Doggy Paddling - Stand Up Paddleboarding with Your Dog
There’s no better combination than an iSUP (inflatable standup paddleboard) and a cute pup! If you have a serious love for the water and want to bring your furry pal along for the ride, there are a few important steps and safety measures to consider first.
Let’s take a look at how you can safely get your doggo accustomed to the water and ultimately turn heads as you and your best friend shred the waves together!
Who Said You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?
There are 5 simple steps to follow before paddleboarding with a dog. These steps will help build discipline, trust, and an unwavering bond between you and your beloved pup.
- Keep Your Paddleboard in Your House
It’s important for your dog to get accustomed to the sight and smell of your paddleboard so that it won’t be spooked when seeing it for the first time at the beach. Another key tip is to ensure you keep your paddleboard in an area of the house where your dog is comfortable and frequents often. This ensures maximum exposure and faster acclimatization.
Let your dog be around your paddleboard for at least a week before you move on to step 2. Remember, when paddleboarding with a dog, patience is always rewarded!
- Put a Treat on the Board
After a week, start placing treats on your board so that your dog starts interacting with it and associating it with positive experiences. After a day or two, see if you can get your dog to sit when it hops onto your board to retrieve treats.
Take your time with this step and go at a pace that is comfortable for your pooch.
- Develop Special Commands
After your dog is comfortable getting on the board, begin developing commands to get on and off the board. You can use treats as an incentive to reward good behavior. Make sure there are separate commands being used when your dog gets on the board and when your dog gets off the board.
Drill these commands until your dog follows them perfectly. In the water, it could make a world of difference!
- Get on the Board with Your Dog
Once your dog has mastered the relevant commands, it’s time to practice your boarding movements with your dog on board! Start by sitting behind your dog and reward it when it remains on the board. Slowly, try a standing motion and then try rocking the board. When your dog is unfazed by all these various movements, you can take your training to the water!
- Time to Get Wet!!
Start by practicing what you’ve learned in the shallows. When paddleboarding with a dog, you should always ensure its comfort first. If your dog shows signs of fear, hold off and wait for another day to try again.
Before long, you and your dog will be riding the waves in style!
Safety Precautions and Equipment
Even after all your training and preparation, it is important to consider additional safety precautions when paddleboarding with a dog.
First, you’ll definitely want to equip your pup with a PFD (personal flotation device). In case your dog jumps off your board or gets injured and panics, the PFD will keep your dog safe. When choosing a PFD for your dog, ensure a snug fit and that the PFD is buoyant enough to keep your dog afloat. Finally, having a handle at the top is another useful feature that’ll help you pull your dog back up onto your board in a pinch.
Second, never keep your dog hooked to a leash. While it may seem intuitive to do this when paddleboarding with a dog, it could backfire very easily. A rough wave or even simple curiosity could cause your pup to end up in the water, and if it’s attached to a leash, this could end up choking it.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure your dog is comfortable around water before you even set off from the beach. Some dogs will happily stay on a board despite disliking getting wet, which may work to your advantage. However, if your dog panics at the very sight of water, you should give it more time to overcome its phobia.
Pup On Board
There are many different types of iSUPs that serve various purposes. Here are four boards that are ideal for paddleboarding with a dog:
This is a balanced board that can hold heavier loads. It is more than capable of supporting the weight of a rider and a dog at the same time. The Max does well in gentle waters and even mildly choppy conditions.
Max load: 130KG / 286 lbs
This is a great board if you plan on enjoying longer trips or even touring with your dog. Designed for comfort and lengthy sessions out on the water, this sleek and lightweight board is suitable even in rougher conditions.
Max load: 120KG / 265 lbs
Long and sturdy, this is a stable board that’s perfect for people of all skill sets and doggos of all sizes. Its solid and large design makes it capable of taking whatever’s thrown at it while still ensuring a comfortable ride.
Max load: 170KG / 374lbs
A light and strong board that’s built for versatility on the water, this is a great choice for practicing your skills while having your pup along for the journey. The Outsider excels in all types of conditions and is built to be stable and sturdy for maximum balance.
Max load: 127KG / 280lbs
Pup it up
Paddleboarding with a dog is one of the best ways to teach discipline, have fun, and build a stronger bond. Teaching your dog the necessary skills to get out on the water is not a process that should be rushed. Instead, you should take things slow and make sure your dog is having a great time! It may be tempting to try and speed things up to get your pup out on the waves, but this may result in reducing progress rather than making any.
Remember, while paddleboarding with a dog is super fun, there’s no reason why the learning process can’t be full of licks, laughs and love!