Top Water Sports For Dogs – Best Water Sports For You And Your Dog

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
You toss a dog's toy into the water and he jumps in it immediately? Is fo, your Fido is a huge water lover. Here are some of the most fun water sports for dogs that can help your dog burn that extra energy.

Is your dog a water lover? Is your Fido one of those dogs who cannot wait to jump into the water and make that constant splash-splash sound? If so, then you know how serious water lovers some dogs can be.

Some dog breeds are exceptional swimmers. Some of them were even specially created to handle water obstacles and help people with fishing and other water-related activities.

Some dogs don’t like being near water, while others would never put a paw in the water. Have you ever seen a Labrador Retriever enjoying the water?

In this article, we will focus on dogs that enjoy the water and can thrive from water sports.

If your dog enjoys water you might want to try some of these water sports for dogs.

Dock Jumping

Dock jumping or dock diving is a competition where dogs… Well, jump from a dock into the water. The goal here is to achieve great distance or height.

This canine sport is much similar to the human long jump or even high jump, but with water.

Dogs that thrive in this sport are high-energy dogs that love water, such as Labrador Retriever, or Border Collie.

Dock diving is regularly held by North America Diving Dogs and recognized by the AKC.

Even if you are not a dog owner and you are just thinking about getting a dog, just watching this sport will give you a different perspective on having a dog who loves water.

If your dog is a water lover it doesn’t mean that you should push him into this sport. However, if you do have some time and energy to train him to compete it would be a great bonding experience for both of you.


If your dog is a proven swimmer, the chances are that he might enjoy a surfing board as well. Have you ever tried to get your dog to catch some waves?

If not, you might want to think about some dog surfing classes. As expected, this dog sport is more present on the west coast, but it does mean that you can’t enjoy some pool time with your dog.

In the professional world, dog surfing involves dogs that are trained to surf on surfboards, even bodyboards, skimboards, to windsurf boards. This is an older dog sport taking place since the 1920s in the States.

If you want to try this sport with your dog, make sure that you use a special dog surfboard specially designed for dog surfing.

If this board hits them it won’t hurt a lot and it’s easier for dogs to grip them. For very small size dogs use a boogie board.

Water Retrieval

Water retrieving is much more than fetching in water. Originally, dogs were bred to swim so they could help fishermen with their daily duties.

Today, water retrieving breeds, are mostly busy as companion dogs who get to enjoy the water as a hobby. Plus, swimming is a great exercise for dogs so there could be no harm.

If you have a dog who enjoys water you have probably noticed that as soon as his toy is in water, he jumps after it without fear, right? This is usually the case because they don’t have any fear in fact, and cannot wait to jump into the water.

Training your dog to fetch in water can be tricky, because it will demand time, energy, and some planning.

The best way to teach your dog to fetch in water is to teach him first how to swim and how to fetch, and not to combine them in one activity.

Dog Diving

Dog diving is a great water sport for experienced dog swimmers. Some dogs really enjoy this sport. There is nothing like finding and retrieving things underwater for many breeds.

Plus, this is a great activity if you have a big size pool or a small home-based dog pool.

No special training is needed for this sport as logn as your dog enjoys the water. Just purchase weighted diving toys online or in a local pet store and watch your dog enjoying.

Dog Boating

When it comes to dog boating, the most important thing is safety.

Boaters and dog lovers love to combine boats and dogs together. After all, who doesn’t like having their favorite four-legged buddy on a boat while exploring the known and unknown waters?

Plus, if you are a huge water lover dog it seems logical to bring your dog on. Still, there are certain things to consider when it comes to this sport.

In fact, there are certain challenges that you need to think about, not to say dangers that could ruin your boating day. First of all, you need to have a dog overboard plan – what to do if an accident occurs.

You need to know how you can get your dog back to safety. Secondly, make sure that you have the right kind of life jacket both for you and your canine.

Having a dog sunscreen is a must, even if your dog has hair. Visit a local pet store for a dog-friendly sunscreen and first-aid kit that you want or have on hand.

Shade and water on the boat are a must because you don’t want your dog to be hydrated and to experience heatstroke.

Should you have a leash on? Of course, because you might encounter other dogs on the boat – just doublethink if in these situations a dog harness might be a better solution.

Last but not least, monitor yoru dog all the time.

If a specific boat corner represents a possible danger, teach your dog to stay away from that area. Dogs do fall overboard and you don’t want your dog to be part of that statistics.

Stand-up Paddle Boarding

SUP boarding may seem difficult, but in reality, it’s far easier than it looks. Or is it? All you have to do is to stand, place a dog in front of you, and paddle.

