Every dog must have its day, and for many dogs, that day includes quality time spent playing outside with their favorite human companions. Throw in a spectacular mountain lake or a meandering river, and you’ve got yourself an adventure.
It’s true that not all dogs are comfortable around water, and many more might balk at the idea of canoeing or kayaking, but plenty of adventurous dogs can be convinced to give it a shot. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of canoeing and kayaking with dogs.
Is it the ultimate adventure or a disaster waiting to happen? Only one way to find out.
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Can All Dogs Swim? Best Dog Breeds for Getting out on the Water
Whether or not your dog will get along with boats and water depends on all kinds of factors, including age, temperament, breed, and the environment they’ve been raised in.
Just because your dog is a certain breed does not necessarily mean that they will or won’t take to the water, but I’d be lying if I said that a dog’s breed didn’t play a role.
While all dogs instinctively know how to swim, these breeds are said to be lovers of water and the best swimmers.
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- English Setters
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Portuguese Water Dogs
- Brittany Spaniels
- Australian Shepherds
- Irish Water Spaniels
- Irish Setters
Dogs with heavy chests like bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and basset hounds don’t have body shapes designed for swimming, and many other breeds just don’t take to the water readily. For the record, we’ve raised a number of Labradors over the years and several of them did not enjoy the water.
We have an older Labrador that hates swimming and another that we can’t keep out of the water. Both dogs enjoy canoeing with us on the weekends. We’ve also seen boxers, dachshunds, and pugs that love to swim, although some are more awkward than others.
When it comes to canoeing and kayaking with dogs, your dog’s breed is just one factor in the equation.
Before You Begin Kayaking or Canoeing With Your Dog
There’s a process here, and before you even think about paddling with your dog, you should spend some time introducing him or her to the exciting world of lakes and rivers. You’ll learn pretty quickly whether or not your dog takes to the water.
Some dogs will jump right in, while others will be perfectly content to watch from the shore. Either of these scenarios is fine. What you don’t want is a dog that is anxious or fearful.
If your dog is anxious around the water, you will have to take the next steps very slowly. Your end goal before putting your dog in a boat will be to help him enjoy being near the water, on the water, and in the water.
Helping Your Dog Fall in Love with Swimming
The method you use to introduce your dog to lakes and rivers will depend on your dog’s comfort level. Here are a few tips to make the process go smoothly.
- Borrow some water-loving dog friends that will show your dog the ropes. Their enthusiasm may just be contagious and help your dog to see that water play can be fun.
- Bring your dog to shallow lakes and ponds before tackling streams and rivers. Walk along the shore. Have a picnic. Take off your shoes and wade in the shallows.
- Bring along your dog’s favorite ball, toy, or disc and toss it a few feet into the water.If your dog is a natural fetcher, he probably won’t hestitate. Be prepared to fetch it yourself if your dog can’t be convinced to retrieve it.
- Go swimming! Seeing you and your family frolicking in the water may be all the incentive your dog needs to get his toes wet.
- Do not push, pull, or throw your dog in the water. This will not help, and it may make your dog even more fearful of the water.
Canoe vs Kayak for Paddling with Dogs
Whether you choose to paddle with your dog in a canoe or a kayak will probably be determined by the paddling you most enjoy, the size of your dog, and who you go out on the water with. If you are new to the sport, we recommend renting a kayak and a canoe to see what you like best before making a purchase.
Canoeing with Dogs
We have canoed and kayaked with our dogs extensively. When my husband and I paddle together, we almost always choose to take our canoe. It’s a whitewater canoe, and we use it to paddle on slow-moving rivers (probably up to Class II), ponds, and lakes.
Here’s why we choose to canoe with our dogs most of the time:
- My husband and I almost always get out on the water together. And we have a wonderful two-person canoe.
- We have two 60+ pound Labradors. They can both sit comfortably in the middle of the canoe.
- We often have a lot of gear. A cooler. Swimsuits and towels. Books. A guitar. Camera equipment. Yeah, we like to make a leisurely day of our time on the water.
Canoes are wide open and dogs can ride in the middle or on either end, plus you have extra spacefor your gear. If you do a lot of paddling with a partner, then a canoe is an obvious choice. Solo canoes would be fun too, but I don’t have any experience with them.
