Prepare for a stand up paddle boarding adventure—with your pooch! SUP with your dog can be a whole lot of fun.
With some preparation and patience, you and your pup will be riding the waters in no time.
Aim for the process to be fun. Get your beloved canine acquainted with your board before setting out to sea.
The following guide will clue you in on everything you need to know about SUP with a dog in tow.
Best Boards for Paddling with a Pup
While any larger board will do, we recommend an inflatable SUP when paddling with your pup. The surface is canine-friendly, plus inflatable boards can be easier to tote.
Introducing Your Board to Your Dog
Before beginning your water adventure, you’ll want to introduce your pup to your board.
Bring your inflated board inside and place it in the area where your dog spends most of his time.
Let your pooch peruse the board. He’ll soon realize it’s safe. Don’t force it… Give him plenty of time to explore the board before moving onto the next step of the process.
Add an Incentive
Once your dog has had time to acquaint himself with your board, it’s time to add an incentive.
Place a treat in the middle of the board, so he’ll have to venture onto it. Encourage him to sit on the board and give him another treat. Soon your dog will associate your board with rewards and fun!
Practice at Home
Give your pup plenty of time to warm up to the board, then put on his personal flotation device (PFD) for a practice run. As with the previous steps, the key here is for your pooch to feel at ease. Be patient, and go at your pup’s pace.
Commands are Key
You’ll want to teach your dog commands for getting on and off the board. Be sure to offer a reward each time he obeys, and be consistent. Before you know it, your dog will be following your every command.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now that your pup is comfortable on the board, it’s time to join him! Use your command for him to sit on the board, and once he’s in position, sit behind him. Remember to offer a treat when he obeys.
Once both of you are sitting comfortably, try standing and move from side to side. Don’t rush it. This stage of the process may take a while to conquer. Just be patient and consistent. As your dog becomes more comfortable, practice paddling while he’s on the board.
The Main Event
You and your pup have done the preliminary work. Now it’s time to hit the water.
Before going into the water, practice each step while you and your dog are on land. With any luck, your pooch will be a natural. Patience, as always, is key.
For your first few trips out, keep it short and sweet. Be sure to give your companion plenty of praise, and be mindful of his reactions. Some pups love getting wet, while others aren’t fans of falling off the board.
Tips and Tricks
- Pick up a PFD for your dog that has a handle for easy grabbing. Never rely on doggy paddling to keep your pup safe from harm.
- Never use a leash while on a SUP. Proper training is a must.
- Be sure to take treats along on outings, though the experience is a reward in itself.
- If you’re new to SUP, get comfortable on the water before introducing your dog to the sport. Check out our Ultimate Beginners Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding for everything you need to know about the hobby.
- The best tip I can offer is to have fun and praise your pup constantly! SUP is an amazing bonding experience for dogs and their owners. Happy boarding!