How to Kayak with a Dog

A person’s best pal? Of course, the dogs. We like to give them the best, just like they show love and loyalty. We play with them, take care of them, and take them on a walk regularly. However, one can take part in more fun activities with his pooch, such as kayaking.

Although it sounds challenging, it is not impossible. In fact, your dog may get anxious at first. Once he starts to enjoy a water trip, he will love it more than anything else. You have to prepare him well for a wonderful paddling session in these following ways:

Tips for Kayaking with Dogs

Choose the right kayak

Paddlers who already own kayaks do not get much choice in this case. Check these options if you’re interested in borrowing or purchasing new models:

  • Sit-on-top kayak: Its greatest benefit is the ease of entry and getting down. It is spacious enough to move effortlessly as well. It will enable you to paddle how you want. At the same time, your dog will get sufficient room to sit down. All credit goes to the open-deck style. You can convert this kayak into a fishing kayak.
  • Traditionally recreational kayak: These kayaks come with a wide profile. It makes them more stable in the water. That’s what you need for your dog’s protection, right? Note that small puppies can easily sit on your lap. If you have a big boy, a sit-on-top unit will suit you better.
  • Inflatable kayak: The professional paddlers hardly go for an inflatable kayak due to slow speed. Yet, it is the right choice for a lake trip with doggo. The majority of such kayaks are stable and durable. Their finishing’s can withstand the dog’s claws.
  • Tandem kayak: Users call tandem kayak, two-person kayaks as well. Two passengers can sit together on them. Place the dog in the front seat so that you can keep the eyes on him.

An expert always prefers sea kayaks, touring kayaks, or whitewater kayaks for optimum speed. Their narrow design assists in moving in streams conveniently. For this reason, they are not stable and roomy. So, avoid these versions.

Buy a life jacket or personal floatation device for the pet

It is mandatory to wear life jackets or PFDs before hitting the water, not only for you but also for the doggie. Most dogs tend to show off their swimming skills in front of their masters. Yes, we know them to be natural-born swimmers. But the truth is, some of them face trouble staying afloat. Heavy breeds often feel pressure in the water because of body fat. Small species are good swimmers indeed but lose energy quickly.

How to Kayak with a Dog
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Even the strongest one gets tired after swimming for a long time. Additionally, accidents and emergencies always occur on the water. You may have to deal with some unseen hazards. So, there is no way to take the risk of your dog’s life. Many brands produce life jackets and other safety essentials for pets. You will find a suitable item in their showrooms. These safety gear will keep your barker safe and warm.

What else to bring

  • Dog foods: He will get hungry for a long session. Additionally, you have to give treats as an appreciation of his actions. So, bear food in a plastic zip lock bag.
  • Water: As the lake water can be populated, buy bottles of fresh drinking water. Do not forget to pack his bowl.
  • Pooping bags: Nobody wants to see their dog’s poop in the boat. We don’t blame them dogs anyway. As a responsible companion, we must include pooping bags.
  • Cushioned seats: They are comfortable for the dogs. Only go for waterproof brands. Folded beach towels can fulfill the same purposes.
  • Sun-protections: Animals get sun-burnt while outing under the hot sunlight. Apply sunscreen all over the dog’s body.
  • Towel: It will help to dry wet bodies.
  • First aid kit: No matter where you take the pet, gather some necessary dog ointments in a bag.

Make him familiar with your boat

The appearance of a kayak can be scary for your baby. So, we highly recommend overcoming his fear. Lay the kayak on the ground. Give him some time to notice the kayak’s features. Lead him to the seat and let move around sometimes. He should understand that he does not have to worry at all. Hide dog foods or toys inside your boat and tell him to bring them out.

Every time he steps on the kayak, appreciate his efforts by giving little treats and compliments. Show him the videos of people kayaking with their dogs. He will learn how to stay calm, move, and enjoy the views. Now, have a seat on the kayak and call the dog to join you. Eventually, he will get the concept of fun instead of fearing.

Practice commands

Don’t head on the water unless the dog can follow some basic commands. Make him understand what to do when you say particular words. We are giving some examples here.

  • “Come to mamma/daddy”: Call your puppy in after making the required arrangements. He has to get that he needs your approval to jump into the kayak.
  • “Go to your spot”: Sometimes, the pups try to touch the water, see fishes, and jump. They shift from their spaces out of curiosity. Then you have to bring him back in his seat. Since you will be paddling, the only solution is your command. Put a familiar item on the place you want them to ride. Then keep calling him using the command.
  • “Yes”: Dogs tend to jump out when they almost reach the bank. You may not want them to do it and get wet. Therefore, try to anticipate their moves. Say ‘yes’ if they act according to you. Praise with treats or pats.
  • “Leave it”: Be sure that your pets are not taking any risk during the tour. You don’t want them to fall into the water while chasing something exciting. Control whatever draws their attention. Break their gaze if they get close to water or think about jumping.

You don’t necessarily have to use the exact phrases. Try anything which works for your own doggie. Apart from these, train for laying down, pooping, switching boats, etc.

Train as much as you can

There are records of dogs falling into the water while following his master commands. You may wonder why. Maybe he does not know how to do it properly. Suppose you are about to hit a wave and tell the dog to lay down. If he takes too much time, you guys are in danger. Many dogs slip down when they try to enter the kayak.

In brief, the lack of training will lead to numerous safety issues. Therefore, practice all movements he is going to do. Every time he does something, he has to maintain the right gesture and the right timing.

Select a calm lake for a test run

Lots of people kayak with their pets in the seawater after a long-time training. The dog learns through experiences and becomes a pro. Be gentle if your fur baby was in zero or fewer boat journeys. Start in flat water bodies.

Even if he falls, he will at least reach the shoreline by swimming. Do not opt for rivers since there will be strong currents. Get in the mini boat first. Then call your dog. Avoid taking action until he sits comfortably.

Start paddling at a slow pace. He will begin to adapt to the feeling of floating. Make turns smoothly; otherwise, he may jump being scared of the sudden moves. Remember, some dogs panic a lot when their master drives the boat the first few times. It is normal to struggle or jump. Handle patiently, cuddle, and praise them. Then try one more time the next day. Bring a friend to take care of him on the very first ride.

How to pull dogs out of water?

Even the smartest doggies fall in the water at least once. It can happen at any moment with yours too. His life jacket will not let him drown. Call them to get in using the taught commands. As soon as they come close, lift the paddle slowly.

Pull him by grabbing the life jacket. Above all, keep the voice calm. If you shout, he will panic more. After getting him back, don’t scold him for jumping without your permission. Cuddle because they come back to the boat.


Sharing all good moments with your favorite fur buddy will definitely increase the pleasure. Hence, give him a taste of water activities too. Now that you know how to kayak with a dog, you can prepare him well. Stick together, whether he is calm or restless.

Only your love and support will remove the dog’s anxiety. He will develop confidence with each stroke. And after some days, he will be ready for rough water missions for sure.

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