Kayaking with Dogs
Kayaks, on the other hand, are great for quick outings. They are versatile and easy to maneuver. Here are some reasons why kayaking with your dog may make more sense.
- A kayak is easy for one person to handle.
- Kayaks are great form small and medium dogs.
- Sit-on-top kayaks are stable, easy to for your dog to get onto, and wide enough for large dogs.
I’ve spent many an afternoon kayaking with an 80 pound Labrador in my lap — lucky for me, he was super mellow and curled right up between my legs. I wouldn’t do it for hours on end, but it wasn’t too bad.
Where Does a Dog Sit on a Kayak?
The short answer is wherever it is most comfortable for you and your dog, but honestly, most dogs that I see riding around in kayaks sit just in front of the paddler. This is how we do it and it works well, even with larger dogs.
Best Kayaks for Dogs
When deciding on the best kayak for your and your dog, there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration.
Sit-on-Top vs Sit-Inside Kayaks for Dogs
There are lots of advantages to using a sit-on-top kayak when paddling with a dog. Sit-on-tops are easy for your dog to get on and off. They are wider than sit-inside kayaks, which means they will be more stable if your dog starts moving around, and they provide your dog with more room.
Sit-on-top kayaks have drain bungs so if your dog hops on dripping half the lake, you can rest assured that the water will easily go back where it belongs. The other nice thing is that if you have a dog like our Malinda who likes to jump out of the boat, it’s easy to lift them back in (tip: get a life jacket with a sturdy handle).
Sit-inside kayaks are great for smaller dogs, dogs who are nervous, or dogs who benefit from the added security of your closeness. My only caution would make sure that if you tip or have to exit the boat, that you and your dog can safely do so.
A sit-on-top works really well for our older dog, but our younger dog can not resist jumping in the water from a sit-on-top. We’ve got some training to do!
A two-person kayak is another option for paddling with dogs — then you have a place for yourself and a separate spot for your dog. Now if we could only teach them how to paddle the boat, we’d be all set.
Special Gear for Canoeing and Kayaking with Dogs
Before you head out in a kayak or canoe with your dog, be sure to pack some essentials to keep you and your dog happy, healthy, and comfortable. Here’s what to pack for an afternoon on the water.
- Life jackets for you and your dog: It doesn’t matter how well your dog can swim — unless you are paddling on a small pond right near the shore, you should outfit your dog with a proper life jacket. Yes, they’re a life-saving tool, but they also help reluctant dog swimmers feel more confident. The life jacket should fit nice and snug and should also have a handle on top so you can grab your pup if he goes overboard. We love the Ruffwear Float Coat for dogsbecause it is durable, dries fast, and comes in bright colors so our pup is easy to spot in the water. It’s 100% worth the expense as ours has lasted for 6 years with heavy use so far.
- A dry bag. Important for all paddlers, but especially important when canoeing and kayaking with dogs. Even if you keep the boat upright like a champ, you don’t want a wet dog shaking all over your towels and snacks. Keep your gear in a dry bag and tie it down in case you do capsize.
Treats. We use treats as rewards with our dogs when we are working on new and old skills, even out on the water. Training with high-value treats works especially well with Labradors or other food-motivated pups.
Bones or chew toys. We love surprising our dog with a special bone during long paddles. It buys us extra paddling time and promotes serious tail wagging.
- An old towel. A towel makes a great make-shift bed in the canoe, and you’ll need it to towel off your dog before putting him in the car.
- A non-skid mat. We have a senior dog and one with elbow dysplasia, and keeping them safe when they jump in and out of the canoe is paramount. We have an non-skid mat that goes in the bottom of the canoe to keep the pups from sliding around.
A leash. Unless your dog is perfectly trained to respond to your voice commands, you’ll need a leash, at least for the on-land portion of your trip. While we use a leather leash for most purposes, we like biothane leashes for paddling because they are waterproof and don’t smell when they get wet.
- First aid kit. In addition to a standard human first-aid kit, you should also carry waterproof Vet Wrap tape made especially for dogs, an allergy medication like Benadryl for bites and stings, and a vet-prescribed pain killer like Rimadyl for emergencies.
