Kayaking with Dog?

I thought I had seen a post about this recently but can’t find it.

I am trying to get my wife interested in kayaking (at least a little). She is taking a bit of an interest in it, but really wants to take the dog out (she’s a dog lover).

I have an 85 pound boxer and two NDK sea kayaks so putting the dog in or on the boat is not an option as with a rec boat.

I am wondering if anyone has a good solution for something the dog could float on and tow behind one of the boats. It would have to be something stable with enough room, but that would not be too hard to tow.

I am thinking of one of those water ski donuts. May be too hard to tow though.

Any ideas? Maybe a cheap old whitewater boat?



I thought about the same thing. The problem I couldn’t solve was how to get the dog back in after he decided to go swimming. I started a homemade version of a catamarn system like the Easy Riders, but it ended up too heavy for easy use.


We ended up with a canoe, which has worked well.

This is one option I’ve seen:


This is another:


Jackson Rec
Saw these boats at Paddlefest, check out the Jackson Day Tripper series. www.jacksonrec.com

Plenty big for a dog…

Leave the dog home
and you’ll have more fun otherwise you’ll be playing dog sitting and now kayaking.

Different fun
For some paddling our dog is better off at home. But I’ve had a lot of nice morning fishing trips and relaxed evening paddles on the lake with the dog in the canoe. It’s fun seeing her reaction to the smells from shore, the bats, the birds, fish rising, etc.

leaving dog at home…
I totally agree with you…but remember my goal is to get my wife out on the water and that is one way to motivate her to kayak. I am an avid kayaker and she is not. I am trying to get her to enjoy the sport a little and trying to make kayaking an opportunity for us to do something together rather than her being the “kayaking widow” that she often ends up being.

Would also motivate her to do an overnight trip if we could take the dog.


Tough with a big dog
The size of your dog makes it harder to find a solution. When I used to paddle the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in NW Montana years ago there was a guy that took his dog along. The dog would lay on the deck in front of his sprayskirt, and then jump off and cruise the shore when we would come to rapids he didn’t like. But his dog was probably more in the 40-pound range. The thought of an 80-pound dog climbing up on my deck makes me a little nervous.

A canoe is a much better boat for a dog
Add to this, not all dogs have the right temperament to be good boat dogs. I’ve seen a lot of labs who are completely content to hold down the bow of a canoe. But many dogs will find floating either very distressing, or very boring. For the later, having to sit still in the boat with so much going on around them will drive them crazy. They want to be moving and determining the direction they go.

Before I invested anymore time in this, I’d rent or borrow a canoe, take the dog out for a paddle on quiet, non-moving water, and see how he or she does.

How far
can your dog swim and for how long?–If he can do 3-4knots for a couple of hours at a time, by all means take him with you otherwise leave him at home

SOT, possibly a double SOT
Try renting one at first. If your dog gets antsy and jumps off, your wife can still stay upright. Might not be the same with a SINK, even a wide one.

A lot of this depends how well-behaved the dog is!

I second the SOT idea,
as we have a Feelfree Triyak that we use for

tandem paddling with our 80 lb. dog in the

middle. The key to making this work is using

a piece of carpeting for the dog with small

bungee straps through the corners to the yak

pin brackets. Without the carpet, plastic is

slippery for a dog. With Crazy Creek air seats

and Onno kayak paddles, she will love it!

Oh, so will you! Good luck!

Leave the dog home
I’ve seen a couple of tragedies paddling with dogs–tragedies for the dogs, not the people. I would never take my dog paddling except on a calm day, for a short duration ( they get bored after about 15 to 20 minutes), and near a shoreline with gentle slopes that my dog can negotiate.

Look, if the craft turns over, which canoes and kayaks sometimes do, the dog has no training or prior plans and will not know what to do. this can result in a lot of bad scenerios. They do not know how to read WW and will swim right into danger. On a large lake they may strike for shore which can be a considerable distance. Mostly you or rescuers will be saving yourself, boat, then gear. Dogs tend to get lost in the shuffle. Dogs always want to go with, but do your friend a favor and leave them at home. Paddling is a much more dangerous activity for them.

Good advice for some situations,
and especially for white water,

where dogs have no place.

Even when in flat water, our dog wears

a pfd at all times, and if anyone takes

their dog out on the water paddling, they

should have a pfd on their dog. As with

people, the unexpected can happen.

I take Roscoe all the time…

– Last Updated: Jul-22-07 9:09 PM EST –

...but, it's in a canoe only and I'm not stupid enough to take him with me on a class 2 or above river or a huge lake. I see lots of people saying leave the dog at home. I find that sad. Of course, some dogs dislike water.

Can't help you with the kayak part of it.

In my solo canoe, he sits right between my legs and always has his CFD on. I paddle only slow, lazy rivers with him or small calm lakes and ponds. I do not take him out when it's over 80 degrees as the CFD makes it too hot for him. I let him get out and swim/stretch every few miles or at least once an hour.

Have a dog? Then make it happen so that he/she may join you on SOME trips.

Now when I say, "let's go paddling on the water"....Roscoe goes nuts and grabs his leash off the door, meaning he's ready to go!!



Mine stay home
If I took them I’d probably have gators following me down the river. Plus they both hate the water.

I have a Rottie

I have a 100 pound rottweiler and use a necky double kayak. She takes the front seat. We can handle conditions up to the point where the cockpit begins to take too much water. May be with a dog sprayskirt we can do much better. A friend on mine has a small dog ( actually 2 ), a miniature schnauzer, that will go on most any trip. On rough conditions they will stay under the sprayskirt, and can even handle a capsize and reentry.

Anyway, I only recommend dog kayaking near shore and with a CFD.

Here we are on a multiday trip





Also have a rot
And we use the native ultimate, have not had a problem. My wife also takes our golden in her Mad river Synergy. Both have ample space for the dogs and are stable enough if they decide they want to dip there head in for a quick drink.

One of the paddlers
in our group came back from an evening trip on a small 200 acre lake near here, and said there was another couple there with kayaks that were towing an Old Town Otter with their dog in it. She said the dog seemed to be enjoying the ride. Must have been a well trained dog to trust it alone in a yak.

Thanks for raising these issues
Some dogs might be fine in certain very low risk conditions. But moving water is moving water, and even the slowest, laziest rivers become dangerous under certain conditions–strainers and logjams that weren’t there last time you paddle it, etc.

I’m sure there are lots of paddlers out there who think it through, are prepared, and use good judgement. But I’m sure there are lots of others who don’t, and are totally unprepared for a situation where they have to think simultaneously about self-rescue and pet rescue.

can’t you do anything without your dog?