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Other than taking your dog for a walk, there are several other outdoor activities you can engage your dog in. One of these activities is kayaking. It can turn out to be a really fun outing if your dog loves water. One particularly good thing about kayaking with your dog is that it brings some workout benefits to your body other than thrilling your dog. Sadly, not all dogs like water. Some dogs may freak out, so having a clear kayak probably wont be the best for them.
Your canine may get nervous when in the kayak thus requiring special attention. Those that like water will stay still in the kayak or simply wiggle onboard. However, there is a range of things to put in place before taking your dog kayaking. First, you need to consult your dog’s veterinary officer on its health and the impacts of getting it waterborne.
There are tons bugs in the wild waters that can sicken your dog. Let the veterinary officer educate you on such or vaccinate the dog before going kayaking. Second, acquire all the necessary gear for your dog and the whole kayaking adventure. Such gear includes lifesavers and the general harnessing gear. Also, read the local leash rules as well as pet kayaking laws and regulations to help you stay out of trouble. Here is how to kayak with your dog:
First, familiarize your dog with the kayak
A kayak may scare your dog at first sight. For this reason, don’t just get the dog inside the vessel immediately and begin kayaking. Gradually introduce the dog to the kayak moments before the outing to prevent it from developing anxiety when actual kayaking takes place. Let the kayak stay in the backyard near the dog and take it inside at times for it to explore and familiarize itself with the vessel.
Invite the dog to come with its favorite toy and sit with you inside if it is obedient enough. Having done this successfully, your dog may be now a little more ready to get into the kayak during the actual event.
Train your dog on loading and unloading scenarios
Kayaking involves quite a number of scenarios that involve loading and unloading which your dog needs to understand beforehand. For instance, the way your dog will be required to leave the kayak during an emergency while in water is different with the way it will do on the land or shore when everything is fine.
You need to start training your dog on land first and then in shallow water. Command the dog to jump in and sit then repeat the process commanding it to jump out before handing it a special treat. Your dog needs to learn that it needs to sit down after jumping into the kayak without wiggling or jumping around. This is why basic obedience is paramount before going out kayaking.
Get your dog a PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
A PFD should be the first thing to purchase for your dog before getting waterborne. Consider the size of your dog whole buying a PDF to keep the canine comfortable on its first kayaking trip. PFD is a basic lifesaver.
Should your dog jump off the kayak, the device will keep it safe until you reach it during the rescue operation. Another importance of PFD has something to do with its “pick-up” handle. It is useful in situations requiring you to hold or lift the dog. Such situations include emergency offloading or preventing it from running away.
Don’t rush, take some time before kayaking
Do not embark on kayaking immediately after training. Although dogs don’t get nervous easily when they have something to focus on, they tend to be overwhelmed when situations change rapidly. For this reason, just confine the first activities strictly on loading and offloading training. Once they are done, make some few paddling trips along the shore while wandering a little offshore. Phew! Kayaking with a dog is indeed a demanding task.
A solid stay/stand command is highly important at this stage. Your dog is supposed to stay inside the kayak when you are getting the kayak away from the shore. The dog will always have the urge to jump off the kayak when it starts moving but you are not here to allow it.
Therefore, keep reassuring the dog by repeating the “stay” command as you pull the kayak off the shore. You also need to go a step further and make the dog get used to the motions and noises of paddling.
Begin in calm and shallow water
It isn’t a good idea to take your dog out into a fast river or ocean on the first day of kayaking. Start in a small lake, bay or pond where there is calm water. This serves to ensure the safety of the dog if by any bad chance it jumps off the kayak.
This also makes the rescue effort easier. But one major advantage of starting out in still waters is that you will have less work to do as your dog tries to adapt to paddling together with you.
Why not go with a partner or a friend as well?
Your dog may be impressed to see your partner (whom it particularly like, probably) kayaking with you. If you have a friend who the dog is familiar with and has developed some chemistry with, bring him/her along. Having the other party join you with a different kayak may make the dog get overly excited and make attempts to jump off the kayak to join the other friend.
As a result, ensure that both of you are in the same kayak. But keep the kayaking team small if you have to go out with the family.
Now set out for a little adventurous kayaking
You can now embark on the actual kayaking adventure in rough waters of the ocean or river filled with rapids. Keep the dog in its compartment at all times but don’t tie it there. In case it gets rather uncomfortable with kayaking, give it a friendly rub on the back.
You can ease the grip of the PFD if you are convinced that it is the cause of the discomfort. You can slow down the kayak and get offshore if the dog clearly can’t stand the whole experience. But if it likes it, keep rocking!
In conclusion, nothing feels better than taking your dog out for a kayaking adventure and rushing your adrenaline in the restless rapids of a fast river. It is a thrilling experience if it is planned and executed appropriately. Be nice to your dog if it unexpectedly acts crazy during the outing. Also, don’t drink and go kayaking with your dog. It is not great for both of you.
Is your Kayak Dog Friendly
There are so many different types of kayaks you can choose from and not all of them will be ideal for kaying with your pooch, so if you are planning a trip with your dog it is best to make sure you have the best one to suit the dog you have.
If you are looking for a inflatable kayak then we think the Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL 3 Person Inflatable Kayak is the best kayak for you and or dog. Featured in our best inflatable kayaks review here.