Start on Dry Land: Teaching Your Dog How to Ride in a Canoe or Kayak
If your dog is new to paddling, spend a bit of time introducing him to your boat on dry land. Use treats to teach him to hop in and out, and then go over some basic obedience commands inside the boat. When your dog can reliably sit, stay, and lie down in your kayak or canoe, you’ll be ready for your maiden voyage. If your dog is leery of the watercraft on land, try sweetening the pot by feeding him his meals, bones, or special treats in the boat.
Launching a Canoe or Kayak with Your Dog
By now your dog is used to the water and used to your boat. It’s time to put it all together to embark on a paddling adventure. Bring a dog-loving friend and make sure your pup is wearing his lifejacket before you head out.
Get your boat and gear into the water and floating, ideally a few inches from shore. Ask your dog to load into the boat and sit. This is definitely where training comes in! Use treats and encourage meant and ask your dog to stay while you launch your boat and hop in.
If you are canoeing with a human partner, it’s a bit easier, as one person can sit in the canoe with the dog while the other person pushes off and hops in.
Keeping Your Dog Safe in a Kayak or Canoe
Until your dog is a pro at riding in your canoe or kayak, it’s a good idea to paddle with another human being. Once you’re out on the water, most dogs will settle right into their role as captain and watchdog. If your dog shows signs of fear or severe anxiety that last more than a few minutes, return to dry land and continue practicing loading and unloading.
Here are a few more tips for keeping you and your dog safe on the water:
- Positive reinforcement works. As you get into a rhythm, be sure to reward your dog for calm behavior, and don’t forget to stay calm yourself — showing sudden excitement might encourage your dog to pace, bark, or look for a way to exit the boat.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Your dog won’t like paddling in rough seas and rain any more than you will, at least at the beginning.
- Don’t leash your dog in the boat. This could be dangerous if you capsize, and your dog has to swim to shore.
- If your dog jumps out of the boat… Don’t get mad. It happens. Simply paddle to the nearest shore and collect your pup. Basic training comes in really handy here.
Read Next: The Complete Guide to Camping with Dogs
More Tips for Dog-Friendly Kayaking and Canoeing
In all honesty, there are as many ways to canoe and kayak with dogs as there are breeds of dogs, and my advice will only get you so far. You’re going to find a system that works for you and your pup, or your dog is going to end up staying home.
Here are a last tips to make things easier for you and your dog as you navigate the transition from land to water.
- Make frequent stops. You may be getting a nice upper-body workout in your kayak or canoe, but your dog won’t get much exercise when you’re paddling. Be sure to give him some shore time every hour or so, and he’ll learn to love those paddling excursions as much as you do.
- Start with shallow, placid water. At least until your dog is a regular wave runner.
- Keep a bowl and fresh water on hand. This is especially important if you’re paddling in salt water or if you have a small dog who can’t reach over the side of your boat for a drink.
- Keep your craft balanced. If you want to put your dog in the widest center section of a canoe, pack some gear to one side so your dog is forced to sit on the other side. This can prevent your dog from going back and forth and rocking the boat.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that almost every outdoor activity is more fun with a canine companion.
Dogs love adventure, they rarely complain, and most importantly — they just want to be by your side. Take the time to teach your dog to swim, float, and ride the waves, and you’ll be rewarded with a partner who will enthusiastically share in all of your crazy adventures.
Do you canoe or kayak with your dog? Please share your tips, questions, and comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
More adventures with dogs:
- The Complete Guide to Road Tripping with Dogs
- Skiing and Snowshoeing with Dogs
- Summer Adventures to Take with Dogs
- The Best Gifts for Adventurous Dogs
Watch the paddling with dogs web story!
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Tara is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers and Vermont Explored, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone.
Always have clean water and water bowl in your kayak or canoe. Never leash them to the kayak, it's best for the dog to have freedom to move and it's much safer for them if something happens. When fishing be extra mindful of what you and your dog are doing, especially when landing a fish.
- Get a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for Your Dog. Yes, they make them for dogs. ...
- Get Familiar With the Kayak. Have Fido sit in the kayak while on the dock and get familiar with it. ...
- Start Out in Flat Water. ...
