Paddling with the Pooch

Hi. I’m a new poster to this message board, but I’ve been a lurker for quite a while.

My boyfriend and I got recreational kayaks last year. He got a Liquidlogic Tryon and I got a Dagger Blackwater 11.5. We have really enjoyed them so far. We basically have been tinkering around on slow rivers.

In November, we got a new dog. The dog is wonderful–he’s a 90+ pound catahoula. Our predicament is what to do with him while we are paddling. We take him most places that we go on the weekends–if it’s pretty outside, I hate the thought of leaving him at home. So we really would like to take him paddling with us. I was wondering what everyone else does with their dogs. Does your dog sit in the boat with you, swim along side, or follow on the banks?

Advice is really appreciated!

Take along, but…

– Last Updated: Feb-28-05 4:52 PM EST –

Our Lab and German Shepherd enjoy riding in the canoe. It helps to put down a bathmat or piece of carpet so they can keep their footing.

It can get very hot in the bottom of a boat on a sunny day.

There is no easy way to get a big dog(75+ lbs.) back into a kayak or canoe on the water. The safest way is to have him follow you to shore.

Paddling with a dog…
Hey geogal, I think you’re going to want to trade in the rec. kayaks on a canoe. Or buy a canoe and have both! IMHO, I don’t see having the dog swim along or run along shore as a viable option. Others may have an opinion on this though. I just think it would be hard to keep track of him while paddling a river. That’s also assuming he is keeping track of you, and not wandering off.

I have a Pointer that likes canoeing. The first few times she didn’t want to “load up” into the boat, but she jumps right in now. She enjoys seeing the ducks, geese, etc. out on the water. She is not a water dog though, and will not jump out of the boat, although she’s thought about it. If your dog (90lbs.) did take a swim break, you’d just have to paddle to shore to get him loaded up again.

You might also try searching these forums for other dog-related discussions.

Keep kayaking
There are some pooch friendly sit on top kayaks out there. Specifically, a 14’ sea kayak by wilderness systems called a Tarpon 140. Check out their website.

Dog Paddle
I take my Brittany with me frequently. He rides in the front of the cockpit of my Old Town Loon 138. The cockpit is 55" long, providing plenty of room for dog or a small kid. Haven’t tried children yet, I hear they are delicious broiled. :slight_smile: Any way, humor aside, get a PFD for the pooch. I have a Ruffwear PFD for the Britt. Dogs can be subject to the same kinds of hypothermia and exhaustion as people if they have to swim too far along side. The Ruffwear PFD has a handle on the top that is designed to assist getting the dog back in. I have floated the pooch in it and he rides nice and high. Haven’t tried the out-in drill yet. That is on the list for warmer weather. Get the dog used to the boat on dry land. Then try short paddles to get him accustomed to the motion and sitting still. They have short attention spans. Remember that the training paddles are for the dog not for you. That will avoid the frustration of planning a nice long day that didn’t happen because of the dog. Also, bring water. Dogs can get giardia just like people and it is best for everyone to drink fresh sanitary water. Give him lots of water and shade breaks and enjoy the company.


dont know about a yak but a caNOE would be a nice option… my 50# blacklab loves to go paddling tho she’s not crazy about getting wet…

5000 river miles with her and not one dump since the first three days :slight_smile:

i paddle a kevlar canoe so the bottom stays nice and cool, i stop every 2 hours to stretch and wa;lk about, which gives me a chance to wet her down if its hot. Also i keep a doggie PFD on her at all times which has a handle on the back to help haul her in… your dog might be too heavy

Most people I’ve seen with dogs,…
At the lake are paddling in canoes, but there have been a few on sots. Last year we took our 80lb dog paddling in our neighbor’s canoe, and it worked out real well. He just settled on a towel behind my wife who was on the front seat, but we did stay fairly close to shore, just in case. And yeah,… he was wearing his canine pfd when we started out.

Hope the three of you have a real good time.

To tie in with another thread…
You could get a tandem kayak and sit the dog in the middle.

re paddle pooch
My dog took his maiden voyage this weekend. he was very good although I was very suprised how his weight would shift the boat around, I thought his fifty pounds woulnd’t have much affect on our 17ft flat bottom grumman(barge), we also brought a thermarest pad for him to lay on, then i noticed he was squeezing where the pad didn’t cover, he’s a husky mix so I guess he prefered the cool aluminum on his fur. I guess the best advice would be, bring treats and water for him to drink and on his first voyage maybe don’t bring too much camera gear in the boat in case he gets to jumpy!

I occasionally
paddle with my 50# golden/husky mix. But she gets antsy sitting in my 9’ Sundance. When paddling on small lakes she will swim alongside all day long. I only paddle with her on open land with no people around so she doesn’t bother anyone. A canoe would be a better option in a longer day trip or urban setting. Be careful as a dog trying to get in or out can tip ya easy.