Kayaking With Dogs: 5 Easy steps of kayaking

I started taking my Kayaking With Dogs when I was 16 years old. It happened by accident. One day I was getting into my kayak and my dog Sophie jumped in with me. She sat at the front of the kayak and looked happy, so we went for a paddle together. We had a great time that summer kayaking on the lake, picking berries, sharing snacks, swimming, and visiting friends. My dog and I loved kayaking together.

Kayaking With Dogs

Since then, a lot has changed in kayaking with dogs. Back then, I brought an extra kid’s life jacket in case I had to rescue my dog. Now my dog has the dog lifejacket that fits her better. In the past, dogs just sat on a beach towel in the kayak. 

Now people have special seats, platforms, shade covers, and other gear to make dogs more comfortable in kayaks. The equipment for dogs has evolved over the years. But the enjoyment of Kayaking With Dogs my furry friend has stayed the same.

How to Kayak With Your Dog

Kayaking with your dog can be fun and safe with some training. Kayaks allow you to explore nature with your pup. Sarah Mairs is a dog trainer with over 20 years of experience. She is also an experienced kayaker who takes her dogs along. Mairs says that any competent kayaker can bring their dog. You just need to teach them some basic skills.

“If you are confident with your Kayaking With Dogs abilities, training your dog with some key skills will make the experience more enjoyable,” says Mairs. A little patience and practice can help your dog learn to love kayaking too.

Dog Kayak Training: Developing Confidence With Movement

According to Mairs, training your dog for Kayaking With Dogs should start on land first. If you start with a boat on the water, it will move around unpredictably. This can scare your dog and make them not want to kayak again. Land training lets you control how the boat moves. This helps your dog get used to the wobbling.

First, teach your dog to be okay with the kayak moving. You want your dog to hop in and out by themselves. But if they aren’t used to the plastic, hollow, slippery boat, that first step is hard. Also, many Kayaking With Dogs want to step on the side of the kayak. Depending on your kayak, it could tip and frighten them.

Mairs suggests rewarding your dog for just watching you rock the kayak. This helps them think the movement is a good thing. Next, reward them for touching the kayak. Then reward them for getting in. Finally, teach them to wait for your “on” command before getting in. And wait for your “off” command before jumping out.

Teaching Your Dog Where to Stay on the Kayak

Training, Step #1: Assess if Your Dog is Ready to Kayak with You

Teaching Your Dog
  • Make sure your dog is comfortable around water. Start in shallow water and work up to deeper water.
  • Teach your dog to swim, or use a dog life jacket for safety.
  • Train your dog on basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This helps keep them safe near water.
  • Get your dog used to distractions like ducks or floating sticks without chasing them. Stay calm and focused.
  • Introduce your dog slowly to the kayak and being on the water. Make it a positive experience.
  • Always put safety first. Know your dog’s limits and don’t push too far too fast. Proper preparation prevents problems.

The key is to take it step-by-step so your dog gains confidence and skills. Make water time fun! With patience and practice, you’ll have a great water dog.

Training, Step #2: Acclimate Your Dog to the Kayak

  • Bring the kayak to a park or yard where your dog can explore it. Let them sniff, walk around, and play with it.
  • Hide treats inside the kayak. Let your dog find and eat them. This makes the kayak fun.
  • When your dog goes near the kayak, praise them and give them a treat.
  • Sit in the kayak and pet your dog when they come over. Give treats.
  • Have your dog sit in the kayak while you pet them and give treats and praise.
  • Keep doing these things so your dog connects the kayak with fun.
  • When your dog is happy with the kayak, you’re ready to go Kayaking With Dogs.

Training, Step #3: Practice Helpful Commands

Go to your spot – Train your dog to go to a designated area in the kayak. Use a blanket or towel to practice. Reward with treats.

Okay! – Let your dog know when getting in or out of the kayak is okay. Say “Okay!” right before they jump. Give treats and praise.

dog commands

Leave it! – Prevent your dog from getting distracted by things in the water. Keep them focused on you.

Lay down! – Have your dog lay down in rough water or around birds. Keeps them stable and safe. Pet and praise when safe.

Get in the water/Get in the boat – Optional commands if you want your dog to swim. Make sure they can get back in the kayak. Use a lifejacket for safety.

The key is to train these commands at home first, then practice near shore before going on the water. Be patient, use rewards, and keep sessions positive. Start slow and stay safe.

