Friday, May 21, 2010

Kayaking With Your Dog

Photo by P. Bryley

Last year, I went kayaking for the first time. I was in a tandem kayak with a more skilled partner. It was one of the most relaxing activities I did, yet gave me a great workout. I then wondered if dogs did this activity with their owners and sure enough, there are quite a few kayakers out there who have been able to train their dogs to enjoy the ride.

Kayaking is a great way to be at one with nature. When you are out on calm waters, there's nothing more tranquil. Depending on your dog's personality, you can train them to ride in the kayak with you. The most important fact is that your dog has to enjoy being around water and can sit still. Here are some tips for this:

  • Get the right size kayak.
  • In kayaks, dogs can ride in the seating area or if the kayak is large enough, they can ride on top. It's important to make sure that the surface the dogs will be sitting on is secured. One person, put their chihuahua on a boogie board that was strapped to the front of the kayak so the dog wouldn't slip.
  • Start out slow.
  • The best way is to build up. Start out at five minutes the first time, then build up to ten. Many dogs, depending on the breed will be out there as long as a half-hour.
  • Make sure your dog knows how to swim.
  • It's essential that your dog is able to swim in case the kayak capsizes. Also, an effective way to get your dog acclimated to the activity is to have them follow behind while you are paddling. Although it sounds mean, it helps because you are the pack leader and the dog will want to follow you.
  • Have them wear a life jacket.
  • Even the best swimmers can run into difficulties. A life jacket (or PSD) is a must for the safety of your pooch.
  • Bring a leash!
  • You want a five or six foot (two meters) leash attached to your dog. Do not attach the leash to the kayak! It's a surefire way for the dog to drown if you tip over. Instead use a specially made leash that attaches to your waist or keep the leash hanging free.

Also, it's good to have these supplies on hand:
  1. Treats
  2. Collapsible Water Bowl
  3. Leash
  4. PSD or Dog Life Jacket
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Dog Friendly Sunscreen (Zinc Oxide can be used for this)
  7. Ziploc Poop Bags

Let's Discuss!

Do you go kayaking with your dog? What do you like best about it?

Learn More About Kayaking With Your Dog

Dog Channel
Dog Paddling: A Guide to Canoeing with your Dog (From Amazon)

Related Posts
Take A Hike
Dock Diving


  1. I've read that zinc oxide is toxic to dogs. Check with your vet for a canine approved sunscreen.

    1. There are other possibilities I believe. Good suggestion!



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