Canine Canoeing: A Guide to Paddling with Your Furry Friend

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Are you ready for an adventure like no other? If so, consider taking your four-legged companion on a canoeing trip. Paddling with dogs can be an incredibly rewarding experience that strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and tricks to ensure a safe and enjoyable paddling experience for both you and your dog.

The Call of the Canoe

“There is one thing I should warn you about before you decide to get serious about canoeing with dogs. You must consider the possibility of becoming totally and incurably hooked on it,” says Bill Mason, renowned paddling enthusiast. We, too, have fallen under the spell of dog-friendly canoeing and share our knowledge to help you create lasting memories on the water.

Paddling with Confidence

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Many paddlers hesitate to bring more than one dog on board, fearing it may disrupt the balance of the canoe. But fear not! We have successfully paddled with two large lab mutts in our canoe without any issues. Whether you opt for a tandem or solo boat, it’s crucial to choose the right vessel for your needs. After exploring over 100 lakes and multiple states and provinces, we suggest starting with a stable, family-friendly canoe that will accommodate both you and your canine companions comfortably.

Getting Your Pups Ready


Before embarking on your first paddling adventure, ensure that your dog is comfortable with car rides. If your furry friend enjoys car travel, chances are they will adapt well to the canoe or kayak. Canoeing offers a serene and peaceful experience for dogs, as they get to observe wildlife, explore new environments, and cool off with a swim. It may not be as physically demanding as other activities, but the joy it brings is immeasurable.

Further reading:  The Art of Canoe Sailing

Choosing the Right Equipment

Finding the perfect canoe is essential for a smooth and enjoyable journey. Avoid aluminum canoes, as they can become hot and noisy, creating an unpleasant experience for your dog. Instead, opt for a stable and family-friendly vessel. When searching for the ideal canoe, bring your dog along for a test paddle, ensuring they feel comfortable and secure. Additionally, invest in a quality indoor-outdoor carpet to protect the boat’s interior from your dog’s claws and provide them with a non-slip surface.

Safety First


Before venturing onto the water, ensure that both you and your dog are confident paddlers. It is crucial to choose a calm body of water for your initial excursions, minimizing distractions and potential dangers. To ensure the safety of your furry friend, invest in a dog life jacket. Not only does it provide thermal protection and buoyancy, but it also increases their visibility to other boaters. Remember to wear your own personal flotation device as well, as it is essential for your own safety.

Obedience on the Water


Basic obedience commands are vital when canoeing with your dog. Before hitting the water, train your furry companion to sit, stay, and respond to specific commands for entering and exiting the boat. Start by practicing these commands on dry land, gradually introducing them to the rocking and movement of the canoe. By establishing reliable canoe behavior, you and your dog will experience a smoother and safer paddling adventure.

Courtesy on the Canoe

To ensure a respectful experience for both wildlife and fellow paddlers, refrain from allowing your dog to bark while in the canoe. Keep a routine when getting in and out of the boat, allowing your dogs to board first upon command. Remember to take your energetic pooch for a run or exercise session before paddling to help them settle down. It is also crucial to stop periodically during longer trips, allowing your dogs to stretch their legs and attend to their needs. And, of course, always clean up after your dogs to preserve the beauty of our waterways.

Further reading:  Introducing the Old Town Sportsman Canoe: Your Perfect Companion for Water Adventures

Essential Gear

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To ensure the comfort and well-being of your furry friends, carry drinking water for them in a specialized dog bottle. This will keep them hydrated and prevent them from drinking from potentially unsafe water sources. Additionally, be prepared with a canine first aid kit in case of any emergencies or injuries. Keep your dog’s safety in mind at all times, using short leashes when necessary but never when in the canoe or kayak, as this could lead to entanglement. Remember, safety and enjoyment go hand in hand.

Embrace the Experience


Above all, remember to have fun and cherish every moment spent canoeing with your dog. Start with short trips to build their confidence and gradually increase the duration of your outings. Capture memories through photographs, celebrating the progress you and your furry friend make together. Canoeing is a lifelong activity that provides endless opportunities for exploration and bonding. Embrace the joy of paddling with your beloved companion and create unforgettable adventures on the water.

To embark on your own canoeing journey with your furry friend, check out UpStreamPaddle for all your paddling needs.