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Kayaking with Dogs

It might sound a bit unusual or like a disaster waiting to happen — trying to coax your dog into a kayak, and then hoping he or she stays still enough that you are not capsized, but you may be surprised. Many dogs enjoy venturing out onto the water with their owners, feeling safe and secure sitting with you in your kayak, meaning you could have a whole host of new adventures with your pet out on the open waters of your local lake or river.

Teach Your Dog to Get In and Out of the Kayak

Start by getting your dog used to the size and shape of the kayak on land, letting him or her jump in and out of the kayak to their heart’s content. Once they seem comfortable with this, let them climb in then tell them to sit and stay; as soon as they have mastered this, head down to the lake edge and practice the same thing again, but with the kayak in the water this time, securely fastened to the shore to ensure it does not float away. As soon as your dog is comfortably getting in and out of the kayak without any problems, and sitting and staying in the kayak while it bobs on the water gently at the shoreline, it is time to get started with the real fun.

Out on the Water

Once you’re out on the water, you cannot expect your dog to sit completely still for the whole duration of your kayaking session. Therefore, it is important to allow your dog to move around a little or lay down should they wish to, counterbalancing any sudden movements he or she may make. Comfort your dog at all times if they seem uneasy or nervous, as this can avoid any possible issues the nervousness can cause.

Safety Tips for Kayaking with Your Dog

There is one essential rule to remember: never attach your dog to the kayak with a leash or rope. Imagine if the kayak capsizes — your dog could be trapped underneath it or could be dragged downstream with the kayak to a point that is out of your reach. Another safety tip is to purchase a doggy life jacket, allowing your dog to remain safe and buoyant should the worst happen. Generally, pet life jackets have handles on the top, allowing you to grab your dog and pull him or her to safety if they fall into the water. A harness can also be attached to your dog if you have a jacket that does not include a handle. Obedience is essential when kayaking with your dog; if your dog has trouble following commands on land, do not take them out onto open water, as there are many easy distractions – ducks, frogs and other animals or distractions can cause your dog to jump out of the kayak, possibly endangering both of you.

Kayaking with your dog can be an excellent experience, allowing you more time to bond together and create some amazing, lasting memories, as well as some interesting pictures to show your family. Just be sure to remember that dogs must be obedient to be able to handle kayaking with you, and you must take all safety issues, precautions and preparations very seriously to ensure you and your dog are both safe.