I recently got a puppy and want to take him out kayaking with me when it starts to warm up next year. I would keep him in the cockpit with me but he is an English lab and he will get to be between 70 and 100 lbs. when fully grown. Does anyone know of any durable raft or small kayak that I would be able to tow behind my own kayak. One that I would be able to attach a floating ladder to help my dog get back into the raft/kayak. I’m not looking for anything fancy just something durable enough to resist dog claws and something that a dog will easily be able to enter and exit without my help. If it help my kayak is a Future Beach Trophy 126 Kayak. Thanks for your help!
that your dog will be able to safely and reliably negotiate a ladder into a water craft. Maybe, but I doubt it. Well trained dogs can do well in stable canoes. That might be your best bet. Operative words are “well trained.” My retriever does just fine in a canoe. Depending on the type of water you paddle consider a pdf for your dog.
Towing a dog of that scale from the boat you have is dangerous for you as well as the dog. There just is not enough boat involved on your end. And dogs don’t climb ladders, they might get caught in one though.
If you want to bring a dog of that scale on the water, get the dog a PFD and you both into a good sized canoe.
as stated above. A good size tandem kayak might also be suitable.
Towing any boat with a kayak is a chore, you won’t want to do this for fun. I’ve worked as a rescue kayak for events, towing even an empty full size kayak is 10 times harder than paddling alone.
A PFD for the dog is mandatory, and as the others have said, a canoe or a tandem kayak are really the only sensible options here.
canoe & doggie PFD
I have a 40lb sheltie who likes to come with me for short (1-2 hrs max) paddles in my Hornbeck on calm water, although I am definitely pushing the capacity of this boat. I agree a canoe is really your best option. One of the larger (12+ ft.) pack canoes will give you enough space for your dog, plus you will have some additional stability sitting low in the canoe. Loading: ladders are completely out, docks that are at the level of your canoe – maybe. Sophie jumps in and out of my canoe from water about 1 ft deep when I launch from shore. An absolute must-have is a PFD, or at least a harness to give you a way to haul your pooch back into your boat should the dog go overboard (and you WILL need a “handle” to do this with a 70-100# lab).
Towing a dog…
I think you’re asking for unnecessary problems & hassles when you talk about towing a 70 to 100 pound dog on a raft or kayak behind the boat you’re paddling.
If the dog does not behave well enough to be in the same boat with you; the dog should be left at home.
If you are adamant about taking the dog with you; get a boat that can handle the burden of you & your dog. I think a large solo canoe, or a small tandem canoe would be ideal. The dog would “still” need to be
Additionally, the dog needs its own pfd.
Nothing new here, just extra details
Though I entirely disagree with the person who thinks towing an empty boat is difficult (I find that if the towed boat is empty, I can hardly tell it's back there, so I have to think, since he mentioned that it was rescue work, that his experience was with towing a boat that was swamped). On the other hand, I totally agree with those that said towing a boat that has any kind of load is a royal pain. It's not something anybody would do while expecting to have fun. It's not just the effort of towing, but also what happens when the towed boat takes off at a cockeyed angle and yanks your boat off its heading and almost pulls you to a stop. Getting a towed boat to track properly is no easy thing (not impossible, but not worth the trouble either).
It has been mentioned that the dog will need to be well trained, or at least habituated, to behaving in a boat. Can you imagine how much harder it will be to achieve that goal when you are asking your pooch to sit all alone in a different boat from you? Your dog doesn't want to sit there alone, he wants to come join you in your boat!
You might find this useful. http://mypaddledog.com/
Mine either wants to leave the canoe to exercise moose or birds or sit in my lap
She is 65 lbs we are both happier if she stays home especially if it’s raining and cold
The only time I tried it, my dog kept looking back and forth at me and then the water. Which translates to "why aren't we in the water instead of sitting inside this thing?"
Your dog is going to want to be in the boat with you, and towing another craft will slow you down a lot and mess up your movement thru the water. A double kayak with an opening in the middle would work. The best solution is a big canoe. I have taken 3 dogs in my OT Guide 18 on a 6 day trip.
kayaking with large dog
Well here it is. My girlfriend and I paddle with her Rottweiler Jake, who's about 110 lbs. We had the idea of pulling a cheap vinyl raft (that we constructed a solid floor for) behind one kayak so Jake could go along with us. No luck--he kept jumping out. All he wants to do is swim, just like a Lab. So, she bought him a DFD, Doggie Flotation Device, a good one, because even though he loves to swim, we did not want him to tire out. After an initial 'get used to it' period, Jake does great and loves swimming alongside us. The flotation jackets are awesome, just make sure you get a good one. Labrador's may certainly follow you all day forever everywhere, but a flotation will keep them happy and warm if you're in cold water. If I can figure out how to post a video on this forum, I will.
It is possible, but
I have paddled with folks who have taken large dogs, but NEVER in a SINK, only on a large stable SOT. Then you really need to have a highly trained and disciplined dog or you are both going swimming! So it’s possible and the people I see doing it enjoy it, but only under those circumstances. I’ve never seen them do it in large waterways, nor in an ocean, BTW, just in calm canals.
Takes her large dog, (labrador) in her hybrid kayak on extended multi day trips. Her boat is a 10' ascend with a large open area behind the seat. Pretty small boat for paddler, dog and gear. She is a small paddler so that helps keep her boat from being overloaded.
She worked with the dog extensively when it was a puppy inorder to condition her to the boat. Dog needs to be able to enter and exit the boat on her own and also needs to sit or lay calmly.They have never experienced an upset.
I would probably recommend a solo canoe to anyone thinking about doing something like this, that's what I would use but I am a bigger paddler 6’, 200 lbs and I tend to carry a fairly large amount of gear "including some of my daughters so she has room for the dog".
The dog in boat thing can certainly work out but you do need to have a boat that works "stable" and the dog needs to have the right temperment "calm" and training.
I agree with the comments about staying on small water. My daughter only takes her dog on Ozarks rivers that the dog could easily swim across, and dog wears a pfd when things could get dicey. Important because if the boat were to dump in deep water the dog would be on its own and might panick.
I would never consider towing a boat behind, that would be a huge pita. You would probably never be able to keep the dog from jumping out anyway.
Just my 2 cents John R
At one point I considered a dog raft, and even built a couple of scale models to test my “catamaran raft with a self-boarding ramp” idea. I concluded that anything stable enough so that a large dog could board from deep water unassisted would be too large and heavy to tow.