What water sports can I practice with my dog?

Do you love water and love your dog and you would like to be able to do water sports with him? It’s entirely possible ! We give you ideas for accessible water sports and our advice to enjoy them in the best conditions.

It does not matter if it is.

If you immerse a puppy’s body in water, its paws immediately kick in. But be careful, this does not mean that your puppy can swim. Contrary to popular belief, swimming is not innate in dogs. And some breeds even tend to sink. You must therefore be vigilant before doing any water sport project with your dog.

Small dogs – bulldogs, dachshunds, chihuahuas for example – tire quickly: their legs are too short and therefore not powerful enough to keep their heads above water. They are also dogs that often cool down quickly.

Conversely, some breeds are considered to be very adapted to water and knowing naturally swim: the newfoundland, which has webbed legs, which makes it a swimming champion, the labrador retriever, the barbet, the cocker spaniel, the Portuguese water dog are at the top of the list.

Finally, there are dogs who do not know how to do well in water but who can learn. You will not be able to instill technical gestures in him of course. It is a way of saying that by dint of confronting him with water, accompanying him and encouraging him, the dog may have a click at a given moment.

Precautions to prevent your dog from drowning

Some dogs don’t like water. So, don’t force yours if it does! You might even disgust him permanently with water.

Young dogs have a lot to discover, and if water is not part of their familiar surroundings, they may need time to discover this new element. The fact that he is having fun in puddles does not bode well for his reaction to a real body of water.
Take him to the edge of a calm body of water, play gently with him and observe his reactions. He will notably discover that the level can rise high along the legs, tickle his belly, and maybe even cover his body. It’s a new feeling to gradually tame.

If your dog likes water and you feel that he wants to accompany you, even though his morphology is not suitable (short legs or crushed nose), equip him with a life jacket, even if it is ‘is to put it on the pedal boat or canoe because it is necessary to foresee the possible losses of balance.

Be patient: some things that are impossible at a certain age become so later. It is estimated that a dog becomes an adult between 9 months and 2 years old, depending on the breed. It is probably at this age that your dog will be able to have the click.

The aquatic hike

It is about walking in a calm and shallow water course with your dog. It’s like canyoning, but without no difficulty technical. It is a popular activity for animals who need to have their feet and still need to cool off when the temperatures are high.


You can share good times with your dog in the water, as long as local laws allow it.
Also, even if your dog is doing well in the water, you should always pay attention to his behavior and not take him too far. Go gradually to assess what he is able to do, depending on his age in particular, without leading him to the end of his strength. He can quickly get into trouble without your having been able to identify any warning signs of fatigue. You yourself must be sure that you can rescue him if necessary.
The currents are a phenomenon to be wary of and which can panic the animal or prevent it from getting out of the water.

The stand-up paddle

There is plenty of room on the board to accommodate your dog, provided you and him have balance. It is an activity reserved for calm dogs, who can sit quietly or lie down for a long time. Some animals may even fall asleep, lulled by the gentle rhythm of the walk.
You should not forget the breaks on dry land to pee, stretch your legs and even swim.

The canoe

Canoeing allows you to go downhill in the river: the Gorges de l’Ardèche, Tarn and Verdon are famous for this activity. For the activity to run smoothly, it is important that your dog is obedient and know how to stay seated, lying down or not moving when you ask him to. It is imperative for everyone’s safety that the dog’s behavior immediately adapts to the level of safety required.

You will first have to find a canoe rental company who will allow your dog to board. He will also be able to inform you about the feasibility of the course according to the level of difficulty, that is to say the number of rapids encountered. As for a child, the life jacket is of course compulsory, even if your dog can swim perfectly.


This sport is reserved for all those who have a good level in surfing. Because even if your dog loves the water, he probably won’t like to deal with big waves and eddies. You must avoid this experience for your dog. So that means you need to limit falls.
The dog must absolutely be voluntary at the risk of being disgusted with the water. This will of course be done in stages, and with a lot of patience you may one day be able to ride waves with your dog.

To sail

There again the progressiveness to get into practice and the observation of the reactions of your four-legged companion is required. Because you probably won’t always be boating in calm weather and even then the sea can rock. These are therefore sensations that the dog must tame.

If you feel comfortable, it is essential to equip your dog with a life jacket including a handle solid on the top, allowing it to be launched if desired, but also to facilitate rescue in the event of accidental launching.

A lifeline can also be helpful. Depending on the size of the boat, your dog will want to move around without necessarily being in the water. This line will keep the dog on board if the sea gets bigger.

Collars and harnesses in flashy colors are to be preferred to better identify your dog in the water.

To dry the animal, a microfiber towel is very practical.

If your dog has a chilly tendency, a raincoat can also be useful, so that he can enjoy a boat ride, even in the spray and light rain.

Remember that salt damages the skin. It is therefore necessary to rinse your dog fairly quickly after swimming in the sea. If the boat trip lasts several days, you will take his basket so that he can rest peacefully.