Paddling with your pooch


Any suggestions for paddling with a 50 lb. dog in a 12-14 foot kayak? He likes to swim too.

wear your PFD and get him one.
and good luck.

Get a canoe
You can manage a dog in some kayaks, but really you’re just managing it. If you really want to paddle with your pooch, get a canoe.

its more about the pooch
I once paddled with a guy who plopped a shower mat in back of his cockpit and his Golden hopped on. Sat in one place for eleven miles from Brunswick to Bath.

My Golden, as much as I love her, would have made sure I got the bath.

Yes, the pooch is important, too.
Some dogs are perfectly content to sit still in a boat. Others, no way.

Help me out here
I honestly do not understand wanting to take your dog along while paddling. Don’t you have people to paddle with? Taking a dog along is a pain in the a**. It comprises the kind of boat you can use. It restricts the conditions and locations you can paddle in. It may even jeopardize the safety of the dog. Why not a canoe or john boat or similar. You obviously do not value the paddling experience itself. You just want to be with your dog. To each his own. But it seems weird to me.

paddling with dogs

– Last Updated: Aug-08-08 11:51 PM EST –

I just recently bought a new Bell Yellowstone solo canoe to go paddling with my dogs. You are right, it does compromise the kind of boat you can paddle, and where you can go. It's not that I don't enjoy the paddling experience - I do. I just want to share it with my dogs. They love the water and sometimes I do get wet but thats okay.

If you think about a dogs life, anything they do, anything they eat, whether they play and get exercise, or sit all day alone or outside or out in the elements... it's all determined by the owner. Their entire lives are only as good as WE make them. We have our work, our play, our friends, family, we travel, but they have only us. I just cannot allow my dogs to sit at home alone while I go out and have fun. Maybe sometimes, yes, I like to go alone in my kayak, but I enjoy taking my dogs out and I feel better about myself as a dog owner when I do things with them.

Maybe this will help you understand the mindset of people who paddle with dogs.

This is the mindset of the people…

– Last Updated: Aug-09-08 4:07 PM EST –

...what about the dogs?

I think a 50# dog would have more fun running and playing in the water than being confined to a kayak...but I've never asked a dog.

This is the mindset of person who doesn't paddle with a dog.

Paddlin' on

dog-friendly kayak

– Last Updated: Aug-09-08 12:19 AM EST –

I have a 65 pound pit bull and would highly recommend the Native Ultimate 14. They come in solo or tandem. Tandem seats are removable and adjustable for solo paddling. Very flexible design. It's an open kayak with available skirts to almost completely enclose. It's stable enough to stand and paddle or pole in it. Paddled with my dog on the Farmington River in Connecticut and he loved it. Make sure you bring a rubber/non-skid backed mat so he/she doesn't slide around. Check out the Native website and watch the videos. Also had the dog in a Dagger Blackwater 13 tandem but the thing handles like crap. Flat bottom and almost impossible to keep straight. As for what the dog thinks, I don't know for sure, but I know when he's happy, and he loves being in the boat. Doggie PFD is a must.

Dude, to each his own!
Must all folks paddle and live their lives the way you do? I don’t paddle with my dogs, because they can’t sit still in a boat, plus, most kayaks are poor boats for company. But what’s with the self-righteousness? I’ve seen lots of dogs in canoe who clearly love the experience. Don’t you feel a bit hypocritical, being the guy who gets bent out of shape when people suggest you wear a pfd, telling other people what they should and shouldn’t do with their dogs?

Sometimes I take my 35lb. Border Collie
when I take my Prowler SOT. She has plenty of room in the tank well and does love to ride. If going down river where there is strong current (Class II), no way…to dangerous, even with her doggy pdf on. Kayaking with a dog can be fun…but, I would not want to take a dog bigger than 40lbs as they could flip the kayak and then the fun really begins.

We’ve thought about it
Our Swedish Valhund (yes, there really is such a thing) is almost 1 year old and weighs about 30 lbs. My wife and I have been seeking some strategy we might use to take him out in our Adirondack tandem canoe.

But he is lively, active and doesn’t hesitate to jump in the water at the riverbank. We may try it, but only on a very experimental basis and right close to shore where no serious harm can be done (we hope). But I really have my doubts.

