How to Kayak with Your Dog: Bringing Your Canine Friend for a Safe Ride

It’s said that a dog is a man’s best friend. And true to these words, the relationship between a dog and man is incredible. They share the same home, go for walks and runs, play games, and, more recently, even go kayaking together.

And that’s not all. But how do you bring your dog for a safe kayaking trip? Here is the thing. Kayaking is a fun activity, and on a hot day, it would be a lovely activity to do with your dog. If your dog loves water, then you are a game.

You’d have a great time spending time with your dog and ensuring that your dog gets a great treat and goes home happy.

So do you understand how to kayak with your dog? If you don’t, then this post will show you how in just a moment. If you do, there isn’t any harm if you go through our post for a simple refresh.

Let’s see what you need to do when you bring your canine pal for your next kayaking trip to the lake.

Step I: Find Out if the Dog is Ready for Kayaking

I want to say that I learned this the hard way. Even so, before you can take your dog on any water-related trip such as kayaking, it’s important for you to ensure that your dog is ready for the same.

How do you do this? First, you’ve got to impart the necessary skills and ideal training for the same. This is a major step in keeping your dog and yourself safe. Secondly, you must allow your dog to feel comfortable with the same.

A good way of ensuring that you make the right decisions for your dog is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How comfortable is my dog around the water?
  • Does my dog know how to swim?
  • Can my dog really tolerate having a lifejacket or a PFD on?
  • Is my dog aware of commands such as “sit” and “stay,” and does he follow them?
  • Can my dog ignore fish jumping in the water or other exciting distractions?

If your answer to these questions is in the affirmative, then you’ve got a great canine pal to take kayaking. If not, then it’s time to start training your dog because you will need this more than any other thing.

NOTE: A dog that cannot ignore distractions will easily follow when they are fascinated. They can jump in water any time and possibly face an oncoming hazard face to face. You don’t want to lose your furry friend. So train them well. Here are some distractions that you can keep in mind:

  • Other moving kayaks
  • Ducks in water
  • Floating sticks
  • Seals

Step II: Familiarize Your Dog with the Kayak

Another important step on how to kayak with your dog is to get them familiar with the kayak. This helps them to boost their comfort and will give them the confidence that they need when the time to the board comes.

There are lots of ways that you can go with if you wanted to familiarize your dog with the kayak. However, the one that I have used several times is this.

  • Bring the kayak to a neutral space
  • Allow your dog to sniff it through
  • Sit with them to make them comfortable

Making Your Dog to Fall in Love with the Kayak

While kayaking with the dog is fairly simple, it’s important that they love the kayak and find it comfortable. To do that, here are some tips that could be of help.

  • Keep dog toys in the kayak
  • Hide treats in the kayak
  • Sit in the kayak yourself
  • Praise your dog and give them a treat when they jump in

Step III: Train them On Helpful Commands

Create a set of commands that will be helpful for your dog when they are in the kayak. Make sure that they grasp these commands before you set them out to kayak. It will help you to keep them safe, control their movement, and prevent them from getting distracted.

Here are a few commands that have helped me a lot with my dog ever since we started kayaking together.

  • Sit: To keep them in their space.
  • Stay: To prevent them from following distractions
  • Back: To move away from the edge
  • Down: To lie down in their tummy
  • Jump: It is safe to go overboard

Step IV: Always Do a Test Run

Once your dog has mastered their commands, the next big leap should be a test run. The reason why this is important is simple. It helps you to determine whether your dog has learnt anything at all.

Depending on where you want to run your test, you will enter from a dock or a beach. If that’s the case, remember to do the following:

  • Enter the kayak first
  • To never push off until you are set
  • Have your dog close by your side for reassurance

Remember, this could take several tries with some dogs. So do not rush them. Rather, give them some time, understand them, and snuggle them, and praise them. It helps them to come around and to stop associating the kayak with danger.

How to Enter/Exit the Beach

Once your dog has learnt their lesson, it’ll be time to enter the beach and go into nature. But how do you do it?

  • Have the kayak half-in and half-out of the water
  • Command your dog to jump in and “sit.”
  • Make sure both of you are seated.
  • Now make sure the dog is lying down.
  • Take your paddle and then push off.
  • Take your kayak out for a few feet.
  • Paddle around the shallow ends
  • Do that for a few minutes and then turn around and head to the beach.
  • Once on the beach, tell your dog to “jump.”
  • You can lift them out if you don’t want them to get wet.

Training your dog on how to enter the kayak at the beach and how to exit is important. It plays a key role in how to kayak with your dog. That’s why it is important that you get it right before anything else.

Step V: Get Kayaking with Your Dog

You can perform a few test rides every single day for at least a week. Once you are certain that your dog has mastered the trend and that they are comfortable with the whole process, you can get kayaking with your dog.

Set up your gears and any other things that you will need. Determine the type of trip that you intend to take with your dog. Have food and water but more importantly, develop a checklist for everything that you need.

You can then prepare your time and take your dog for a ride. Let us know how your trip was when you get back.

How to Kayak with Your Dog: Smart Tips if the Dog Jumps Ship

Well, now that you have trained your dog, it doesn’t mean that they won’t jump ship. No. Your dog could still jump ship. What do you do if that happens?

  • Please do not raise your voice at them
  • Keep your voice calm but firm
  • Call them back into the boat
  • Don’t scare them with the paddle
  • Reach out and grab the lifejacket
  • You can then lift them into the kayak

Once your dog gets back on board, you can run their backs, snuggle them around the neck, and praise them. Please give them a treat. Remember that accidents happen and that you could also trip over the kayak.

With dogs, how you treat them after the incident is very important. It will scare them off or give them the confidence to come back and kayak with you. More importantly, you can also help them to understand that staying in the kayak is the best thing to do.


Now that you have seen all the things that you should do to kayak with your dog, you are ready to start. But you need to practice first. Take your time to train your dog and to gain their personal trust more.

When looking at how to kayak with your dog, one thing is clear. Whether it is a good idea or not that you should kayak your dog, it all comes down to the type of relationship that you’ve both cultivated over time.

It also depends on how you’ve trained your dog. While some dogs will take to the water as quickly, some are extremely reserved and will tend to be very cautious. That’s why it’s important that you take some time to learn your dog and bring them to trust your intentions.

You can start early, too, when your dog is just a puppy so that they grow while loving the water. So introduce your little dog to kayaking as soon as possible so that they can get accustomed to the kayak too.

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