There are various reasons why dogs are considered man’s best friend. They accompany us daily, make us happy in dull times, protect us from danger, and love us eternally. Realizing how our dogs have a significant impact on our lives, we only must give back to these little fluffs from heaven and make them happy too!
Let your dog experience nature.
Practice safety commands
Training your dog is always important, especially when taking them to a different place or introducing them to a new activity. Before kayaking, refresh their knowledge of these commands to ensure a safe and fun-filled day on the water.
“Get in your spot!”
Let your dog know his designated spot in the kayak by placing familiar clothing in the area. Once they are in the right place, reinforce it with “sit” or “stay” commands.
This is an important command your dog should learn. While kayaking, dogs can be distracted by seabirds and fish around. Knowing how to get their attention would prevent them from jumping out of the kayak.
The waters are not always calm while paddling. In such cases, your dog needs to lay down. Be sure to praise your dog after doing a great job of following your command!
Check the capacity of your kayak
Dog and fur parent paddling through the vast waters while enjoying the scenic view.
Since you are not going kayaking alone this time, check if your kayak can safely hold the additional weight due to your dog and have enough space to keep you and your dog comfortable the whole trip. Some notes on kayaks recommended for kayaking with dogs are as follows:
Recreational kayaks are small kayaks designed for paddling in calm fresh waters. The small size and low weight limit of recreational kayaks make them perfect for holding small to medium breeds.
Sit-On-Top (SOT) kayaks are the most flexible type for kayaking with your dog. They are wide and stable enough to carry all kinds of dogs, even larger and heavier dog breeds. The wide base of a SOT kayak also allows dogs to get on easily and off the kayak.
Tandem kayaks mostly come in SOT design. They are made to hold up to two people, making them suitable for large dog breeds. Get a tandem kayak if you want more space and better stability than single-person SOT.
Inflatable kayaks are lightweight and easier to store and transport. Surprisingly, these glorified pool toys have a very high weight capacity. In addition, the quality of the materials used to build inflatable kayaks has improved, so you don’t need to worry about your dog piercing them.
Various kayaks have different weight limits; sticking to them will keep you safe and afloat! Taking a large dog to ride a small kayak can exceed the weight limit of the kayak, resulting in overloading. An overloaded kayak has compromised stability and a greater risk of capsizing. Learn more about kayak weight limit to avoid dragging you and your dog into a disaster.
Be cautious when launching a kayak
You are almost ready to start your adventure! Here are some reminders for getting your dog on the kayak.
Get on the kayak first
Dogs always want to be with their owners. If you get the kayak first, that will convince your dog to join you
Have your seating plans ready
Your seating plan depends on the type of kayak you will use and the size of your dog. In most cases, dogs are seated in front of the paddler. Regardless of where they are positioned, give them enough space to stay comfortable throughout the trip.
Walk your dogs before kayaking
Dogs are very active creatures. Prevent them from being too energetic to jump off the kayak by walking them and burning off some of their energy.
Place a non-slip mat on your kayak
A non-slip mat provides a better grip for your dog’s paws when setting foot on the kayak. This could make dogs feel safe and less anxious.
Keep an eye on your dog to safely kayak
You and your dog are finally on the kayak! Here are the things you should do to have a smooth-sailing trip.
Never tie your dog to the kayak
Tying your dog’s leash to the kayak seems a great idea to prevent your dog from jumping off the kayak. But if your kayak capsizes, this may cause them to be stuck under the boat and drown.
Feed and hydrate your dog
The heat from the sun makes kayaking more tiring. Give them water once in a while to keep them hydrated. Also, handing them a couple of treats will keep them from jumping out of the kayak when distractions arise.
Keep your dog dry
Water inevitably splashes into the kayak when you are paddling. Your dog might get wet and uncomfortable. Keep your dog dry by wiping the water out of their bodies.
Plan your rest stops to avoid tiring out your dogs while on the water. Relax and take in the scenic view around you. Include bathroom breaks on your plan as well.
Remember to stay calm
Going on a trip with a kid is already a chore but hanging out with your dog is difficult. Remain calm even when things don’t go as planned. Never overreact, as your dog may get scared and startled too. Practice positive reinforcement and talk to your dog in a firm tone.
Tips for first-time kayaking with dogs
Help your cuddly furry companion be comfortable in the kayak.
Take your dog for a practice round
Introduce them to calm bodies of water such as ponds and lakes. Familiarize them with riding the kayak on a dry surface and wearing a life jacket. If they are doing a good job, reward them! Keep repeating the process for a couple of hours a day until your dog is comfortable.
Start in shallow water
Bring your dog on a paddle trip in flat, shallow water. Your dog may feel anxious while paddling, so starting with trips near the shore is easier.
Decide where to go
Have no idea where to bring your dog? Try using this kayaking near-me map to see various options!
Keep the trip short
If this is your dog’s first time so, be sure to keep your initial trip short. Give your dogs some time to acclimate to the new activity by paddling for only a few hours.
Let the dog watch
Let your dog watch you ride the kayak. This shall encourage them to ride with you next time.
Prepare your supplies
Lastly, prepare your supplies for your first kayaking trip with your dog. In addition to this list of essentials, you need a few more items for your kayak adventures.
- Doggy poop bags
- Collapsible water and food bowls
- Dog food
- Dog leash
- Dry bag
What a sight to see your dogs enjoying nature with you!
Take precautions to kayak with your dog safely
Don’t forget to take great photos of your furry friend during the trip.
Want to explore more activities with your dogs? Check out this list of enjoyable activities!
Julien Mordret is an independent traveler passionate about adventure travel and all sorts of outdoor activities. His early experiences with the great outdoors led him to get into extreme outdoor sports and launch XtremeSport4u. You can find him hanging out with his ever-supportive wife and their dearest fur babies when he is not alone.