- Take a Friend. ...
- Stick Together.
Canoes are wide open and dogs can ride in the middle or on either end, plus you have extra space for your gear. If you do a lot of paddling with a partner, then a canoe is an obvious choice. Solo canoes would be fun too, but I don't have any experience with them.
Teach Your Dog To Love Your Canoe Or Kayak - YouTube
Make sure your dog knows and obeys the basic commands of sit, stay, come, lay down and go to bed. These commands will help calm and control your dog in the canoe. Be sure to bring her favourite treats as a reward for good behaviour.
Put the boat on dry land somewhere, like the shore, or just your yard. Have your dog sit with you on the boat so that they can get used to it, without the added complication of water. Try hiding treats in the kayak for your dog to find.
Teach your dog to get in the kayak while on dry land. Hold the kayak still so it doesn't rock, or better yet, prop it up so it does not tip over. Give a command for 'get in' the kayak, and call your dog into the kayak with you sitting in the kayak. Give your dog a treat when he jumps into the kayak.
Any dog that rides happily in a car is a good candidate for paddling. Our dogs love the peaceful movement of the canoe and kayak, the opportunity to see wildlife, exploring islands and beaches, camping out, and splashing around to cool off.
The answer is YES. Most inflatable kayaks are built tough… really tough. They can handle dogs paws and claws with no worries.
So, Is A Kayak or Canoe Safer? A canoe is less likely to capsize than a kayak, so it may be safer to use if you're alone. Canoes are also safer for lake-based camping trips in the north as they can hold more gear to keep you warm in early spring or late fall.
You are welcome to float and enjoy the river with your dog. Dogs make great boat buddies, but there are some things to take into consideration before you get on the water. Ticks, chiggers, and snakes live in the park.
Canoeing and kayaking with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it's important to be prepared for the challenges ahead. In this guide, we'll
When the dog likes the water, make him comfortable in the kayak long before launching.. While there’s a slow river you could go through it if you consider how close the water is to the shore, the more distraction your dog will have.. If you stay away from fishing boats it will decrease the chances that the dog jumps and swims.. If you have dogs who are new to paddling, try introducing them into the water.. When you are kayaking with your dog, remember to bring all the necessary safety equipment, such as life jackets for both yourself and your canine companion.. On the other hand, you could make your dog enjoy a little water, if he likes it.. What should one bring with them for a boating trip this weekend?. Take a kayak down the shore to practice the move from boat to kayak.. These commanding keys are fairly basic, but you have to ensure your puppy has learned to safely enter and leave the water when it arrives.. “Get in,” “Come on in,” and “Let’s go kayaking.”. You are also required to make sure you have the proper pet equipment!
From the best breeds to the best strategies ...
“Some of the larger dog breeds are what we think of as ‘water’ dogs, like Labrador retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Portuguese water dogs, border collies, and golden retrievers,” says Dr.. Fiddler.. “They’re breeds that often love being in and around water, but unless they are super chill and don’t move around, they can be dangerous in a kayak.”. Fiddler paddles with these two pooches.. Eventually with the other paddlers stabilizing the kayak, we were able to them back in, but they were pretty cold and scared by the end of it.. “Even some dogs we would expect to enjoy the water hate it,” says Hanson.. Don Hanson and his paddling pooch.. “Like people, some dogs love water and some are scared of it,” says Dr.. Fiddler.. Fiddler.. He also suggests practicing for problems.. “Practice makes perfect,” he says.. Whereas practice matters more than breed choice, Dr.. “I would not recommend giant water-loving breeds, such as the Newfoundland, as their zeal for water could make for unsafe boating,” said Dr. Shapero.. And don’t let your zeal for tomfoolery turn a fun day upside down.
Dogs love water as much as we do. This guide shows how to go kayaking with dogs, what you need to do, and which is the best type of kayak for your furry friend
Spending some time like this will make sure they are used to the feeling of the kayak on water.. Even if your dog enjoys the water, and is okay with being in the kayak, they may not be suitable if they don’t understand some basic commands.. If you have an older dog who won’t sit, stay or come to you on your command, then maybe they are not ready or suitable to go on your kayak.. One thing to note as you spend time in the shallower waters.. If they do swim around for a while, their PFD will have a grab handle on the back so you can pull your dog to the boat once they are finished, or let them swim to shore.. Some owners may think that fastening their dog to the kayak will prevent the dog from jumping overboard, but this is not a good idea.
