If you’re looking for a fun way to get some exercise with your dog, paddle boarding is a great option. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Paddle boarding (SUP) with dog tips
1. Choose the right paddle board
For stability, it’s best to choose a wider and longer board. Look for a board that is at least ten feet long and 32 inches wide. This also largely depens on the size of your dog. If your dor is on the smaller size you can get away with a shorter and narrow paddle board. If your dog is a breed that grows large, then the larget the paddle board the better.
2. Get your dog comfortable with the board
Before you get on the water, let your dog sniff around and explore the paddle board. Once they seem comfortable, help them onto the board and let them get used to the feeling of being on the water. Stay in very shallow waters, literally off the beach and let your dog play around with the paddle board and get acclimated with the water.
3. Start slow
When you’re ready to start paddling, go slowly at first. Let your dog get used to the movement of the board before you pick up the pace. Just float in shallow waters and keep an eye on your dog to see if they’re feeling comfortable and are calm. Spend around an hour without going farther into the sea.
4. Practice safety (leash and life jacket)
Always wear a life jacket and make sure your dog is wearing one too. It’s also a good idea to keep a leash attached to your dog in case they decide to jump off the board. This way if they jump into the sea, they won’t get far and stranded and you can always lead them back onto the paddle board.
5. Teach your dog useful commands
Before setting off to SUP with your dog, it’s best if you teach them some basics commands, like “stay”, “sit”, “swim” and “return”. Use treats to incentivize your dog and reward them when they follow your command closely.
It’s important to be able to control your dog when out in the sea because at any moment they can panic and not know what to do and react, that’s when the proper training kicks in. In combination with the life jacket and the leash, having trained your dog to follow your comments will ensure a safe and fun SUP experience with your dog.
6. Do a couple of test runs
After you’ve mastered all the steps above, just do a few test runs first before paddle boarding properly. Put a life jacket on yourself and on your dog, wear them a leash and command them to get onto the paddle board with you.
Once on the paddle board, start paddling very slowly and take off, slowly and gently paddle boarding, but stay in shallow waters where you can stand and better control the paddle board and your dog should anything unexpected happen.
Spend a couple of hours in this mode and do a couple of test runs until your dog is totally acclimated to their new surroundings and feels comfortable.
Paddle boarding with your dog prerequisites
Goign beyond the basic tips to paddle board with your dog, there are a few more actionable insights and ideas you should follow to make SUP with your dog a fun and safe experience for everyone.
1. Bring water for your dog
This may be a given but it’s easy to forget. Always bring a bottle of water for you and your dog. He may get dehadryted from the heat and get frustrated so always carry water with you.
2. Trim their nails
Always make sure that you trim his nails before getting your dog on the paddle board. Especially the very first times when he’s going to be trying to find his balane on the board, he may scratch the board in an effort to stay on and not slip off.
3. Bring food with you
Your dog may get hungry and lose energy so having some treats with you that you can give him, will go a long way to making paddle boarding with your dog easy and fun. Not only that but you can always continue and enforce your training and give him rewards for a good behavior.
How to paddle board with you dog (for beginners)
Alright, now all the basics are out of the way, let’s move on to the actual activity of paddle boarding with your dog and how to go about it the first time (and every time after that really).
- Have your dog stay on shore as you go out on the board. Wave to him, laugh, and smile so he knows that it is fun and not scary.
- Hold the board still in shallow water and allow your dog to get on. Walk the board through the shallow water and allow him to jump off if he wants.
- When you’re both ready, get onto the board with your dog. Start out paddling on your knees for better balance.
- Stand up with your dog between or at your feet. Get used to paddling without accidentally hitting him with the paddle.
- Small dogs can sit on the nose of the board. Once you’ve mastered paddling with your dog, you can try other positions, like having him sit or lie down on the board. Just make sure he has a good grip so he doesn’t slide off.
Have fun and enjoy the time you spend paddle boarding with your furry friend!