Maybe in a few years he’ll settle down to the point where it might work out.

Read the OP (original post)

– Last Updated: Aug-09-08 4:23 PM EST –

(which is not the person I responded to) He stated "50 lb. dog in a 12-14 foot kayak" not a canoe.

Now read the post I posted to and then re-read my post.

I merely expressed some comment and didn't tell the poster what to do.

I post sarcasm when someone suggests that I wear a PFD on for color. I don't ask anyone's opinion on the issue and I don't want it. On the water and in public I ignore such comments.

Dude? Where did you pick up this word TV? Consider another greeting. I do suggest you spend more time biking and paddling. You seem a little tense.

Touched a nerve!

Not really
You seemed to be pissed about something and I couldn’t find where it came from.

I give advice but you don’t see me ask for it.

Paddlin’ on


Sit on the leash
Assuming your cockpit is big enough to hold both him and you, keep him on leash (sitting in front of you) and then sit on the leash end yourself, if you think your weight can keep him from moving too much or jumping out.

This is what my husband did the one time we paddled with a dog. Loon 138 and a puppy. With a 50-lb dog, you’d better be heavy enough to hold him in place, though.

A caution . . .
Alligators love doggies for lunch. If you are paddling in Florida, or inland along the southeast coast, this possibility has to be considered. Alligators that wouldn’t look twice at a human will aggressively go after a dog.

Cobra Navigator
Is a great platform for a single dog. In a pinch you can fit a small dog in the rear too

I did manage to haul a Golden Retriever in the stern cargo compartment of a Perception Eclipse a few times but I would not reccomend it in open water

A canoe is my preference now that I have a new puppy.

You may want to practice on dry land at first to get the dog comfortable getting in and out and sitting still.

I would not use a leash as it is a tangle hazard.

My husky mix loves to go out in the necky gannet (a 12 foot, stable rec boat that I chose because its cockpit is plenty big enough for me and her–I can also carry a niece or nephew with me.) I tried putting her in the BBK valkyrie, but that cockpit just wasn’t stable enough. She loves being in a kayak, more than being in a canoe. She hops in and out and runs along shore when she needs a break from the boat. When she sees me get the necky on the car, she goes crazy with excitement. She was also fine in a rental sit-on-top kayak. But she is a very accommodating dog and will adjust to pretty much anything happily, except being left behind.

I don’t use a leash on her in the boat, but I do use a harness, to make it easier to pull her back in when need be.

Our two pit bulls, on the other hand, are very hyper beasts. Any boat stresses them so much we just leave them home.

Once upon a time we had some goofy sheepdog mix who loved to run rapids on VTs White River, on her back, barking the whole time. She would get to the end of a little rapid, run back up stream along shore, and ride the rapids over and over. Crazy dog.

Old Town Loon 160T
I have a 70 lb American brown dog (Otis), and I paddle frequently with him, and on several occasions with both him and Casey (a friend’s bit heavier Chocolate Lab). We like to go paddling out to islands for camping or just a day on the beach. Those dogs are good friends to a lot more than their owners. They are always frequently asked about and missed when they don’t show up. I’ve never actually considered pfd’s for them. Casey recently ended up in the drink as some wakes sent us rocking and washed over the deck. Otis and I just looked at one another and shook our heads. In any case, the boat is a fine rec kayak to paddle with your dog. The good news is you always want the heavier person in the back for handling purposes in I believe any tandem kayak. This also allows you to anticipate your dog jumping off the side. Otis rarely does it, but it’s like any rescue practice. Just get out there and let it happen. Train your dog that it’s a bad thing and figure what you have to do when it inevitably happens. Learn to enjoy the unexpected. It’s quite comfortable paddling with just Otis and I. He’ll look from whichever side of the boat he pleases, and the boat will lean a little bit accordingly, but it doesn’t carve turns or anything of the like, so you can just go with it. It’s a fairly heavy boat, so if you’re a bit on the wimpy side you may never feel like carrying it to the water. I actually usually enjoy the exercise, but I find most don’t share my view of carrying a boat being a good thing, and some would probably injure themselves. Paddling with a dog different? Yes. Any less enjoyable? No. Just a different experience.