Today we're talking about how to kayak with your dog - from preparation, training, and gear you'll need to ensure smooth waters for your first trip!
Kayaking with your dog can be intimidating.. From preparing your dog beforehand to what to do if your dog falls in, we’ll prepare you for any scenario.. Before you even think about setting out on the water, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into making sure your dog is ready to kayak.. Have your dog sit in the kayak with you on the shore or in your backyard before putting it in the water.. Even if you’re an experienced kayaker, kayaking with a dog can be a challenge.. The first time you take your dog out in your kayak can be a big deal, for both you and the dog!. Because you might not know how your dog will react to being in your kayak on the water, it’s best to start small.. Not all dogs will like kayaking at first.. The more you familiarize your dog with your kayak and the water, the better your chances of him loving it are.. Your dog might not take to kayaking right away.
Kayaking is gaining popularity with dog owners. For the solitary day-tripper, a kayak is a great excuse to get out on the water with your dog.
But if you want a watercraft that’s dog-friendly, choose from Recreational Kayaks or Sit-On-Top Kayaks.. When you’re ready head out for a short paddle, bring those treats with you.. If your dog needs to be on a leash to be in the boat, your dog isn’t ready to be out on the water.. If we flip, the leashes stay in their pockets and aren’t a hazard to anyone.. Ensure your dog has plenty to drink, and don’t encourage leaning over the boat to slurp up some water.. If you aren’t sure of your dog’s swimming ability, find out before you paddle out into the water!. These are great for dogs that are the least comfortable swimming back unaided.
hings you should know before bringing your dog out on the sea. Here you can find a detailed guide with tips and techniques for kayaking with dogs.
A little bit of knowledge may set you up for a long time of fun with your dog, from educating your dog to appreciate being around water to understanding the best kayaks for dogs .. Bring your dog along to try the boats because certain configurations are better for canoeing & kayaking with dogs than others.. Kayaking Equipment Required for Your Dog: Kayaking with dogs needs a bit more equipment than kayaking solo.. Even if the dog is well-behaved, having him leashed and near to you can help keep him safe from other dogs.. The type of paddling you prefer, the size of the dog, and who you go out on the water with will most likely influence whether you paddle with the dog in a canoe or a kayak.. Sit-inside kayaks are ideal for little dogs, timid dogs, or dogs that benefit from the extra security of being near to you.. Another alternative for kayaking with dogs is a two-person kayak, which provides you with a space for yourself & a room for your dog.. You don’t have to throw the dog overboard; simply start in chest-deep water with your kayak turned upside down, bring the dog with you – and have them swim over to you, & go through the maneuvers.. Consider if the dog has the personality to love kayaking; a hyperactive or nervous dog may struggle, but a calmer dog that appreciates spending time with you will most likely enjoy it!
Looking for useful tips for kayaking with your dog? Here, we cover training drills, FAQs, and safety tips for when paddling with your dog.
Taking a dog kayaking is a fantastic experience, not only for you but for your dog too.. In this article, I want to show you some top tips for taking your dogs with you and some training drills your dogs must know.. If you’re going out in open water with your dogs, you need to know they’re going to be safe, even if your dog knows how to swim.. Most dog PFDs have a handle at the top, making it easier to pick your dog up and put them back on your kayak.. Make sure you choose the correct lifejacket for your dog; you need to make sure it’s the right size and can handle your dog’s weight.. Before you think about taking your dog out in the kayak, you need to make sure your dog will be able to handle it.. Although I’ve given you tips for getting your dog ready for the kayak life, there are a few things you need to get nailed down before letting your dog on the water.. Leave It Teaching your dog to leave things will help if you encounter wildlife that your dog becomes fixated on.. Lay Down If you’re paddling rapids, you need your dog to lay down ( how to train your dog to lay down ) somewhere safe on the deck.. Never tie your dog to the boat; your dog may drown if the boat overturns Trim your dog’s nails; it helps them keep their balance Bring a bowl of freshwater Make sure your dog is wearing its lifejacket even if your dog loves swimming. – Get your dog before you do anything; they will be panicking– Swim back to the boat with your dog, make sure you remain calm to ease their nerves– Flip the boat over if you need to and put the paddle in the kayak– Help your dog up onto the kayak– Get in the kayak yourself.. It’s all about getting your dog comfortable with being on the water and with the kayak.. Once the dog is comfortable, it’s all comes down to correct “sit” training with your dog, which is probably already established.
