Who knew padding with your pup could be SO MUCH FUN!
Actually, we did! We’re still celebrating the successful launch of our summer outings program, and in particular, kayaking with your dog!
Here’s what you should know:
- Kayaking with your dog is about being calm. Like the paddler, a dog in a kayak should be quiet and relaxed.
- Before you and your pup set off on your paddling adventure, you must introduce the dog to swimming. He doesn’t have to love swimming, but he should understand the basics: where to enter the water, where to exit, how to move his legs and swim.
- For more information about swimming with your dog, see our Barkback post: Ready to Go Swimming!
- Happily, kayaking is great activity for dogs that love water, as well as those that don’t love getting wet.
Life jackets! Yes! Yes! Yes!
- 1000 times Yes!
- Life jackets are a MUST for dogs on boats, kayaks and paddle boards.
- Life jackets are a MUST for dogs that are swimming, too. After all, dogs get tired. Life jackets ensure buoyancy and visibility. What could be worse than an accident, which could have been prevented by outfitting your dog with a life jacket? When fitted properly, a life jacket will keep your dog afloat when it tires and will condition your dog to use its back legs to swim.
- A dog swimming comfortably should look like an alligator in the water with its back and head slightly above the surface.
Long Leashes! Also, Yes!
A 20, 30 or 50 foot leash gives you the peace of mind to know that in the event that your dog jumps or falls off your kayak, you are tethered to each other.
Clip the leash to your dog’s collar before you leave shore. Slide the slack section of leash securely under your hip or thigh. Leave a reasonable amount of leash for your dog to sit or lie comfortably.
If your dog jumps off your kayak or falls into the water, gather the slack leash, call your pup and calmly lead (reel if necessary) them back to the kayak. To return the dog on board, reach for the handles on the top of its life jacket and PULL.
At All About My Dog, we sell two-handled life jackets and long leashes made of lightweight, waterproof biothane, both of which are perfect for your water adventures!
Getting In and Getting Out
Being calm is the key to a successful kayak outing with your best friend.
The human paddler should enter the kayak first, get seated, and steady the boat. Once you are comfortable, invite your dog to join you. Indicate the place where you expect the dog to sit.
Getting off or out of the kayak occurs in exactly the reverse manner. Once you hit shore or pull up to a dock, steady the kayak and invite your dog to jump out. You follow.
Wow! What a wonderful thing to do. People really love their dogs. Great way to combine two passions in one thing. I really appreciate the advice. Very detailed. I’ll be sure to share.
Thanks for reaching out and for sharing. We love kayaking with our dogs! Season up here in MA is just about to start.
Keep paddling and stay safe!
I have taken my dog kayaking on a lake 3 times now. The first time was all learning, but the second two times he easily gets in and I push off with no problems. After a few minutes, though, he starts to cry and seems anxious or restless. Any thoughts?
If your dog hops into the kayak easily but is restless during the trip, an easy solution is to make sure your dog is well-exercised before you set out. For dogs, kayaking is all about being settled, calm, and restful. You do the work. Your dog gets to hang. To keep the trip calm for your dog, be calm yourself. Lay a rubber or soft water-resistant bathmat on the kayak where you want your dog to hang out – that will keep their nails from making a scary scratching sound and will become their safe place. Keep trips short to start. Also start with calm water.