Training, Step #4: Head to the Water’s Edge for a Test Run

Go to the Water and Try It Out Now your dog knows what to do on the kayak. Take the kayak to the water and practice getting on and off. You might go from a beach or a dock. You get on the kayak first and wait for your dog. Your dog will feel better if you are with them. They will learn how to float on the water.

Head to the Water’s Edge for a Test Run

It might take some time for your dog to get used to it. Some Kayaking Dogs jump out of the kayak when you start moving. If your dog gets scared, be nice to them and hug them. Then try again later. You don’t want your dog to think the kayak is bad.

How to Get On and Off from a Beach Put the kayak partly in the water and partly on the land. Tell your dog to get in their place. If your kayak is open on top, your dog can walk on it. If your kayak is closed, your dog might have to jump in from the water. You can also pick them up and put them in. If it is cold, you might not want your dog to get wet. But they will dry fast on the water.

Oru Kayak How To: Easy Steps to Kayaking With Dogs

Make sure you and your dog are sitting and your dog is lying down. Then use your paddle to move the kayak into the water. It is easier for your dog if they are lying down and you are with them. Go a little bit away from the beach, paddle in the water, then come back to the beach. 

If you are okay with your dog getting in the water, tell them they can go. If you want them to stay dry, you can get out first, then pick them up and put them on the land. I let Frances get in the water and play because she likes it and my car is dirty anyway!

How to Get On and Off from a Dock Bring your kayak to the side of the dock and get in. Your dog will want to join you, so if you are in the kayak, they will want to get in too. When you are in, hold the dock and pull the kayak close to it. There should be no space between them. Tell your dog to get in their place. 

 Paddle near the dock, then come back to it. Hold the dock again and tell your dog they can get out. They will usually jump out to the dock. It is good to have a leash for your dog, so you can keep them near you when you are out of the kayak. Keep the leash short. You don’t want your dog to jump in the water when they are on the leash. In the kayak, don’t use the leash. It is not safe.

Kayaking With Dogs My mom and I like to kayak with our dog Frances. We live near the water. In the picture, my mom and Frances are on our kayak on the water. There is a big mountain behind them. Frances did not have a life jacket then, but we got one for her later.

Training, Step #5: Head Out into Nature!

 Go on a Long Trip with Your Dog Now your dog knows how to be on the kayak. You can go on a long trip and see the nature. There are many places to go, like beaches, lakes, and rivers. They are beautiful and different. You and your dog will have fun on the water. I like to go with my dog Frankie. He likes the nature too. All animals like nature. We live on this earth with them. We all like the things we see.

But some of the animals and plants in the water are in danger. We need to be careful with them. We need to use our paddles and our Kayaking With Dogs safely. We need to remember that we are guests in their homes. We need to be nice to the animals and plants in the water.

What to Do if Your Dog Jumps Ship

How to Be Safe if You and Your Dog Fall in the Water Sometimes you and your dog might fall in the water when you are on the kayak. This can happen if a big wave hits you or if your dog jumps in the water and you try to get them back. You need to know what to do if this happens.

Find your dog and hold them. Go back to the kayak and keep your dog with you. Tell your dog it is okay and fun to be in the water. If the kayak is upside down, turn it over. Find your paddle and put it in or on the kayak. Make sure it does not fall off again. Put your dog’s feet on the kayak and push them up. Breathe. 

Pet your dog and tell them they are good. They might be scared that you are not on the kayak. You can also get on the kayak first, then pull your dog up by their lifejacket. But I like to see my dog on the kayak first so I don’t worry. Get on the kayak yourself. 

This is hard, but having a lifejacket helps. I don’t do this very well, so I take off my lifejacket, put it on the kayak, and then pull myself up. (It does not look nice, but it works!) If you can’t get on the kayak, take it to the land or the dock. If you are too far from the land, ask for help. If no one can help you, kick your legs!

For a kayak that has a hole for you to sit in, it might be easier to get in first, and then get your dog in. I think you should try falling in the water before it happens for real. You don’t have to make your dog fall in the water, start in water that is not deep with your kayak upside down, and do what you need to do.

What to Bring When Kayaking with Your Dog

If you go for a long time, you should also have:

Lifejacket for your dog. Very important! More treats in a bag that does not leak. Good for making your dog happy. More water and a bowl. Food in a bag that does not leak and a bowl if you go all day. A leash for when you are on land. Could you not use it on the kayak? Something soft for your dog to sit on. 

