Understand Your Dog’s Personality
Obviously, you know your dog better than anyone. However, you may be overly optimistic thinking they can handle the water. Know your dog’s temperament and understand how they will most likely react to getting into/on a small object and into water. If you have a large dog (between 30-50 pounds) and they get overly excited on the water, there’s a chance they can flip the kayak/SUP. You also know if your dog is one to get excited or overwhelmed by water, the weather, or just distractions, such as birds, other people, etc. Make the right choice based on your dog’s personality. Only take out your pup if you trust they can be calm and behave themselves.
Do Some Training
Having a well trained dog will make this process a whole lot easier and way more fun. One important command to teach is one that will get them onto the board/kayak. Teach them that “up” or “up we go” means it is ok to get onto the boat. Be sure you also spend time teaching them how to get off the board/kayak. These commands need to be almost mastered if you want to have a calm and successful trip. Do this by actually placing your kayak or SUP near your dog and using it to teach the commands.
Gear is important for the safety of your dog on the water. If you’re going to a specific establishment that allows dogs on their boards/boats, call ahead and check to see if they have life jackets. Make sure you bring one with you if they don’t have one. If you’re going to be hiking or doing some more adventuring once you reach your destination, bring a balm to treat sore paws. Fresh water and a portable bowl/water bottle are also very important to keeping your dog hydrated.
You will also want to get a textured tape to put on your SUP or kayak to keep your dog from sliding around. Place this tape just in the area where your dog will be positioned for your ride. Another good thing to keep in mind is that the bottom of your kayak could be aluminum. This gets very hot in the sun and could hurt their paws.
Before you head out to the water for this new experience, make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom and taken care of their business. When you’re out on the water and your dog has to go, you don’t have many options. If you can’t get your dog to go before you leave, be sure to bring a container with you so you can easily dispose it later. You can also burry it in the ground.
Always be safe when you are out on the water and keep a watchful eye on your dog. Have fun and enjoy exploring new waters with your favorite pup!