too excited to move in the kayak.

You should teach it to be focused even when it sees ducks or water animals. If you do not teach it to be calm, it could jump out of the kayak.

  • Lay Down 

We advise that you do not kayak with a dog in rough waters or bad weather. However, you may experience these two sometimes.

When it happens, your dog should be able to lay down when you command it. The dog must trust you to pull through such a situation.

  • Get In 
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Do you want to let your dog swim around? When you think it is time to jump in the kayak, it should be able to obey such command.

You should try and enter from the water when testing if your dog can pull through too. Some kayaks could be slippery to re-enter.

Get a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for Your Dog

Do you know that dogs have their customized PFD? It is important that you provide your dog with a personal floatation device when kayaking.

There are reasons why a dog requires a PFD.  If the dog jumps or falls in the water, the PFD can hold the dog until you reach out to it.

It has a handle that allows you to pick and drag the dog into the kayak or onto your dock. Larger breeds can have something to support them until you get them out.

How to kayak with dogs?

Get Familiar With the Kayak

When you want to learn how to kayak with dogs, you should begin by getting the dog familiar with your kayak.

Have your dog sit in the kayak while on the dock. This helps the dog get familiar with the kayak. You can decide to move around a little to help relax.

Decide if you want a tandem or a solo kayak when you want to move out with a dog.  Some large breeds require a tandem because of their sizes.

Start Out in Flat Water

Do not jump into a fast river or ocean first with your dog. It could scare them to death and even force them to jump out of the kayak.

You have to start out in flat water before taking the dog on a rough ride.  Some of the flat waters include bay, pond, or lake where the water is calm.

You do not have to struggle to pull the dog out if jumps into such water.

Take a Friend

As a precautionary measure, you might want to kayak with a friend, alongside the dog. This can help you handle situations in the water.

Stick Together

You can make use of a tandem kayak if you are riding with a partner. When you keep the family together, the dog stays calm.

Some dogs may want to jump over to another kayak when they see another family member. It avoids this situation, you should get everyone in a kayak.

How to Choose an Appropriate Kayak

When you are learning how to kayak with dogs, you should pick the right kayak for both of you.  We have kayaks that have special configurations that suit pets.

Some configurations may not suit your dog. This means you have to pick the appropriate kayak for your adventure with your dog.

You should understand that aluminum canoes could be noisy and very hot. This makes it unpleasant for dogs. You should not use such models.

There should be enough space for you and your dog. When you have the right kayak or canoe, you should go for a test paddle with your dog.

Before you learn how to kayak with dogs

If you think you have learned enough about how to kayak with dogs, we have more tips for you.

  Comfort is Key

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Without comfort in the kayak for your dog, you might have not had a smooth ride in the water.  The dog requires enough space to adjust to movements.

A kayak that causes a dog to the side or slip often is not going to offer it comfort. It requires a kayak that would keep it safe and comfortable during movement in the water.

You can go for a quality indoor/outdoor carpet to help the dog relax better. This can protect the claws of the dog and also the interior of the kayak.

Refine Your Skills Before Including Your Pet

You have to be a confident paddler first before you can think of riding with a dog.  This does not mean you should be an expert paddler.

Even when you are on the flat or quiet water, you might experience a dangerous time with your dog. You should be prepared to handle every type of situation in the water.

You should pick a time when there are fewer dogs and boaters around, including fewer distractions. This can help you enjoy the ride with the dog in the beginning.

Safety First!

It does not matter if your dog can swim well, you should put safety first.  You should consider getting PFD and other life-saver features to support your kayaking.

Should you capsize, what happens next? What type of kayak are you using? Can you step out of such a situation without difficulties?

These questions are what you should answer before you can go kayaking with a dog. If you have two dogs, can the two of them ride without challenge?

You should teach your dog how to swim with dog life jackets. This would help them gain confidence in the water.

You need to wear your PFD too. It does not matter how great you can swim. When a kayak capsizes, you need every assistance to help your dog.

When in a kayak, you should do away with the leash. This could be a lifesaver too.  You should never tie a dog to a kayak.

How to Kayak with Dogs

Develop a Routine

Do not assume that everything is okay until they are perfected. This is what you should when learning how to kayak with dogs.

You should make a routine for getting in and out of the kayak. You allow your dog to go first with a command before you join.

When the dog has perfected this routine, you can reverse the process until it can handle any of the commands.

You should know that most kayaks capsize within 10 feet of shore. This should help you keep a strict routine to help you avoid this issue.

A dog should get in and out of a kayak when it is safe to do so. You command it to follow your rules only.

Paddling Etiquette

When kayaking there are rules to follow if you have a dog with you.  We called it good paddling etiquette that a dog must follow.

Dogs are not allowed to bark while in a kayak. The reason for this is because of some wildlife. You do not want to harass beavers, loons, moose, herons, or other boaters.

You have to clean up after the dogs. They have to be clean before they join you for a kayaking adventure.

Have Fun Kayaking with Dogs

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The reason why you want to kayak with a dog is to have fun. The adventure should not stressful or a struggle.

You should make sure that the dog is comfortable with every move you make.  You should go slowly before you increase your pace.

What to Do If the Dog Jumps Into the Water?

What do you do when your dog enters the water? Even the most-behaved dog can decide to jump into the water when excited.

You should do the following when your dog jumps out of the kayak:

  1. You should firmly ask it to “get in” with a low voice.
  2. You have to paddle towards your dog.
  3. When you get closer, you have to lift the paddle. This would not scare the dog.
  4. If your dog is not wearing a life jacket, you have to lay down your oar. When you do this, try and reach down and pull the dog.
  5. You have to keep your voice low and soothing. This can help in calming the dog.
  6. To get it back on board, you need to put your arm across its back and hook around under its front legs.

Things to Do if You Tip-Over Than Panicking

One of the things you learn about how to kayak with dogs is not to panic when you tip over. A capsize happens to anyone.

The best thing to do is to get yourself ready for such an event. When you panic, things could get worse, especially for the dog.

  1. When your kayak capsizes, you should not panic, but grab your dog close to you
  2. You have to swim together towards the kayak. You should also talk to your dog soothingly to calm it.
  3. You have to flip the kayak.
  4. Throw the paddle inside it
  5. The next thing to do is to place your dog’s paws on the kayak and push it inside
  6. You should pat the dog on its back to assure it that you handle everything.
  7. Finally, enter the kayak

What to bring on a long trip

When you want to go on a trip that is more than 30 minutes with a dog, you need the following items:

  1. The two of you must wear a life jacket.
  2. You should come along with dog treats to keep them distracted and calm
  3. Keep fresh drinking water for the both of you.
  4. You need some food in a watertight container. Dogs may not want to eat food soaked in water.
  5. While you do not need to tie your dog to a kayak. You should come along with a leash for use after kayaking.
  6. Come along with sunblock because dogs can get sunburned, especially on places where there is not enough fur like the nose and ears
  7. Have some bags where it can poop
  8. A comfy towel for it to sit on

My Conclusion

You may not be an expert paddler to have a great ride. You should not worry because that can soak up the fun in your kayaking with a dog.

Make up your mind that you would have fun. However, you should take the tips seriously before moving out with a dog on a kayak.