A towel is good, but you can also use a seat or a cushion. Toys that can get wet. Fun for playing if your dog likes to swim or for keeping them busy on the kayak. If you don’t want them to swim, use a toy they don’t like to chase. Sunscreen, balm, goggles, or a hat for your dog. Dogs can get sunburned too, especially from the water. First Aid Kit Bags for picking up poop. (Yes, dogs can poop on a kayak.

Top Kayaks on the Market for Dogs

How to Choose a Kayak for You and Your Dog You want to go on the water with your dog, but you need a good kayak. Different kinds of kayaks are good for Kayaking With Dogs. A kayak with two seats is good for you and your dog. But you can also use a kayak with one seat if it has enough room for your dog. 

You can go to different places with your kayak, like rivers, lakes, or oceans. It would help if you found a kayak that works for you and your dog. Here are some kayaks that are good for Kayaking With Dogs:

Best All-Around Kayak: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two-Tandem

The Malibu Two is a great kayak for people who love Kayaking With Dogs. It is the most liked kayak of its kind in the world.

The Malibu Two is small and heavy, and you can use it in the sea or a lake. It has enough space for two grown-ups, and also for kids, pets, or even cats. I like that you can sit in the back and paddle, while your dog sits in the front and enjoys the ride.

This kayak is good for anyone who wants to try it. It has a special shape that makes it steady and safe in different kinds of water.

  • Big open cockpit – Fits 2 adults and 1 child or pet
  • Adjustable padded seats – Extra comfortable backrests
  • Overlapping foot areas – Lets you brace feet comfortably
  • Carrying handles – Makes it easy to transport
  • Gear straps – For storing stuff
  • Max weight – Holds up to 425 lbs
  • Weight – Kayak weighs 57 lbs

The main things to know:

  • Roomy cockpit for 2 people and a pet
  • Comfy padded seats
  • Easy to carry using handles
  • Can hold up to 425 lbs
  • Weighs 57 lbs

Best Bang for Your Buck: Sea Eagle 370 pro 3-person inflatable kayak

I had this kayak when I lived in a big city. I liked it a lot. I took it with me when I moved to a place near the ocean. I sold it for almost the same price I bought it. It was still good after five years. The Sea Eagle has everything you need, like paddles and seats. You can make it ready in 10 minutes.

This kayak is good for fast rivers. It will not break easily. It also has a lot of space. You can fit three grown-ups in it. Some friends used my kayak once. They went to the river with their kids and Kayaking With Dogs. They had a good time.

Getting Your Dog Comfortable With Paddling

The last thing you need to do on land is to make your dog feel okay with you moving the paddle. Mairs says you should show the paddle to your dog and give them treats. Then, have your dog sit on the kayak with you and start to move the paddle slowly. Be nice to your dog so they have fun.

Teaching Your Dog to Love Their Life Jacket

Your dog needs to wear a special jacket that helps them float on the water. You should train your dog to wear it too. Find a jacket that fits your dog well and lets them move their legs. Mairs likes jackets that have a strong handle and clips, not Velcro.

Show the jacket to your dog before you go to the water. Mairs says you should let your dog wear it at home, take them for walks in it, feed them in it, and so on. This way, your dog will feel good in it. Your dog also needs to learn how to swim in it. Mairs says, “They may not like swimming with it at first.” You should take them to the water and let them play or swim with it.

Taking It to the Water

  • The last training step is introducing your dog to things they’ll see on the water – geese, boats, swimmers.
  • If your Kayaking With Dogs can’t stay calm around these, you’re not ready to kayak yet. Keep practicing self-control.
  • Once your dog is focused on you with distractions, you’re ready for the real thing.
  • Find a shallow beach entry. Have a friend hold the kayak steady as you get in first. This keeps your seat dry.
  • Invite your Kayaking Dogs to face in the right direction. You’ve practiced this on land already.
  • When you’re settled, have your friend push you out into the water.
  • Now you can put all your training to the test on an actual Kayaking With Dogs trip. Go at your dog’s pace and stay close to shore at first. With practice, they’ll get comfortable in the kayak and focused on you.

The key is training first, then slowly introducing new sights and sounds. Patience and treats go a long way!


With patience, training, and the right gear, you can teach your dog to safely ride along during kayaking trips. Introduce the kayak at home first before practicing near shore. Use rewards and a dog lifejacket to set them up for success on the water.

Larger breeds like Labs and Retrievers often take to kayaking naturally, but small dogs can learn to enjoy it too. Use training, life jackets, and close supervision to help any sized dog feel safe and have fun on the water. Go at their pace when introducing the kayak.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *