Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Kayak With Your Dog

Rocco and I at the end of our trip, just a little waterlogged!
This past weekend Rocco and I went kayaking and it was the first time for both of us.

We met up with our pal Raychel and her pup Poppy, both who are seasoned kayakers. But as it turns out, even experienced kayakers can run into a bit of trouble. So it's important to know what to do if you do face the unexpected or capsize your kayak.

We met at Appalachian Outfitters near Dahlonega, Ga, where we rented a pair of sit-on-top kayaks. I was told these are the easiest to manage for beginner kayakers. There's more room for your dog and they are less "tippy" too.

Raychel and Poppy at the start of our trip… and still dry!
I've canoed before, which also helped a lot. I found paddling and steering (and staying out of trouble) very similar to canoeing.

It had rained A LOT the night before, so even though we were doing an easy 6-mile trip down the Chestatee, the water was high and it was running faster than usual.

That meant, paying extra special attention when we got to two areas where there were Class 1 rapids. We passed through those areas easily, but did take on quite a bit of water.

What we didn't expect was a big tree that had fallen across the entire river.  When we finished our trip, we learned that the tree must have fallen the night before. Even the folks at the outfitters didn't know about it.

Here's the tree we had to pass under
I passed through the one area where there seemed to be the most room (just to the right of center). I had to duck and push away branches, but Rocco and I both made it through without a scratch. Unfortunately, Raychel had a little fight with a larger part of the tree and her kayak tipped over. She and Poppy recovered quickly and they were fine, but Raychel lost her phone (with lots of great photos) in the process.

Even in spite of the rough waters and mishap, we had a great time and Rocco seemed to love riding on the front of the kayak.

Rocco got a great workout just balancing on the front of the kayak
He jumped off the side of the kayak pretty early in the trip and I let him swim alongside the boat for just a few minutes. He was wearing a lifejacket with a handle on it, so it was easy to keep him close by and safe.

After Rocco's little swim!
Here are a few more tips and things I learned from our kayak outing:
  1. Make sure your pup has a good life vest that fits. Our Kyjen dog life vest has a handle on top which made it really easy for me to grab hold of Rocco when he decided to take a swim off the side of the kayak.
  2. Attach a leash to your dog's life vest so he can't get too far away from you. I kept the end of the leash either on my wrist or around my foot.
  3. Bring fresh drinking water for both you and your pup and a collapsible travel bowl comes in handy too.
  4. Keep your phone in a waterproof phone holder like the FRIEQ Waterproof Case. It allows you to take photos while the phone is safe and dry inside its case.
  5. Bring a little snack for both you and your pup and keep it in a dry sack. You can count on getting pretty wet, so pack towels (you can keep these in the car) and a dry change of clothing so you'll be comfortable on the ride home.
  6. After you're done with your adventure, rinse off your pup with some fresh water. We brought a one gallon container of fresh water for each pup. 
  7. And don't forget the sunscreen for both you and your pup, especially if your dog has very short hair or is hairless (even in spots). Be sure to make sure you have sunscreen that is safe for dogs.
Here we are on the slower part of the river!



Have you kayaked with your dog? And if you have more tips, please share in the comments below!

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28 comments:

  1. OMD that was an adventure and we can see Rocco enjoyed himself immensely. What fun. Pity about your friend's phone. That sucks losing all those pix. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Moly

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  2. That is awesome! We want to try paddleboarding, but kayaking would be super fun too! Love that wet dog photo!

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    1. It WAS fun! We'd definitely go again. I think Rocco would like it even more on a sunny, warmer day. It was actually a bit chilly!

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  3. What a great trip with awesome pictures and video. My friend is kayaking now and a puppy she got from me is over weight so she is swimming next to the kayak and getting some much needed exercise.

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    1. I think Rocco would have liked to swim even more… maybe next time when I know more of what to expect!

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  4. That looks like fun. I am afraid brown dawgs would take up the entire space...lol. Were there a lot of bugs?

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    1. No, surprisingly not buggy at all! I didn't see any other kayakers with dogs -- large or small -- but it was an overcast day and there wasn't much boat traffic.

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  5. What a great trip! I definitely like the recommendation for a waterproof cell phone case, great advice. Unfortunately, Veruca and Ava don't like being in boats so there aren't any boating adventures going on at our house.

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    1. I took all those photos, above, while my iPhone was inside the case. Some came out a little foggy, but not too bad overall. I wore mine on a cord like a necklace or you could tie it to the boat.

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  6. I would never ever do that! Water, WOO! Ku http://haikubyku.com

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  7. If only we were much smaller dogs! BOL! That looks like so much fun!!! Great tips, thanks for sharing!

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  8. That looks like so much fun! I've seen people kayak with giant breeds and I want to give it a try sometime!

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  9. My pawents have went canoeing a lot and they really enjoyed it. Jenny Sue has went but I haven't gotten to go. I know many love Kayaking more because it gives them more control of their ride. Rocco sure looked like he had a great time.
    Happy Friday!

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    1. I think I liked it better than canoeing, and since you're closer to the water it makes it easier for your dog to get in and out of the boat. Happy Friday to you!

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  10. I love kayaking with Honey. But the sit-on-top sure looks easier to get in and out of than my Pungo.

    I put a damp towel on the bottom of the cockpit. It keeps Honey from sliding around when things get wet.

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    1. The towel is a great idea! I liked the sit-on-top a lot, but that's the only one I've tried.

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  11. What fun - Rocco looks so little when he's wet. I don't think the handle would do me any good with Jack - I sure wouldn't be able to lift him!

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    1. Good point! The handle does give you something to grab onto, and then you can help guide them back into the boat with a little boost! Rocco is little under all the fluff!

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  12. That's such a great idea, I never considered it. We've been on a few friends' bigger boats but kayaking would be so much more convenient considering there's lot of rental places around.

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  13. I've never taken Mr. N on a boat but I think he would like it. He likes peering down at water, he just doesn't like getting wet.

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  14. That looks like a great adventure!

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  15. What a great adventure! For a little while, I thought about taking Barley on a kayaking adventure, but I am terrible at rowing (I always end up going in circles) and she's so enthusiastic (and spastic) that we'd both end up in the water--and since she hates getting wet, that would be an unpleasant rest of the outing. I'm glad that Rocco was such a fun kayaking buddy!

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  16. I've been kayaking with Chester and Gretel. Going on a sit-on-top kayak is way easier because if a dog is in to cockpit with you (of a closed kayak) it's hard to paddle properly. Our most recent endeavor has been paddleboarding though. It's a ton of fun.

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  17. Not many people can say that their dog enjoys kayaking with them. But this one is an exemption! This must have been a great time! Will definitely try this with my dog! :) Thanks for sharing! Great post! :)

    http://superdogcity.com

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