How hard can it be? It turns out that you will need a fair amount of time to master this skill. Still, you shouldn’t give up because it just requires some time, plus your dog will love it.

If you have a huge water-loving dog, expect extra excitement while paddling. Before any ride, you need to make sure that your dog is comfortable enough to hop aboard.

If your dog is too nervous, he won’t be able to a standstill. Water vessels demand stillness and focus, or a million things can go wrong in no time.

Make sure that you start this sport in shallow water. It’s always important to test your dog and see how much is if comfortable with certain actions.

If he seems ok, you can join home on the board, but don’t force it. Start small, start seated.

From there, progress to your knees and eventually your feet if you feel comfortable. For the first few times stick close to the shore.

Always keep your dog in front of you, so you can keep an eye on him. Put a vest on him and have treats in your pocket, so you can reward him continually.

If your dog is of a large breed, and you cannot lift him, don’t stress. Encourage him to swim to the shore while you paddle alongside him.


If you’re thinking about kayaking, you should know that this is one of the most popular dog sports. All you need is a dog with a lifevest on and you are ready to go.

The great thing about kayaking is that dogs of all sizes can make great kayaking buddies. Just like you, your dog will enjoy a kayak ride and the view.

All you have to do with your dog in this water sport is to place your dog up front and paddle. However, this doesn’t mean that your dog should be trained before hopping aboard.

You need to teach him the basics – basic commands like sit, come and lie down – these commands are mandatory when it comes to safe kayaking.

From there you can move to the second step: getting your dog used to the kayak.

Teach him to climb into the boat while you are on the land. This is the best way to get him familiar with new objects and how to move inside.

You can move to let him climb in while the kayak is tied to the dock. This way he will know what to expect once you push him away from the shore. Once you are sure that your dog is ready to start kayaking, stick close to shore.

Make sure that the water is calm because you want to avoid any hard and excessive rocking.

Have a friend or a family member on the shore, just in case your dog decides to jump in and swim to the shore.

If your dog is calm, you can try kayaking, following the steps listed above. However, if your dog is a highly excited dog by nature this may not be the sport for him.

This is especially true if your dog is over 30 pounds. Why this may be an issue? Your dog needs to remain still in the kayak no matter what.

You don’t want him to jump whenever the fish do the same. If your Fido is over 50 pounds or more you should think about a tandem kayak. It just may be needed.

If your dog seems stable, you might want to upgrade from a one-man craft.

Don’t forget to have a leash on. Maybe it can be more useful to put your dog a harness on in case that he ends in the water and you have to pull him out.

What If A Dog Is Afraid Of Water?

Some breeds are naturally born swimmers and can spend hours on the beach.

On the other hand, some dogs are ok with water but don’t feel the need to splash.

In some extreme cases, some dogs can even develop a strong fear of water.

Water could disturb them so much that even loud splashing could trigger anxiety.

This is why you should take enough time to prepare your dog for the water experience.

Here is how to do this properly:

Make A Slow Introduction

If your dog is struggling with being around the water, you need to start with small steps. Wait for a day when your dog is really relaxed and take him next to the water.

If your Fido starts behaving strangely and starts shaking, don’t force it. Try simply to run a wet hand over your dog’s fur. Always reward good behavior.

Start With Shallow Wading

If your Fido is fine with being near the water you should make a bond between them. Fill a tub or children’s pool with an inch or two of water.

The temperature should be right, and not too hot, or too chill. Bring in the right toys, favorite rates, and a fluffy towel to use later on.

Make sure that your first rub the dog’s fur, and then gently place your dog into the water.

If your dog remains calm, praise him and reward him. You want to associate water with positive reinforcement and praise.

Stay Relaxed Around Water

How you feel your dog catches on.

You are the leader of the pack and behave as one because your dog feels your securities and insecurities.

When you are depressed or anxious, your dog will feel it. So, before you take your dog anywhere near deeper levels of water, make sure that you are calm.

Of course, arm yourself with patience and plan everything well. Think about the best way to approach your dog and introduce him to water properly.

Once you are sure that your dog is a huge water lover, and a good swimmer, you can start choosing the best water sport for your dog.

The Bottom Line

Your dog is a huge water lover? Was he bred to assist humans in water-related activities?

If so, he probably has webbed feet – this serves as a powerful tool that helps them move faster and stronger through the water. No matter which water sport you choose for yoru Fido, go slowly.

Think about the pros and cons of each sport and do your best to provide a safe environment first.