Kayaking With A Dog (How To Do This & Things To Consider)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 30, 2022
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you are planning to kayak with a dog then you must have a kayak that is dog friendly. Then you have to train your dog and introduce it to the kayak. After that, you have to make the dog used to paddle. You can use a ball and make your dog fetch in the water. Finally, teach the dog how to jump in the kayak.

Key Takeaways

  • While you are looking for a dog-friendly kayak, you have to consider quite a few things like stability, size, weight, etc.
  • SE 370 Pro is an excellent kayak if you are planning to go out in the water with your dog because it has 3 person capacity and a removable rear-entry seat for ease of use
  • You should buy a kayak where your dog can feel free on the bow, or he might be more relaxed riding wedged by your feet
  • You should prepare your dog before you hit the water because a very hyperactive dog doesn’t just sit for long time

Here Is The Step By Step Process Of Kayaking With Your Dog

Step One: Find A Dog-Friendly Kayak And Prepare It

We all know how much dogs love to go on a paddle. Whether it’s relaxing on the water or hiking through the wilderness, there’s nothing quite like being with your beloved pooch. As a result, more people than ever are taking to the water for their adventures and many of them are doing so with their pets in tow. But what happens when you’re out in the middle of nowhere and your four-legged friend is starting to get thirsty?

Step two: Introduce The Dog To The Kayak

To introduce your dog to the kayak, place a paw in the boat and then slowly lift it out of the water. If they start to wiggle their paw back in, place their paw back out of the water and start over. Reward them with a treat.

Step three: Get The Dog Used To Paddle

What you can do is get her used to the water by getting her used to it in your hand. Start by soaking a towel in the sink and holding it under your hands. Then take the towel and place it on the ground, gently put the dog on the towel and slowly let her walk around on it. It may take some time for her to get used to it, but with patience, she will soon.

Step Four: Throw A Ball For Them To Fetch On The Water

When you’re throwing a ball for your dog to fetch in the water, he’ll need a specific technique. Whether you’re tossing the ball high or low, the right arm and left arm should be used to tell your dog where to go. In terms of high balls, the right arm should be brought up and then out to the side while the left arm is brought down and then out to the side. In terms of low balls, the right arm should be brought down and then up, and then out to the side.

Step Five: Get Them To Jump In The Kayak With You

The first thing you need to do is get a dog that’s friendly with water. It’s best to get a dog that’s never been around water before and has never gotten in trouble with it, like a golden retriever. Some dogs will instinctively swim in the water, but others might not. The next step is to have the dog wear a life jacket and a special seat belt-type harness with a leash attached to it. The leash should be long enough so you can hold onto it.

What Is The Best Dog-friendly Kayak?

There are three aspects to judge when settling on a kayak that would work best for your pup:

1. Stability – You want a kayak that is stable and that tracks well. A dog is likely to make back-and-forth movements. A stable kayak won’t tilt despite the movements.

2. Size – When the pup is enjoying the cruise and relaxing next to you, you want a generously spacious kayak so he can fit happily.

3. Weight – Your pal will add extra weight to your kayaking trip. So, you want a lightweight and inflatable kayak. This type of kayak allows easy paddling when possible.

Satisfying the above 3 points is why Sea Eagle made it to our top recommended brand of kayaks for dogs, with the below kayak beings our top pick:


Our top recommendation for a dog-friendly kayak goes to the SE 370 Pro. Like every kayak, this too comes with its own unique pros, but very few cons. Let’s review them:

No products found.

1. Compact, lightweight kayak with 3-person capacity and a removable rear-entry seat for ease of use.

2. Comes with carrying bag, two-seat paddles, and a foot pump for added convenience.

3. Dog-friendly Platform, Deck, and attachment

4. Skegs for better tracking and speed

5. Anti-scorching& high frequency welded seams

6. For quick and easy drain valve drainage, but also for convenient transportation.

7. Expandable with up to 5 deluxe valves – perfect for a small room or large business.

8. It can easily accommodate two people and a dog or two depending on size.

9. It’s a solid build kayak, thus it can withstand dog claws even if not trimmed.

10. It’s low-cost and versatile.

11. Set up process is easy.

12. Comparatively stable than other similar kayaks and less likely to capsize on water.

13. A perfect family kayak (with lots of room to store family stuff) I would say.

Various price points are available for doing friendly kayaks. And, usability and price points will be budget-friendly. You can choose a kayak and customize it further based on the package you choose.

Some kayaks aren’t fitting for dogs. So, keep that in mind when you’re looking to upgrade or purchase your first boat. You want to find a kayak that will comfortably fit both of you. The right type will definitely depend on the size of your dog and how much gear you plan on carrying.

You might want a kayak where your dog can feel free on the bow, or he might be more relaxed riding wedged by your feet. Consider your dog’s personality when picking one, too.

Nervous dogs might act better if kept close. Additionally, you can grab their collar if needed. On the other hand, a quiet dog who likes to take a nap would do well staying on the bow. Finding the best dog kayak has to align with the size of your dog, and your budget.

 And, if you are planning on taking another human with you, the extra space will perfectly handle their presence. Judging from all aspects, I prefer my SE 370 over their smaller option, “the Sea Eagle 330”, as it can fit 2 plus 1.

Things To Consider While Kayaking With A Dog

1. Examine Your Dog

No matter how much you wish to take your dog on a kayaking trip, some dogs just don’t have the character or nature to be your kayaking buddy out on the water. A very hyperactive dog, for example, doesn’t just sit. The dog has a hard time sitting still and might not be able to keep its cool for more than a few minutes.

Get your pup prepared for the tour he’s about to embark on. You should prepare your dog before you hit the water. The last thing you want is to be trapped out on the water managing your dog with one hand while you paddle with the other. 

Nervous dogs, particularly ones with a distaste for water, might not like being wedged into a boat and then carried out on a vessel into the middle of the lake.

Everybody will have a botched trip if your dog doesn’t have the personality to enjoy a kayaking trip. So, consider his personality before you make him your kayaking partner.

2. Desensitizing Your Dog To The Kayak

Kayaks are big. They can look very scary, especially when your dog hasn’t seen one. Don’t just place him onto the kayak and expect him to go along with it. Let your dog discover the kayak on his own conditions and adjust to it on his own time. You can place the kayak inside your house or bring it out into the yard while your dog is playing.

Finally, you can get on the kayak and invite your dog onto the kayak. Now you pet him while you’re in it. In time, he might favor the idea of sitting in it with you. Let him fetch his favorite toy or a soft bed so he feels relaxed. Greenies treat always work as a good motivator to get him inside and mature, too.

3. Loading And Unloading

Dogs don’t do all that well when adjusting to the job. Don’t expect to carry him in your kayak and have him consider the experience like a duck to water. You’ll have to make sure your dog is accustomed to entering and exiting the kayak in a variety of scenarios.

You should begin training your dog on land because he probably won’t jump into a kayak that’s bobbling around in the water. As you encourage him to hop in, have him sit right away on command and then toss a special treat he doesn’t normally get. 

When you’re teaching him to swoop, have him sit again once he’s on land.

When you’ve taught him how to get in and out of the kayak, you’ll want to anchor the kayak to some shallow water that isn’t choppy. Hold the kayak at rest so it won’t move too much when he jumps in.

Needless to say, smaller dogs can be elevated, but you won’t be able to drop your 80-pound Labrador into a swaying watercraft singlehandedly. 

Once he jumped in, have the treats prepared and tell him to sit. He needs to get used to the fact that when he’s on the boat, he has to remain still and not agitated, waggle, or try to jump out (good luck if you have a water dog!).

This is when basic obedience is really expected; your dog should have a firm sit/down/stay gamut before joining you out on the water.

4. Go Slow!

You shouldn’t pull him out onto the water the first few times you have him in the boat. Keep the first few trips limited to just getting him used to load/sit/stay/unload commands. This will keep him from getting beset.

Dogs are less disposed to tension when they have an activity to focus on. Once he has improved the loading and unloading effort, then you can start to get on with paddling into the water for very short distances (who says ‘kayaking with a dog is going to be easy!).

5. Setting Off From The Shore

This is when a firm sit/stay is very significant. Your dog needs to remain in the kayak as you’re trying to dissuade it away from the shore. Some dogs will want to jump out when the boat starts shifting and you aren’t in it.

Keep repeating your “stay” command to assure him. Once you’re on the boat, you can start getting him to adjust to the noises and motions of paddling. The oars startle some dogs and he might want to leap out once you start paddling. 

