We love our dogs. They are, after all, a man’s best friend. One simply does not leave their best pal behind when going on adventures, where’s the fun in that? Like us, dogs love the great outdoors too.
For the avid paddler, a trip to the lake or river would not be complete without a kayak or canoe. How much more exciting would this be, if our four-legged friends can tag along for a bonding session, filled with some great adrenalin charged water sport.
1.Getting Started: Checking For The Dogs Readiness To Swim
Before we begin kayaking or canoeing with our dogs, it is important to establish whether or not they are comfortable enough in and around water. A good starting point is a swimming pool or pond. This is an easy and accurate way to establish if your pooch is up for it. A sure way to gauge readiness and sense of adventure.
If he or she just can’t wait to jump right in and splash about congratulations, you have a winner. If the dog is a little more timid and cautious, do not despair, not all is lost. It just means you need to do a little more to make them more comfortable and at ease.
All dogs are born with the inherent ability to swim. Unfortunately, not all of them are great fans of aquatic sports. Always remember to coax and encourage gently. Never force or pressure a dog into any activity. Not only is it counterproductive; but it doesn’t paint you in a particularly favorable light in the eyes of your furry companion.
Overcoming a dog’s initial jitters and anxiety, comes down to encouragement, taking it slow, building confidence and teaching them the right way. Kayaking or canoeing is great fun. If you are excited and enthusiastic enough about it, your canine friend will pick up on our energy and will over time become just as keen as you are.
2. Preparing For The Excursion
Now that you and your dog agree about the joys and wonders of Kayaking or canoeing, it is time to get properly kitted and move to step two. Choosing between a Kayak or canoe for your paddling adventure. The weight of your pooch combined with yours will determine the size of the vessel you choose.
Traditional kayaks can easily accommodate smaller dog breeds and are easier to maneuver. Bigger dog breeds can ride in a two-person kayak provided they can remain calm enough. Canoes, on the other hand, have lots more space, can accommodate the larger breeds and still have enough room for equipment and gear.
Getting the right kayak or canoe for you and your dog, has the potential to make or break your adventure. Dreamguide’s list of kayaks is a great resource for up to date, comprehensive, comparative buying guides, and review information.
3. List of equipment
Once you settle on your vessel of choice, you will require some safety gear and equipment, to make your water adventure a success.
- A life vest is an essential piece of equipment for both you and your dog. Regardless of how great you both are at swimming, rivers, lakes or open seas can, and do sometimes, get rough and uncontrollable.
- A supply of fresh drinking water and a drinking bowl for your companion. Remember, the water you are on may not be fit for human or indeed dog consumption; a classic case of water everywhere but not a drop to drink.
- A leash. This will come in handy to control your dog at the shore. He will get understandably excited just before you venture out into the water. Just like you, he can’t wait to get going.
- As always, remember positive reinforcement goes a long way, so be sure to carry some doggy treats to reward good behavior.
- A towel to dry off your dog, after your fun day out; that or you have to contend with drenched car seats.
- A mat to help your pooch better grip the surface or floor of the kayak or canoe. It can get slippery so a non-slip floor or surface covering will go a long way in keeping their paws firmly planted. Helps avoid rocking the kayak or canoe.
- A first aid kit. A safety measure no one ever hopes to use but important to have around all the same.
4. Hitting the Waves
The dog experts advice on allowing your dog to blow off some steam before boarding. A little running around helps to calm them before actual kayaking or canoeing. Ideally, you want your dog making as few movements as possible, while the craft is afloat and in motion.
Additionally, try as much as you can to get your furry friend to go to the toilet. Get those number ones and twos out of the way, doing this will let you both enjoy a fun-filled uninterrupted adventure on a spectacular lake or meandering river.
As you paddle along and take in the fresh air, motions, sights, and sounds, the most important thing is to enjoy yourselves. Pick out a position within the kayak or canoe that is safe and secure for your dog; keep reassuring him throughout the experience.
If you intend to be out in the water for extended periods, it is important to slot in time for shore breaks for your pooch. While riding in a kayak or canoe, they don’t get much exercise, so these breaks help to burn off pent up energy.
Kayaking or canoeing with your best friend is a memorable lifetime experience. Take photos and videos where possible to look back, savor, and laugh at those magical moments.
Here’s to hoping this article has gone some way to inspire you to take your dog with you on your next water excursions on your kayak or canoe. It will no doubt, be a rewarding experience for both human and dog. A shared activity that you will both grow to love. Stay safe and have fun!