Contact restrictions still apply worldwide. But you can always enjoy the beautiful weather outside with your dog. The possibilities to spend time with your dog in nature without meeting a human being are very diverse. The offers range from relaxed leisure activities to sporty motivated adventures. The trend of wanting to actively experience something in nature with the dog is constantly advancing.

Today we would like to introduce you to one of these outdoor adventures with dog: Canoeing with dog. Here you can view the beautiful landscape from a very special perspective. So why not just give it a try?

Canoe trip with dog

Relaxing in a canoe on the water and spending time together with your dog – such an experience is not only exciting and thrilling. It also connects and welds you together. So canoeing with your dog is a great opportunity to do something outside with your dog. There are even some dog schools or other providers that offer such an adventure in a group. Of course, everyone has their own canoe, so you can keep your distance. You can choose between short tours, day trips or trips of several days. Whether in Germany or abroad, the possibilities are very diverse. In many places a canoe can be rented individually. Untrained you should avoid wild waters. This can quickly become dangerous for your dog if it should go overboard.

If you are inexperienced at the beginning, certain workshops can help you. Especially for beginners such a workshop with competent guidance offers an overview of the processes. So you have the possibility to train in peace and quiet and to get a little bit closer to your adventure step by step.

Equipment for your dog

If you have decided to go on a canoe trip, you will need some equipment to take reasonable care of your dog during the trip:

Life Vest

Bowl and food



Harness and leash

Dog blanket

Towel or dog bathrobe

A life jacket for your dog can be very beneficial and should not be missing. If he is a good swimmer, it is up to you whether you secure him with a life jacket or not. However, this is definitely recommendable. After all, swimming itself can quickly tire the body. Safety always comes first.

In addition, you will need a bowl, food, maybe some treats, enough water, a harness, a leash, possibly a dog bathrobe or towel and a dog blanket. You could offer your dog a blanket as a resting place in the canoe or when resting on land. Depending on the season, the waters are somewhat cooler and some cold winds can cause discomfort on longer trips. The dog blanket should therefore be a little thicker so that your four-legged friend is comfortable and warm in the canoe. Especially after swimming your dog can cool down quickly due to the wind. A bathrobe or a towel to dry off can be just as useful.

Equipment for the dog owner

Outdoor clothing

if necessary bathing clothes

Food and drink

First aid kit

Sun cream and hat


Life jacket

It makes sense to dress accordingly for your trip on the water. In the summer, when the temperatures are warmer, you can start your canoe trip in shorts or swimming gear. However, if it is cooler, quick-drying materials and waterproof or windproof jackets and trousers are recommended. It can always happen that you go overboard or waves carry water into the canoe. If you were to wear cotton clothing, it could take a long time to dry out. Specialist shops for outdoor clothing offer a wide range of different, more suitable clothes for your canoe trip. A life jacket for you should be the first priority.

It is also important for you to take enough food on board. Especially if you are on a longer tour, you should take along sufficient drinking water and food for the journey.

A first-aid kit is also recommended in any case. After all, minor injuries or dangers for you and your dog can occur anywhere and at any time. Especially when you are near the shore or on the water with your dog, mosquito or other insect bites can cause problems or even trigger allergic reactions.

If you or your dog needs medication, you should also pack this with you.

An important factor to consider for you and your dog in summer is the exposure to the sun. Especially on the water you have no possibility to get in the shade. So think about sunscreen and maybe some sunglasses and a cap, hat or cap for you.

Canoeing with a dog is a great experience for humans and dogs alike. For nature lovers and water rats it is an ideal outdoor program! Once you have decided on this trendy sport, however, a suitable training programme is first on the agenda. After all, you both want to have a great time together. As canoeing is something completely new for your dog and may even cause discomfort, it requires a lot of patience and empathy at the first contact.

Putting on the lifejacket

A life jacket for man and dog is especially important for such an adventure as canoeing. If you get into an emergency situation and someone should go overboard, a life jacket can save lives. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, you should put a life jacket on him. However, not every dog knows how to put on and wear a vest, coat or similar. Therefore, teach your dog to wear this vest at home in advance. Training can be done in small steps and in a relaxed atmosphere in a low irritant environment. If this works well or does not bother him at all, the adventure can begin.

Getting the dog used to the canoe

Getting your dog used to a canoe can sometimes take time. This, from a dog’s point of view, big something is unknown to him and could be dangerous under certain circumstances. Patience is therefore very important. Position the canoe on the ground at the beginning in a place where it is as calm and quiet as possible. Then give your dog the opportunity to look at the canoe. If he is not interested and would rather go his own way, give him some treats to motivate him.


Getting to know the canoe as well as getting into the canoe or “sitting in the canoe”, you can work with your dog with a clicker or marker word.

If the canoe seems no longer dangerous, you can take the next step together. It is helpful if you get into the canoe first. This way your dog can see that nothing dangerous is happening and you can stay relaxed. Bigger dogs tend to jump in by themselves. This would of course only work on land and not in water. Therefore, lifting the dog into the water should also be part of a training session. If you have a smaller dog breed, you should lift your dog into the canoe from the beginning.

If your dog is now in the canoe with you, it is best to give him a seat directly. If he learns from the beginning to sit down after getting into the canoe, unnecessary wobbling or even capsizing can be avoided. If it is more comfortable for your dog, he can also lie down.

On land is not the same as on water

Once you have practised boarding and “sitting in the canoe” on land, you are ready to go. Start in shallow water first. Find out which step is easiest for you: Do you lift your dog into the canoe first or does he jump in by himself? In the latter case, he will quickly notice that the canoe starts rocking. This can frighten him and make him jump out again. If you get into the canoe first, you could help your dog to follow and quickly find the right balance.

Are you both safe in the canoe, start paddling carefully. Remember that paddling and the required movement is also something new for your dog. Give him enough time to get to know these movements. Maybe you will just let yourselves drift a little on the water at first.


When canoeing, it is better to always take many small breaks rather than just a longer break every now and then. If your dog can’t sit in the canoe for a very long time, the small shore excursions will help him to relieve stress and loosen up. You can also give your dog some fun during this time – be it with toys or a social game. This also reduces stress and promotes your social interaction. If you are travelling with several of them, your dog can play with the other four-legged friends on land.

Maybe not the right thing

Also, if your thirst for adventure is aroused and you feel like canoeing with a dog, you should watch your dog very carefully. Maybe he does not enjoy canoeing as much as you do. Especially very agile and sporty dog breeds can quickly get bored sitting and staying in a canoe until the next shore excursion. An early jumping out or restless behaviour in the canoe can be the result. It is best to give your dog a little rest before the trip. If he is a little calmer and more relaxed, your adventure will be more relaxed.

If, despite training and diligent practice, your dog still shows aversions to canoeing, it may simply not be your outdoor activity. Just as we humans enjoy certain sports more than others, so do our dogs.

If you want to improve your dogs intelligence? –> Brain Training For Dogs

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We hope you enjoyed our How to Improve A Dogs Intelligence and Behavior article. We also hope that you learned a bit more and we would appreciate if you would share this article with other dog owners. Also read our article 10 good gift ideas for a dog

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If you want to learn more about Canoeing with your Dog, have a look at the Dog Paddling: How to Take Your Pooch Canoeing

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