Developing your Furry Paddle Buddy

Dakota-in-kilroy-from-the-side
A growing interest in the world of paddling today is bringing along that four legged family member. Kayaking has always been very therapeutic, as has the love and companionship of that special pup, but putting them together brings the experience to a whole other level. However this peaceful bliss, can be a horrible process if not completed correctly. There is nothing relaxing about a scared, trembling dog circling around the boat, jumping in and out of the water, and then better yet, wet dog on your lap. The correct route to success is a patient one. Dogs do not understand the concept of balance and floating on the water, so taking the time to make sure they understand they are safe, is very important. This is best done on land, with the kayak braced, and allowing your pup to walk around and on the boat, making sure they know they are safe. This process takes a while for them to feel completely comfortable and not afraid of the boat, however it is an essential first step in the process.
Dakota-on-Coosa-HD-on-land
After your pup has become comfortable with the boat itself, it is time to get in the boat with them, still on land, and making the boat wiggle again and again, allow the pup to gain its balance and become used to the movements of the boat. This is a annoy step in the process, your pup will jump off the boat, a lot, and there will be a lot of moving around and circling the boat. Please get yourself used to the sound of your pup whimpering and/or crying. Make sure you are using encouraging words and a calm voice throughout this process. It is also important during this phase to figure out the best position for your riding buddy while on the water, is there enough room in front of you for the pup to sit or lay down without getting in the way of your paddle stroke? What about behind your seat? Every kayak and dog is different, finding the perfect layout for the boat before hitting the water is very important to make sure the boy and yourself, are comfortable. Personally in my Jackson Kilroy, there is a perfect amount of room in front for my favorite paddling buddy.
Dakota-in-front-of-Kilroy
When it becomes clear that your pup is comfortable on the boat, it is time to hit the water. If these steps are followed correctly, you will have the perfect riding companion for your kayak. Remember, it is important to have patience during this process and understand that your pup does not understand what is really going on; they just feel the ground moving underneath them. I hope this helps you in your process of getting you pup ready for the water, it is important to do these steps, and not rush them, or else your pup will associate your kayak with a scary experience.

Dakota-in-the-Kilroy-standing-in-front
**Special note** Your pup doesn’t understand the premise of going to the bathroom in the water, so if you believe they went to the bathroom while jumping overboard, it did not happen… please make sure you go to shore at least every few hours so your pup isn’t uncomfortable.

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