How to Kayak with a Dog – 8 Tips to Take Your Pooch Canoeing, Kayaking

Whether it is pure randomness or deliberate action, our dog’s initiation to kayaking needs a time of molding both to this new environment. This is why it is of utmost consideration to study how to kayak with a dog.

In the previous years, the industry has evolved a lot, reaching today’s construction of life jackets and other complements that we would have never dreamed of, such as sunglasses for dogs.

For starting with, it is necessary to understand what proper training would be.

Training for kayaking with a dog

How to Kayak with a Dog

First steps:

Analyze and choose if your dog is ready to kayak with you.

Beyond the fact that several dogs and bitches jump into the water without any fear from the first moment, the first contact with water is never the same for all dogs. Take your time.

Dog kayaking is spectacular because it is a straightforward sport. If your dog can sit in the car, he will indeed manage to study to go kayaking in a short period.

Some quick tips for your dog to enjoy kayaking are
  • Hide little treats inside the kayak so that he can find them.
  • Whenever the dog approaches or gets into the kayak, reward it.
  • Sit on the kayak, call and pet your dog when it approaches.
  • Sit your dog in the kayak without forcing it, and spend a few minutes stroking it and rewarding it with treats.
  • Once you get your dog to relate to the kayak naturally and without stress, you can move on to the next stage.
Servable orders for kayaking with a dog

The orders we will offer our dog are not the same as the common ones, but inside the water, we must be sure that he follows our orders just like outside the kayak.

We recommend a sequence of expressions that have to be adapted to those known by our friend.

“Go up.”

A very simple order is necessary for the custom of kayaking with a dog.

We must practice it on the shore, before and after we have gone up, and later in the water, our dog jumps out of the kayak.

It may help bring a blanket, towel, or cushion that you repeatedly use at home.

You can emphasize this with a “sit” or “stay” when you arrive at the right place.


If we want to take a fun bath with our dog and know when to disembark, this order is essential. Watch out for the claws.

In the first opportunities, we should be alert when our dog will jump by our instinct, anticipate and associate the behavior to our order.


In this situation, we are talking about an order that prevents him from paying attention or letting himself be carried away by an external stimulus to us and our kayak—avoiding that he jumps to continue, among other things, a duck in the swamp.

“Sit down.”

Mainly if you sail in the sea, you can find some waves. When this happens, the order to tumble is useful so that our dog does not lose stability and fall into the water. It is also helpful in conjunction with the previous order to avoid distraction from other elements.

For all kinds of embarkation and disembarkation maneuvers, mainly when they are done in the middle of the water, it is essential to have a dog life jacket since the auxiliary handle is of a generous impulse both maneuvers.

In the water:

Go to the water’s edge for first real contact with the kayak and the water. They can go rapid!

With this done, it’s time to go one step further in training your dog. Transport your kayak to the water’s edge so that you can prepare to enter and escape from the kayak.

With where you are, you may be accessing it from a beach or a dock.

Always get into the kayak first and never start paddling until both of you is in place.

Your presence will reassure your dog as he gets used to the sudden movement and the strange sensation of floating that sailing will provide.

Although they have transmitted us unbeatable experiences along with the custom on land, several dogs jump just by starting to paddle.

It is substantial not to force it enough to associate the kayak with dangers or fears.

Entering and leaving the kayak from a shore or beach

Make your kayak half in and half out of the water, then tell your dog to get in.

Once you are both seated, put the tandem kayak in the water entirely and start paddling.

Briefly paddle your kayak, give it a turn, and return to shore. Get the right paddle for your kayak.

Time to go kayaking

Dogs have not disconnected as much as man from nature, which is why they will surely be the ones who will enjoy kayaking the most.

As an owner, it is substantial to consider that several of the sites currently still allowed for navigation can be a place of life of species at risk of extinction or protection.

What to do if your dog jumps out of the kayak?

Even the most disciplined dog can fall into the water or chase some other animal. Find a dog-friendly kayak.

This kind of thing can happen to some, so having a dog life jacket can be the key to an optimal outcome of the activity since it helps a lot to get the dog out of the water and into the kayak.

