How to Kayak with a Dog

On day 3 of our adventure in the Colorado mountains, we finally had a chance to take out our kayaks. But what to do with the pup?! Take her with us, of course.

First things first – safety. Get your dog a life vest. Sometimes we camp out next to extremely fast moving water. Dogs need a life vest in these conditions, just in case they get away from us when playing in the water and caught up in the river. This time, we wanted to bring her out to the middle of a lake. And she’s never really sway before. Again, life vest needed. If you’re wearing a life vest, your dog should be too. Mixie is wearing this Outward Hound orange life vest (affiliate link) and she didn’t mind it at all!

Spending time get her comfortable with the water, the boats, the vest, all of it.


We tried putting it on her at home and she freaked a little, so we were nervous. But as soon as we were on the beach gearing up to take kayaks out, she was was totally fine! We gave her about an hour the day before to run around and play in the water with us to get her more comfortable. She loved it! The beach was enclosed on both sides by greenery so it was perfect. She ran back and forth non-stop, played fetch with a few sticks and tried to drink the entire lake. The dog life is the good life.

Next, we lifted her into the boat with me. This is where having two people helps – I’m sure I would’ve tipped the boat trying to lift her in myself! At first, the instability of the boat in the water made her nervous. A few ear rubs and affirmations of happiness, and we were ready to push off from the shore.

Mixie sat between my legs facing me at the beginning. Plenty of room for me to paddle while resting my feet on the footrests or straight out in front of me. She got excited a few times and put her paws up on the side of the boat to jump out. Each time, I gently put her paws back in with me and calming reassured her. No panicky voice. No yelling. Operation: keep a six month old puppy calm on a boat? It went perfect!

Views for days with my girl.
❤ My adventure soulmate.
As much as I complain about Colorado not having a huge body of water, this is pretty gorgeous.
That’s an unsure pup deciding she’d rather take a nap than be bothered by taking in the scenery.
This hat is everything.
We were super strategic about keeping Leo in her view as a bit of a calming tactic.
Safety first for our MVP. (most valuable pup)!


As she got a little more comfortable, she turned around and faced out into the great blue/green yonder. She was an absolute angel as we did laps around the lake for a few hours. I think we’re ready to bring her out onto a lake with deeper water next time!


Does life get any better than this?

And so Day 3 continued without a hitch!

Or so we thought… it’s summer in Colorado and fire bans are the norm. There weren’t any in place at Twin Lakes when we got there, so we thought we were safe. But, alas, a fire ban was put in place on our second day and we were camping on US Forest Service land in a non-conforming campsite. That means no campfires for us. And what’s camping without a campfire? We had about three hours left of daylight to tear down camp and get somewhere else where we could spend the night. Time to think fast. So, off to Aspen we went to round out our camping adventure.

Catch up on our adventure: Day 1 in Buena Vista, Day 2 at Cottonwood Lake & Twin Lakes. Day 4 & 5 are coming up later this week!


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