What is better than getting out into nature on a crisp and clear day to go kayaking with your furry companion ( in this case your dog)? It sounds fantastic and it can be given that your dog is well trained and you have the right equipment and have considered what kayak would work best for the activity. In this article, we are going to discuss the finer points of kayaking with your dog.
Should You Take Your Dog Kayaking?
Before going on your kayaking trip you should determine if your dog has the temperament, discipline, ability, and comfort to take on the exciting stimulus of kayaking. For example, it may be best to do key things to get them ready for the adventure. Here are some things to consider.
Introducing Your Dog to The Kayak
It is best to familiarize your dog with the kayak you will be using. It is also important to consider using a sit-on-top kayak design that has two sitting areas and space for cargo. To go over the rest of the steps first it's important to give a little more detail on what a sit-on-top kayak is.
What is a Sit-on-Top Kayak?
This particular design for a kayak is good because with most designs of this type it has specially designed spots where you place your legs and can then create more of a stable platform where it is easier to have more rowing power. Some designs have an enclosure for smaller one-person kayaks as well as, open decks for a more relaxed experience and of course, open decks are the most ideal for a dog because then they can sit and have space to move around and can have greater stability than say, a canoe.
Commands & Training
It is good to have a strong foundation for yourself and for you must to have the utmost familiarity with the kayak and have experience in using it well before you take your dog with you. It is important to have commands that match your dog's ability, do not have your dog doing stuff that you and the dog are uncomfortable with, and get your dog familiar with the kayak out of the water.
Teach your dog commands such as:
- "Go to Your Space": This will work as a way to get your dog into the place where they should be for the majority of the trip. And getting them to stay calm.
- "Up & Get In": These commands should be trained as you are permitting them to enter the boat at your discretion.
- "Leave It": This should be taught as a way to get the dog to focus on what you want them to focus on. For example, if your dog sees a fish in the water and you want them to be reminded that they should not be playing.
Another way to train your dog is to get them to either enter the boat before or after you. If you train your dog to enter after you- which would be better for a dog that loves the water, while having a dog that is not as comfortable in the water, in this case, they should be trained to get into the boat before you.
Practice Swimming with Your Dog
This should be a focus with younger dogs if they are new to watersports, and it's a great idea to get your dog a lifejacket no matter how comfortable they are in the water. However, you should not force your dog to swim if they are not comfortable doing it. If you want to get your dog trained to swim it is important to use positive reinforcement and once you get the dog to follow commands in the water praise the dog for doing so.
It is also important to be prepared in other ways such as having ways to care for the dog that you may not be aware of, which would mean protecting your dog's feet from certain dangers. It is also having enough water and food for your dog. If you plan to kayak with a group and there will be other dogs make sure that they meet before going on a trip.
There is a great benefit to having your dog be a part of your kayaking activities and hopefully, you can get your dog to do this hobby with you and enjoy it with you. Of course, every dog is different and will have different comfort levels. But, it is so important to be patient with your dog when they are nervous and get them into a disciplined state when on the water.