First things first, gear up! Get a lifejacket for your dog. This is a new experience for your dog and you never know how they may react, or react to the environment once out on the water. If they jump out from excitement, fear or whatever the reasoning behind it, you don’t want them to panic and a lifejacket will keep them afloat and help ease that stress.
What to pack: An idea is to pack a dry bag. Leash, collar/harness with ID tags, food/treats, water, first aid kit, and I always like include a waterproof camera.
*Do not leash your dog to the kayak or paddle board. You don’t want your dog attached if the kayak were to tip over or the dog jump off and get wrapped on equipment. If you are concerned about your dog jumping off and swimming away, you could always attach the opposite end of the leash to your waist.
All aboard! Make sure the kayak is stable when putting or asking your dog to jump in. Stability will be key to ensuring this be a positive experience. Have treats handy to aid in creating the positive adventure. Practice some in’s, out’s, sit and stays on land or dock a few times before the first attempt onto the water.
Things to look out for: While out on the water there are a variety of things you may encounter, such as wildlife, birds flying overhead, other kayakers, and boats. These are all things that can make your dog excited and even want to go after. Make sure your dog has a command it knows to not to go after these things. For us, our command is “leave it”. You can even use commands such as “look”, “eyes”, “focus” where the dog redirects their attention to you.
Our first experience with kayaking went very well. The dogs whined a bit wanting to be with each other. I don’t think they understood why the four of us weren’t in one kayak. During the afternoon they would jump out and swim a few times and swim from one kayak to the other.
Cali’s Lifejacket is the Ruffwear K9 Float Coat
Very pleased with this lifejacket. Fits Cali very well. She is wearing a size Small. A few times she jumped out of the kayak to swim and the lifejacket didn’t hinder her swimming in anyway. The top handle was great for lifting her back into the kayak.
In Ruffwear style, there is reflective areas on the lifejacket and a plastic d ring under the top handle to attach a leash, or ID tags.
Kona is wearing a Ezydog Lifejacket
This Lifejacket fit great as well. It’s a longer fit through the back. Has a top handle. Two straps underneath, as well as, zip pockets.