It never takes much convincing for those furry first mates to settle into their seats when it’s time to get going in the kayak. In fact, though Bahnson rarely paddles out too far from land, the dogs seem to understand how to keep safe on their journeys.
“They are trained to get in the kayak themselves on command. They sit down, and off we go. When we come ashore, they’ll stay seated until I tell them it’s OK to get out. They never hopped out into the water, actually,” he said, adding that the dogs are strong swimmers regardless.
“We’ve seen other people kayaking with their dogs, but they usually have them in the cockpit with them. That’s kind of awkward, so this just worked out better,” he said. “They each have a little dedicated space, and they just sit and enjoy the ride.”
Sadly, Susie and Ginger have both since passed away after lives filled with adventure with Bahnson in the custom boat he built for them, but the tradition continues with the family’s newest pets. And while the sight of dogs out for a day of kayaking tends to attract a fair bit of attention and more than a few happy glances from passersby — no one could be more pleased than the passengers themselves.
“I love my dogs. I love training them, the companionship. We’ve gone miles and miles of paddling with our dogs,” said Bahnson. “They just really enjoy going places.”