If your dog jumps out of the kayak without permission, keep your voice calm but stable.

Call him, and ask him to get into the friendly kayak while you paddle to him. Don’t worry.

When you approach, lift the paddler to avoid scaring or hitting him, then lean in and grab your dog by the handle of the life jacket and pull him up onto the kayak.

If your dog doesn’t have a life jacket, store the paddle so that it doesn’t fall into the water and then position your dog to parallel to the kayak.

Place your arm behind your dog’s back, look like a hook behind its front legs, grab it, and pull it into the kayak.

When your dog is back in the kayak, congratulate him and give him some reward or treat.

Ensure he gets the exciting feeling that he has gone back into the kayak with you and avoid punishing him if he has jumped without your permission. This is the most remarkable moment to reinforce the fact that he has gone back into the kayak.

What to do if you turn around

Some change, even a scare, can cause the most experienced kayaker to turn over.

In less than a minute, you are enjoying the silence, rowing with your dog, and in a second, you are caught in the wake of light boats, your dog gets nervous, and you both go overboard.

Get your dog out of the water to return to the kayak. To do this, it is always good to keep an eye out to understand what steps we should take.

According to the American Canoeing Association85% of canoeists who drown were not wearing PFDs.

Find your dog and keep him close to you.

Swim towards the kayak, keep your dog close to you and calm him down as much as possible, keep a slow tone of voice, transmit him a feeling of distraction. It is a real matter!

If required, turn the kayak over to put it back on its side again.

Find the paddle and try to put it where it will not fall back into the water.

Place your dog’s paws on the kayak and push them back up. Reassure your dog as much as possible. He may be nervous about seeing you in the water and not being with you.

Accessories to carry out kayaking with your dog

In most cases, if we are only going to paddle for short times, there is no need to use a vast amount of compliments for the kayak and our dog. Still, it can always be useful to consider some basics just in case, or if we are going to carry out a somewhat more extended crossing.

You can use different types of kayaks. Possibly the most used is an inflatable kayak made from 100% drop-stitch.

Life vest for dog

  • Drinking water and a drinking fountain or travel trough.
  • Food in an airtight container.
  • A strap.

We will never tie our dog to the kayak. We will only use it when we reach stable ground.

Something practical for your dog is sits on top kayaks. A folded beach towel is customary and complies, although if the budget is not a problem for you, you can buy cushions or private dog seats.

Dog toys that are compatible with water are perfect for playing if your dog likes to swim or to keep him busy inside. If you don’t want him to swim, select toys he doesn’t associate with the search activity.

How to Kayak with a Dog: FAQ

How do you train a dog to kayak?

Teach your dog to get into the kayak when it is on stable ground. Hold the kayak so that it doesn’t rock, or better yet, support it so that it doesn’t tip over. Give the command to “get in” the kayak and call your dog to get in the kayak with you sitting on it.

How do you kayak a large dog?

Some dog kayaks are not the right ones, so if you are trying to find an upgrade or purchase your first kayak, you will want to find one that fits both of you comfortably. The precise type will depend on your dog’s size and how much gear you plan to carry with you.

You may want a kayak that your dog can ride proudly in the bow or one that feels more practical cradled by your feet. Also, keep in mind your dog’s personality when selecting one.

Very moved dogs are always preferable to be close so that you can grab their collar if required, while a relaxed dog that is not going to move enough can travel serenely sitting on the bow. Finding the most outstanding dog kayak will depend on your dog’s size, budget, and whether you are planning to take someone else with you.

Is it safe to kayak with a dog?

You should evaluate the dog kayak. If you are subjectively new to the sport or expert, it’s a drag when you have to leave your dog behind every time it falls in the water. Visit lakes and have your adventure!


You can say that going kayaking with your dog is, without a doubt, an unforgettable experience. On the other hand, in this sense, there are several reasons to keep in mind.

How to Kayak with a Dog – 8 Tips to Take Your Pooch Canoeing, Kayaking

It is of utmost consideration to have patience and to communicate well with your pet. If you are modifying a kayak for a dog, it is substantial that you take into account your measures and those of your pet. On the other hand, it is always substantial to have a dog kayak tow to your trips.

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