#TrailheadTips: Paddling with your Pooch

We all love paddling across a sparkling lake in the summer, now imagine doing that with Doggo by your side.  Bringing your pooch on a paddling trip can be a tricky endeavour. We created a quick guide for making it as easy as possible:

You’re equipped with a lifejacket, water bottle and sunscreen, and your dog should be too. Here’s what we pack for Doggo:

Tip: Know if your dog is ready to hit the water by seeing how they react around water and in your boat. Try putting them in your canoe, kayak or SUP while it is on land to ensure they feel at ease. The first time you go out, try calm water. (Usually early morning to dusk are the best times to find glass-like water) Additionally, try avoid heading out solo – if you go overboard the recovery will be easier, plus your dog will most likely feel more comfortable to have another person/boat paddling with you.

You’ve got the gear, now you need the commands. Getting your dog in a boat or on a board can be hard. Having the basic commands down such as “sit” and “up we go” will make getting started much easier.



Getting Doggo settled on a Canoe, Kayak or SUP:

Canoe: Taking Doggo canoeing is one great way to take to the water with your pup – canoes are super easy for your dog to get in and out of. Plus, there’s lots of room for them to get comfortable and move around.


Solo canoeing: your dog should sit near the bow of the boat to help balance the weight

Tandem canoeing: get your dog to relax in the middle to keep the boat balanced


SUP: Getting your dog on a board can be quick and easy, however there are a couple tricks to keep in mind to stay dry and on your board. The chances of your dog staying at your feet are slim. Most dogs will want to sit at the tip of the board. Boards can be slippery for you and especially for your dog. Try putting a yoga mat down on the front of your board where the rubber grip does not reach. Let your dogs lead and decide when it’s time to head in. Take your time easing them into the world of Paddle Boarding.

Kayak: Taking your pup kayaking is a bit more challenging than canoeing or paddleboarding, especially in a closed kayak compared to a sit on top. One tip to try is to have your dog between your legs – this helps so that when they’re excited or getting out of line you can squeeze your legs to keep them seated and in the boat. Depending on the size of your dog you can open one of the hatches on the stern or bow and have them sit there. When heading out with your kayak, first get yourself settled and your gear in place before getting your dog to jump in – find a higher piece of ground or dock for your dog to launch off of and into your boat.