How To Kayak With A Dog | Best Training and Top Considerations

how to kayak with a dog

Last updated on September 2, 2022

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Have you seen a dog ride the kayak with its owner before? Looks pretty adorable, right? The dog wagging its tail and wearing a smile on its face is a sight to behold. Aside from a good piece of bone, trips with its owner make a dog happy. If your puppy is feeling low right now, activity in the countryside might relieve its stress.

What’s a good activity, you ask? Well, you can try hiking, birdwatching, etc. However, these activities might be boring for your pet. Why not try kayaking instead? I’m pretty sure that your doggo will love the feeling of cruising in lakes, rivers, and seas.

But before you do so, read this article. Today, I’ll educate you about the top considerations when kayaking with your dog. Also, there’s a list of the best training pieces that your dog should do before riding the kayak. You may opt to read that if you already know all the considerations that I’ll be discussing here.

How To Kayak With A Dog: Top Considerations

Kayak Type, Size, and Weight Limit 

Kayak Types:

In general, kayaks come in three types; inflatable kayak (tandem or single). Recreational (sit-in/sit-on-top), hybrid, and crossover kayak. The best kayak to get for kayaking with your dog is recreational kayaks. Specifically, you should opt to get a sit-in tandem recreational kayak. It’s because this type of kayak is very stable, comfortable to sit at, and comes with lots of installments.

In contrast, the worst ride to get for kayaking with your dog is an inflatable kayak. An inflatable kayak isn’t very durable. Your pet’s claws or teeth might easily puncture it. Dogs have this nasty habit of biting or clawing things when curious. So for you to be safe, avoid buying an inflatable kayak and go for plastic or fiberglass recreational kayak.

Kayak Size

Consider size after you’ve decided what type of kayak to get. Seasoned kayakers recommend 12-13 feet kayak for kayaking with your dog. Tandem kayaks with this size have a very spacious cockpit. It provides enough room for your dog to walk around when feeling agitated. It’s good to get a large kayak for kayaking with a dog. It’s because size has something to do with stability and tracking.

Kayak Weight:

Lastly, you have to think about the weight limit. If your dog is large (i.e., a labrador, german shepherd, or husky), getting a spacious sit in tandem recreational kayak with a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds will do. As much as possible, the kayak’s weight limit must exceed you and your dog’s weight for a comfortable, safe, and fast riding.

Know Which Dogs Are Suited For Riding The Kayak 

Dogs come in varieties. Like some dogs are and aren’t suitable for hunting, there are also dogs that are and aren’t recommended to ride the kayak. Dogs that will do well when riding the kayak are calm breeds such as:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Great Dane
  • Boerboel
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Basset hound

Don’t worry if your dog isn’t calm. The training that I listed at the end of this article will help you prepare for a kayaking trip.

On the other hand, dogs that overheat easily aren’t good for kayaking. They’re prone to jump outside of the kayak to cool down. Also, they might faint or die from the heat. Dogs that are prone to overheat are:

  • Chow Chow
  • Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • English Bulldog
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Springer Spaniel

If you have these dogs and want to go kayaking, I recommend that you ride the kayak during the mornings or in the afternoon where the temperature is cold.

Don’t Forget Doggo PFD and Leash. 

Dogs know how to swim. However, they can’t do it for a long time. This is why you should consider buying a PFD for your pet. Getting this is easy. There are lots of dog PFD online that you may receive in a day or two. Dog PFD’s are useful. It ensures that your dog won’t die from drowning when an emergency happens.

Aside from Dog PFD, it would be best if you also got a leash. A leash is handy because it prevents your dog from bolting out of the kayak without warning due to excitement or fear. In the kayak, ideal places for tying the leash are the seats, the rod holders, the storage compartment, etc.

How To Kayak With Dog: Top Pieces of Training You Need To Know

Ride the Kayak 

Consider teaching your pet how to do this as soon as you bought a kayak. For this training, you don’t have to go to a nearby river, beach, lake, etc. 

Being at home will do. In a nutshell, this training will condition your dog to ride the kayak on its own. Here’s how to do this:

  • Clear the living room, get a thick mat, lay it down, and put the kayak over it
  • Get your dog’s bed or dog food plate and put it on the kayak cockpit
  • Place an object beside the kayak for your dog to step on
  • For 4-8 weeks, teach your dog to eat and sleep on the kayak cockpit where its belongings are placed


This training teaches your dog to stay calm and collected while the kayak is moving. This isn’t the same as the “stay” training done at home. To start, get your kayak and head to a nearby river, creek, lake, beach, or stream. After arriving, do these:

  • Place your kayak on shallow water
  • Put an object beside the kayak for your dog to step on
  • Get a treat, let your dog see it, and put it on the cockpit
  • After your dog mounted the kayak, push the kayak and head towards deeper waters
  • While moving, observe your dog’s reaction and tell it to stay whenever it becomes agitated
  • Stop when you’re at waist deep and go back to your original location

Other Pieces of Training That Your Pet Needs To Learn Kayaking

Here are additional training that isn’t as important as the two I mentioned above but might be useful:

Summing Up

The kayak type, size, and weight limit are significant. It would help if you first learned to choose the best kayak to cater to your needs and your pet before learning how to kayak with a dog. Remember that the best kayak for kayaking with your puppy is a large sit-in tandem recreational kayak.

Not all dogs are suited for kayaking. Before deciding to take your pet, train it first by following the piece of training that I showed here. You can also opt to contact a seasoned kayaker to train your dog.

Lastly, keep your puppy safe from emergencies. Don’t forget to bring a leash and dog PFD.

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