pet passenger

I just adopted a puppy that is 7 months old. I want to take him kayaking with me. Is it too soon to start him out? I’d like to start training him but don’t want to scare him or have him afraid of the water.

If you capsize
what happens to the dog?

Answer that first.

I think
your puppy is almost certainly too young. Can your puppy swim? Does your puppy like to swim? Could your puppy swim to shore unassisted?

I kayak and canoe, and a kayak is
just the wrong craft in which to take a dog. A canoe is excellent for dogs. Sorry, but there it is.

consider this

– Last Updated: Apr-14-12 12:53 PM EST –

Depends on the dog. If it is a lab or Springer Spaniel it may be difficult to keep them out of the water, they love it so much. Depends on the situation also. Are we talking creeks and rivers, open ocean, or great lakes?
First thing is to be safe. Get a good Dog PFD, teach your dog to enjoy the water from the shoreline first. Gradually get your pooch used to the kayak on shore. Let him set in it with you. Does your kayak have a big enough cockpit to allow you dog to enter and exit easily especially in rough water. Lots of dogs enjoy kayaking. Lastly make absolutely certain that your dog will come to you in and out of the water. I was once chased in my kayak by a big lab whose owner was repeatedly screaming come come come from shore. Didn't scare me but the dog was so interested in me that I was concerned that he might follow too far and not be able to get back to shore. You dog might be a little too young for long paddles but a short trip down the creek or around a small lake will get him started out right.

pet passenger
depends on what type of kayak you have. you can always lay it on the ground at home and see if you can get the dog to sit in it with you. I have a swifty recreational kayak and have a 80 lb german shepherd that has been riding in it with me since she was 9 weeks old and she is now 10 yrs old. usually she beats me into the kayak. And because I started her so young she has learned how to move in it. I end up straddling my legs around her which isn’t always the most comfortable especially when I let her swim next to me first and then she’s wet and fur ends up all over my legs… but she’s great at it. good obedience training and a calm personality are very important too. Don’t remember you saying what kind of dog it was for size, and your comfortablity with movement inside your boat is vital too.

I sold one
Of my yaks to purchase one that my dog would fit in. She always wears a PFD and knows sit & stay well. She also knows when I load the perception, she is not coming along but the main stream is her boat.

pet passenger
Thanks everybody. He is a french bulldog mix. You can tell by looking at him he’s got pit in him. I rescued him from the pound. He weighs 34 lbs and they said he probably won’t get much bigger, maybe 5 more lbs. I will not take him unless I have him in his own PFD. I’ve already started taking him around the water and so far he really likes it. I have a Native Manta Ray and figured he’d end up in my lap or in the area behind my seat. I plan on taking him to local lake and see how he does with that. I’ll let you know our progress.

dog tricks
Some dogs act very fretful in kayaks and canoes because their paws slip on the plastic floor and they seem to know they are at risk of not being in control. An old piece of carpet laid down or clamped under deck bungies can often (but not always) calm them right down as they now feel more secure. But make sure there are no loose lines to entangle them for obvious reasons.


– Last Updated: Apr-26-12 10:06 AM EST –

I would think not to young at all if anything the younger the better.
Depending on the kayak etc I am thinking you are talking an open cockpit style like a rec kayak or something along those lines.
Last time we went out with friends teaching their dog about going out in a boat...the dog jumped out of the boat when we got to some lily pads and what not. It did not know the difference between solid ground and marsh grass for example. They need to learn that kind of stuff so you might want to stay in shallow waters while the dog is in the learning stages. Will it jump out if it sees ducks...if it does can you bring it back on board without capsizing yourself...things like that. Dogs are smart they learn pretty quick. I think it's a good idea to get the dog used to water. If a dog is all panicky when in the water it can scratch you up pretty badly, so you might want to take the dog "swimming" even if the water is only knee deep to you...and of course the usual fetching sticks or playing ball and general splashing around so the dog sees it as a fun activity.
The carpet is a great idea, also there used to be a great video of a dog staying dry on a kayak even when a fellow was doing his rolls....kind of like a dog on a barrel.
One last thought if you do bring the dog to some islands or remote shoreline, dogs are predators and will chase wildlife, nesting birds etc..or the reverse.. it may be on some other critters menu so you'll want to keep that in mind as well.
Happy paddling.

"So far he really likes it"
You have the most important part down. The rest is fiddling with details.

Actually, it’s a lot like a human paddling partner, huh? Liking comes first, and the rest is detail work.

Dogs are happy creatures, given your affection and decent care. Enjoy his company!

Pet kayak

– Last Updated: May-02-12 2:49 PM EST –

My Lab x mutt loves water, so I decided she might like to come out on a sit-on kayak. I thought I would have to coax her to get on. No way. She was on in one bound. Spent the afternoon on Town Lake in Austin TX with her standing on the bow as if she had been doing it all her life. Real babe magnet, too. Every so often she would jump in and swim around and then swim up next to me, and I would grab her by the scruff of the neck and haul her in. I would not do it in flowing water. If I were to take her on a longer trip I would get her a pfd.

pet passenger
I like the carpet idea & he would probably be more comfortable on it. If my brother reads this & sees that dogs are babe magnets, he’ll be wanting to take Basil with him.

Once again, thanks everybody!

Worth reading

for info not already offered here or things you may not have thought of.

What about gators…
You won’t be paddling in a gator-favorable environment, will you? I wouldn’t, especially in a kayak. Gators have a fantastic sense of smell and dogs are at the top of their menu. I’d suggest a canoe only and teach your dog how to behave around gators. I had 2 large (100# each) female german shepherds (litter sisters) I trained to be my gator alarms. I trained them well and were well disciplined. They each had their own place in the canoe and knew they were only allowed to sit or lie down unless told otherwise. Such training requires a lot of time so if you can’t spare the time I suggest you take your dog with you only in waterways that are well known for being gator-free. Just FYI.