6. Keeping Your Dog Stay In The Kayak

“Stay” is a chief command when you’re moving, but he may completely ignore your commands if he sees something stirring. You’re going to come across a lot of wildlife on your kayaking trips, and some dogs just can’t hold their thrill when they see a bird, large fish, or even people onshore.

The best way to teach your dog is to train him to “leave it” when you are on land. Go to an eventful park or hiking trails crowded with wildlife. Training him to sit and stay by your side will keep him from jumping out of the kayak and tipping you into the water with him thereby.

7. The first thing that the kayaker needs is space. This includes both physical spaces as well as mental space. A person who has never taken a dog on a kayaking trip before should start off by practicing on calm water with their dog before they take them out on an open body of water.

8. It is very important that the person who is in charge of the paddling has an understanding of what their dog’s energy level and endurance are like. If it is not well known, then one should get in touch with someone who has taken their dog on a kayaking trip before to ask them about this information.

Necessary Dog Kayaking Gears

Your dog will need a few stuff as well as your personal gear. In addition, to make things easier, I discussed a shortlist of the essential items mentioned in this guide in the table below:

Name  Purpose 
SE 370 Pro Kayak (Linked to Amazon) My top choice for a dog-friendly kayak. Much roomy, quality-built, and versatile.
Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket A PFD (Personal Floatation Device) for your pup.
Chuckit! Ultra Ball An exciting water toy to play with.
Milk-Bone MaroSnacks Use as a treat and reward.
Dog Paddling With Tiny (The Book) Use it as a guide and a fun read.

Dog Kayaking Checklist: Safety Measure

For Dog:

1. First of all, your dog certainly needs a life vest (which will need extra exercise on land). Some people dispute that dogs are innate swimmers and don’t really need a vest, but that doesn’t mean they’re invulnerable to drowning. A life vest should be a must-have.

2. Carry your leash (and keep an extra stored in your pack).

3. Sunscreen is also essential; your dog’s nose and belly are vulnerable to burning.

4. Putting a harness on as well as their collar is a safety measure.

5. If he leaps out of the kayak, it’s easier to pull him back into the boat by his harness.

6. Finally, bring some water toys for him! Once you return to the land, prize his good behavior with a romp in the water. He will feel encouraged to sit in the boat once he learns that his behavior earns him some water playtime.

7. Note: Don’t forget to pack plenty of drinking water, a small meal (for yourself too ), and treats to continue your training.

For You:

For staying safe: It is very imperative that you invest in a personal floatation device (PFD), aka a life vest, even if you are in quiet waters. Kayakers often use the U.S. Coast Guard Type III personal floatation devices because they are lightweight and comfy. 

They come with large arm openings to set aside broad arm rotations and have shorter waist lengths for comfort. Safety is very significant and a helmet is absolutely critical if you have rocky waters for kayaking.

For staying dry: Many people wear spray skirts, which are used to wrap the opening of the cockpit, to guard their lower bodies and belongings against getting wet. Before wearing a spray skirt, make sure you know how to separate it quickly while underwater. 

It is recommended you pass by the spray skirt if you cannot do so. Dry bags are helpful to keep your personal belongings secure, especially useful if you plan to bring a camera along for the ride.

Before Going For The Ride; Make Sure These 7 Things.

1. Compact, lightweight kayak with a 3-person capacity and a removable rear-entry seat for ease of use.

2. Comes with a carrying bag, two-seat paddles, and a foot pump for added convenience.

3. Dog-friendly Platform, Deck, and attachment

4. Skegs for better tracking and speed

5. Anti-scorching & high frequency welded seams

6. For quick and easy drain valve drainage, but also for convenient transportation.

7. Expandable with up to 5 deluxe valves – perfect for a small room or large business.

Bottom Line

This site is dedicated to kayaking, we’re giving away everything we have to offer to our readers. Experts blog on this site sharing practical tips and valuable advice about all things outdoors. This includes kayaking. In this article, we discussed the things you should consider if you’d like to take your dog with you on your next kayaking trip.


  • https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-to-kayak-with-your-dog/
  • https://www.thewildest.com/dog-lifestyle/kayaking-dogs
  • https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-kayaks-a-guide-to-kayaking-with-your-dog-and-which-kayaks-are-best/

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Comment