Looking for another pet-friendly activity to do with your canine companion? Kayaking can be a great way to spend time with your dog while doing something you both love - exploring the great outdoors. 

With summer right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to bring your pup on an adventure off the beaten path. With some considerations, training and preparation taking a dog on a kayak is easier than you think.

Read on to learn more about how to kayak with a dog so you can bring them on your next kayaking trip.

Can Dogs Go Kayaking?

While you shouldn’t expect your pup to pick up a paddle and start helping out, they might definitely enjoy a day spent with you on the water. However, there’s a big emphasis on might.

Just like us, different dogs like different things. Before deciding to take your dog on a kayak, you should consider if it’s a good fit for them. The experts at Rover recommend asking yourself these questions:

  • Is my dog at ease on and around the water?
  • Can my dog swim?
  • Will my dog tolerate a life jacket?
  • Does my dog follow commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “get in your spot”?
  • Is my dog able to ignore exciting distractions?

There are lots of distractions on the water. If your dog is overexcited and likes to chase objects like ducks, floating sticks or other boats, they may not be the best fit as a kayaking companion. Some dogs are simply too skittish and won’t be comfortable on the water.

If you can answer yes to many of these questions, your dog has the potential to be a good kayak partner.

Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Kayaking

Man kayaking with dog

training your dog to be your kayaking partner can be accomplished with some patience.

Introducing your dog to kayaking is all about getting them comfortable on the water. Here are some important tips to set you up for success.

Choose the Right Type of Kayak

It may come as no surprise, but not all kayaks are great for bringing Fido along for the journey. We recommend an open deck/cockpit style boat like the Platte and Platte Plus inflatable kayaks. The deck of teh boat is complete open so your dog can easily move around, get comfortable and safely get in and out of the boat.

Keep Your Dog Comfortable

It’s always important to make sure you’re creating a positive experience for your dog. If they show any signs of being nervous it’s time to take a step back. Start by getting them comfortable in shallow water and wearing a life vest and then see how they take to sitting on top of the kayak.

Kayak in Calm Waters

When it comes time to take to the open water, location is key. Bring your dog to a pond or lake on a calm day. Seek out shallow and flat water for the first voyage. This ensures you have a smooth journey and gives your dog time to get comfortable.

Safety First

No matter if it's your dog’s first time on a kayak or tenth, you should always prioritize safety. Here are some best practices for how to keep you and your dog safe on the water.

Teach Your Dog Basic Commands

Remember those basic commands we mentioned earlier? Well, it’s important for your dog to know them so they stay safe on the water. Your dog should know (and listen) to commands like “sit” and “stay”. Luckily, it can be easy to teach even old dogs new tricks with some time and plenty of positive reinforcement.

Always Wear Life Jackets

A life vest is a must for everyone on the water, your furry friend included. Even if your dog knows how to swim, they need a life jacket to prevent any accidents. There are many different dog life vests on the market today so you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your pooch.

Have Your Dog Sit Up Front

Where your dog sits in the kayak is ultimately up to your preference. But for safety reasons, it’s a good idea that they sit up front so you can always see them. In a tandem kayak, they can take charge of the front seat, and in a one-person kayak, they might be comfortable between your legs.

Carry a First Aid Kit

Finally, don't forget to always carry a first aid kit on your kayak adventure. With a first aid kit, you can address any cuts, bleeds, or mishaps for you and your dog as well. 

With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to having a safe and unforgettable kayak adventure with your dog.

May 30, 2023 — Kokopelli Outdoor