How to Kayak with a Dog – 8 Tips to Take Your Pooch Canoeing, Kayaking | Outdoor Tools Review and Traveling Tips ›
Whether it is pure randomness or deliberate action, our dog's initiation to kayaking needs a time of molding both to this new environment. This is…
Beyond the fact that several dogs and bitches jump into the water without any fear from the first moment, the first contact with water is never the same for all dogs.. Some quick tips for your dog to enjoy kayaking are Hide little treats inside the kayak so that he can find them.. Servable orders for kayaking with a dog The orders we will offer our dog are not the same as the common ones, but inside the water, we must be sure that he follows our orders just like outside the kayak.. Entering and leaving the kayak from a shore or beach Make your kayak half in and half out of the water, then tell your dog to get in.. Time to go kayaking Dogs have not disconnected as much as man from nature, which is why they will surely be the ones who will enjoy kayaking the most.. What to do if your dog jumps out of the kayak?. This kind of thing can happen to some, so having a dog life jacket can be the key to an optimal outcome of the activity since it helps a lot to get the dog out of the water and into the kayak.. If your dog doesn’t have a life jacket, store the paddle so that it doesn’t fall into the water and then position your dog to parallel to the kayak.. Accessories to carry out kayaking with your dog In most cases, if we are only going to paddle for short times, there is no need to use a vast amount of compliments for the kayak and our dog.. Give the command to “get in” the kayak and call your dog to get in the kayak with you sitting on it.. Some dog kayaks are not the right ones, so if you are trying to find an upgrade or purchase your first kayak, you will want to find one that fits both of you comfortably.. Finding the most outstanding dog kayak will depend on your dog’s size, budget, and whether you are planning to take someone else with you.
Thinking of going kayaking with your dog? You must read this useful tips to keep your pooch safety at all times when it comes to kayaking.
In today’s guide to kayaking post, we’ll cover the most practical tips to help you with your dog on its first kayaking adventure!. Kayaking is best for 30 to 50-pound dogs.. For heavier dogs, you need to factor in the weight capacity of the kayak a bit more, so make sure to do some research to find the type of kayak you’ll need.. You may also want to train your dog the command “get in your spot.” You can have a beach towel or traction pad that is the designated spot for your dog inside of the kayak.. You got to have patience and try not to go kayak fishing if it is your dog’s first time kayaking.. That is why dog life jackets can come in handy in case of the dog jump out of the kayak.. Helpful Ideas A dog sit traction pad is considered to be a top kayak gear for your dog.
As long as you know how to kayak with a dog properly, both of you will enjoy the ride.
What about your dog?. As long as you know how to kayak with a dog properly, both of you will enjoy the ride.. So, if you’re thinking about giving this idea a go, today, we’re going to talk about everything you need to know about how to kayak with a dog.. Kayaking with a dog can be fun and exciting, as long as you know what you’re doing.. What’s more, a 150-pound dog will make paddling and navigating the kayak more difficult.. Also, it’s a good idea to ask your vet to check out your dog so that you can be certain that Lucky is in top condition to go kayaking with you.. A sick dog in a kayak is not something you’d want.. Not all kayaks would be suitable for a ride with your dog, so you might have to buy a new kayak or upgrade your current one.. In case something interesting pops out of the water you have to be able to contain your dog’s excitement and prevent Lucky from jumping off the boat.. Once you’re confident that your dog won’t hesitate to obey your commands, it’s time to introduce Lucky to the kayak.. Even the most obedient dog won’t jump in the kayak when it’s in the water.. leap in and out of the vessel Encourage your dog to hop into the kayak by tempting him with a treat.. As you can see, kayaking with your dog is not that complicated.