How to Kayak with a Dog


There are many activities to do with your dog, such as going on runs and having some refreshing walks. But what if I told you that your loyal friend could also be there with you on your kayak! 

Most dogs will love to be with you wherever you are. Plus, the new and different smells and sights around them will also be enjoyable for your dog.

However, before you venture into it, you should be prepared, and that’s why I’ve compiled the best tips you should know before kayaking with your dog.

5 Tips on How to Kayak with a Dog

1. Train your Dog

Familiarizing your dog with the kayak is one of the best training techniques. It goes without saying that this process should happen on land. If the kayak fits your home or in a garden, grab your dog and allow him to play around it and sniff it. You can even get inside of it and then invite them in with you. You can also let them sleep inside if they feel like it. 

2. Teach Them Commands

No matter how well-trained or well-behaved a dog is, hazardous situations are likely to happen in the middle of the water. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to train your good boy on understanding your commands. 

Here are some of the crucial commands that can make or break your trips:

  • Get In Your Spot

This is a golden rule. Designate a spot for your dog and teach it that this is the only place where it should sit in your kayak. This way, if it keeps playing around, you can ask it to get in that spot. 

  • Leave It

This is another essential command to ensure that your dog doesn’t get too excited about anything like ducks, for example. If you don’t master this, he is very likely to jump out of the kayak to grab what his eyes are fixated on. 

  • Lay Down 

Admittedly, it would be best if you did not kayak in bad weather or rough waters, but you may encounter some waves, nonetheless. In this situation, your dog must listen when you command them to lay down. You could also use this when there is anything that may distract them to let them know that moving around is not an opinion now. 

  • Get In 

If you’re okay with letting your loyal friend swim around, you must know how to get them back on the kayak. You should first try this a few times when you’re very close to the shore. Plus, you need to try yourself and see if you can help them get inside, given that the kayak gets too slippery, making the dog unable to push themselves inside on their own. 

3. Bring Personal Floatation Devices

There are some reasons why your dog should wear a PFD whenever you are kayaking together, even if it is an excellent swimmer. 

One of these reasons is that he might fall off the kayak and get scared. In this case, the PFD will hold it above the water until you are there to help. What’s more, the handle on the PFD will help you pull it back up on the kayak. 

4. Have Company 

Try not to get into the water with your dog all by yourself the first few times. Having a friend on board will help you handle some of the problematic situations you haven’t faced before. 

5. Stick Together 

If you’re a couple with a dog, do not ever get in two separate kayaks. Why? Simply because the dog will want to jump from one kayak to another. You don’t want that to happen because it gets you and your dog anxious. 

What to Do If the Dog Jumps Into the Water

Even the most well-trained dog can get too excited about things in the water and jump to get them. If this happens, here are a few things you can do. 

  1. Ask it to “get in” with a low, but firm voice 
  2. Paddle towards it
  3. When you get closer, lift the paddle so as not to scare it
  4. If it is not wearing a life jacket, lay down your oar, then reach down and pull it
  5. Keep your voice low and soothing to calm it
  6. To get it back on board, put your arm across its back and hook around under its front legs. If you don’t get its whole body inside, at least now it can carry its body and get back inside on its own 

Things to Do if You Tip-Over That are Better Than Panicking 

A capsize could happen to the most experienced kayaker, so it is wise to prepare yourself for it. The best thing to do is not to panic because it will only cause more chaos. 

Here are some pieces of advice you could follow: 

  1. The best thing to do once you’re in the water is to grab your dog close to you 
  2. Swim together towards the kayak and talk to it in a soothing voice 
  3. Flip the kayak 
  4. Throw the paddle inside it 
  5. Place your dog’s paws on the kayak and push it inside 
  6. Pat it back to make it feel that everything is okay 
  7. Get into the kayak 

Going On a Long Trip? Here’s What to Bring 

If you’re going on a trip for more than 30 minutes with your furry friend, there are some things to equip yourself with: 

  1. Both of you must wear a life jacket
  2. Dog treats to keep them distracted and calm 
  3. Fresh drinking water 
  4. Some food and place it in a watertight container because your dog won’t eat it if it is soaked in water
  5. A leash for when you are back on land, never use it on the kayak
  6. A sunblock because dogs can get sunburned, especially on places where there is not enough fur like the nose and ears
  7. Some bags where it can poop- you don’t want that on your kayak’s floor
  8. A comfy towel and fold it for it to sit on

Final Words 

Because worrying plays a significant role in soaking the fun out of anything, we have made sure that you have the most carefree fun with your best friend if you go on kayak trips together.

You just need to train your dog and educate yourself on the steps you should follow in case of emergencies, including a capsize or the dog’s disobedience.