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It's Summer! Kayak or SUP With Your Dog!!

Most dogs love water, and kayaking with your dog is a great summer activity for dogs and their owners!

For many summers I taught people how to kayak or SUP (stand up paddle board) with their dogs, so here is a short summary of do's and do not's for those of you who are interested in teaching your dog how to kayak with you!


-Start with your dog and kayak or SUP on the GROUND, not in the water, and you standing nearby!! Start this preferably at home, outside, before you go somewhere novel, where their attention is on you!

-Create value for getting IN/ON the kayak or SUP by placing their favorite treats in/on it. (but only allow them to get out/off with a verbal cue - no jumping in and out on their own)

-Move on to you sitting/standing on the kayak or SUP and then ask your dog to get in/on. Reward, praise, then increase duration gradually, before releasing them with your verbal cue.

-Then move onto slight movement while you and the dog are in/on the kayak or SUP - rock kayak side to side and put small object underneath SUP so you can rock that back and forth also. Hold the dog to help/support them and keep feeding them the entire time until they get used to the movement.

-Increase the movements gradually, making it a game, until they are pretty bomb proof about the motion.

-Add the paddle and start to wave that around, first without kayak/SUP motion, then with it, until the dog is ignoring the paddle.

-Repeat all of these steps above in a few INCHES of water at your water destination. GO SLOWLY - don't rush the process! If your dog needs breaks, give them a break. Make sure you have built value for the 'strange object' aka the kayak or SUP because they now associate that 'strange object' with their favorite treats!!

-Tie a long leash or rope, preferably one that floats, to your dog, so if they do jump into the water you have a way to get them back on board!

-If it is a really sunny day and there is alot of glare from the water surface, put doggles (dog goggles) on your dog to protect their eyes!

-Paddle out and enjoy!


-NEVER let your dog jump out of or off of the kayak/SUP on their own!! This is dangerous for you and for them. They need to learn from the beginning that YOU cue them on/into the kayak/SUP and you cue them off/out of the kayak/SUP.

-NEVER forget to put a doggie life jacket on your dog!! Although dogs are great swimmers, if something happens and they end up in the water, sometimes hypothermia from cold water and distance from the shoreline can be too much for them to make it to land safely.

-NEVER expect them to magically create grippy feet and stick to your kayak or SUP!! Put some kind of adhesive grippy mats on your kayak or SUP to allow them to have traction and security.

-NEVER use a sit inside style of kayak with your dog!! They can get trapped inside the kayak if it inverts in the water. Only use a sit on top or SUP with dogs!!


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