Learn How To Kayak With a Dog
Every time I put on my kayak clothes and want to hit the water, loyal dog’s eyes look at me and beg for permission to come with me. Not easy to say no then. Our Australian Shepherd Barney is a full family member. For my three daughters he is a brother, a son for me and my wife. Since we are all connected to water sports, it makes sense that Barney should not be afraid of water either. And above all that he is not afraid to jump on a kayak or stand up paddleboard. But there are also days when he doesn’t want it and you have to accept that without ifs and buts. Below I give you a few tips on how to get a dog on a kayak, which kayaks work best for it and what equipment you need.
Getting your Dog Prepared
To familiarize the dog with the kayak, you need a lot of calm and patience. You will not have fun if your dog doesn’t enjoy a paddling trip. Especially when he doesn’t like water, it becomes difficult. Be fair to your dog before you force him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Barney lived as a puppy with another family before we adopted him at a young age. There he already had his first experience with stand up paddleboarding, which of course made the whole thing easier. Nevertheless, I started to train with him on land. For a few days in a row, I practiced sitting on the kayak in the garden with him. A few treats help to motivate the dog. You will quickly notice if the dog is afraid to get on the kayak.
PFDs for Dogs
Was the training successful? Ok, then the second step follows. Attention: your dog absolutely needs a personal flotation device before hitting the water! Not only as a swimming aid, but above all because the dog life jackets have a handle to pull the dog back on the kayak. This is really important! Barney accidentally slips off the kayak or jumps into the water because his hunting instinct tells him that he has to hunt ducks. Without a grip on the life jacket, I wouldn’t get him back on the kayak! Do not leave the dog on a leash on the kayak, it can get tangled and prevent him from swimming.
Ruffwear Dog Life Jacket: https://ruffwear.com/collections/dog-life-jackets/products/float-coat-dog-life-jacket
Barney is also a bit excited and does not like to sit for a long time, so it is important to have a stable kayak with enough space to accommodate the size of the dog. This brings us to the next question: which kayak is dog-friendly and suitable for common adventures with the four-legged buddy? The Bite and YuPIK are absolutely ideal because of the open deck! The dog really has a lot of space here.
The Kilroy HD is just as suitable as these two models and it is also not so easy for the dog to slide down or jump out. The Big Tuna is a tandem and of course it has enough space for a large dog. Depending on the size of the dog, he also has space on the Mayfly, Liska, Coosa HD, Coosa and Big Rig, but the hatches are a bit in the way. In my opinion, a pedal kayak does not work unless the dog is so small that there is enough space for him behind the seat. But then you no longer have an eye on him all the time.
What Else to Bring
What else should you think of? More tips for kayaking with your dog:
– Don’t forget to bring plenty of water!
– You should also think about enough food and treats, depending on how long you are on the water.
– The favorite toy can sometimes have a calming effect.
– Some dogs are more at risk for sunburn than others, so don’t forget the sunscreen.
– Don’t forget to stay calm yourself.
– Give your dog shore time, maybe every half hour.
– If your buddy hates swimming, go to the water with water-loving dogs that show your dog that it’s fun.
– Keep your gear in a dry bag, you don’t want a wet dog shaking all over your stuff.
– Don’t forget a towel for your dog, you’ll need it before putting him in the car.
Dogs love adventure, so get out into nature and on the water! But always remember: no matter how much you want to take your dog kayaking, some dogs just don’t have the personality to be your kayaking partner.