Your dog goes wherever you do. In fact, taking him on a hike and doing a little exploring or going for a run is just more fun with your dog around. But is it possible to take man’s best friend for a ride out on the water? It is! Learn how to paddle board with your dog using our top tips and find out how you can enjoy an intense ride or a leisurely paddling session out on the water with your favorite furry friend.
How to paddle board with your dog is simple enough with the right training and gear.
- The first step is getting your dog acquainted with the board. Leave your board out, allow your dog to sniff it for a few days, and even place a treat on the board to encourage your dog to stand on it.
- Practice with your dog sitting on the board a few times in shallow water. If you have a large dog, you’ll need a friend to help stabilize the board to make it easier for your dog to get on and off.
- In the beginning, only ride around in slow-moving water.
- Bring dog treats along, rewarding your dog for sitting and staying on the board. Periodically reward your dog for his or her good behavior if they remain on the board.
- Expect to fall in the water a few times at least, in the beginning.
- Once your dog is comfortable riding around in calm waters you can try fast-moving rivers or the ocean.
- If you’re planning on heading for choppy waters, always put a life jacket on your dog, and never use a leash.
Paddle boarding with your dog couldn’t be simpler. It can take a little adjusting as far as balancing and even getting both of you more comfortable with the situation, but if you have a dog that loves water, than nothing will be better for the both of you than learning this new way to SUP!
How to Prepare for Your New Adventure
Of course, you won’t get far without the right gear. Before you and your pup head out, make sure you have the following:
- Life vest for your dog
- Dog treats
- Waterproof bag to hold all of your important personal items
The style and type of paddle board you buy will be even more important if you plan on taking your dog with you. Obviously, you’ll want to pay close attention to the size of the board, ensuring it’s long enough and wide enough to accommodate both you and your dog. The Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is a good option. It’s inflatable, so it’s easy to store and transport and the overall design will comfortably accommodate both you and your dog.
To learn more about popular SUP options for dog paddle boarding, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Training Your Dog to Ride
Just like when you taught your dog how to walk on a leash, how to stop jumping up on people and to come when called, teaching your dog how to paddle board is going to take plenty of patience. And treats.
Take it slow in the beginning and let your dog become familiar with the paddle board and with wearing a life vest. Leave the board out so the dog can sniff it. Put the life vest on your dog once a day, starting with just ten or fifteen minutes, extending the amount of time by adding ten more minutes each time you put it on. Once your dog stops trying to chew or lick his or her vest, you’ll know that your dog is no longer curious and is ready for bigger, more challenging lessons.
Taking Your Dog Out in the Water
If you have a larger dog, then you’ll need to have a friend on hand to help with training.
If you have plenty of experience paddle boarding, and you know how to get on a paddle board in deep water, then the first step is getting your dog as comfortable on the board as you are. Practice first in shallow water. Once you’re on the board, push yourself back until you’re sitting right behind the board’s carry handle. Sitting in this position will help to balance both your weight and your dog’s.
If you have a big breed dog, you may need the help of a friend to coax your dog onto the board and to help prevent the board from moving as the dog climbs on.
The first time your dog is on the board may be a little chaotic. Keep dog treats on hand and reward your dog whenever they follow your commands, or if they seem anxious. Once your dog is comfortably sitting on the board you can now push off and head out.
Keeping your dog relaxed will be a challenge, especially if they love the water and they’re eager to jump in or take a drink. The treats will be a great motivator here.
The key will be making this a fun learning experience for both you and your dog.
How long it will take to get your dog used to riding around on your board will ultimately depend on your dog’s nature and age. Younger dogs will be more eager to jump into the water, making it difficult to balance on the board. If you have a younger dog you can expect to take a few unplanned dips in the water.
Older dogs are calmer and tend to be more motivated by treats.
Once your dog becomes comfortable on the board and learns how to sit back and enjoy the ride, you’ll both love spending time out on the water.
Where To SUP with Your Pup
Some dogs prefer riding around in calm bodies of water, while others enjoy the spray of the ocean and zipping around, riding on smaller waves. Gauge your dog’s responses to these different situations carefully. If fast-moving waters make your dog anxious, avoid these situations at all costs, especially if your dog is older or you don’t have much experience with paddle boarding. Currents can be very strong and dangerous in the ocean. Add an anxious dog to the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Calm bodies of water tend to provide a more relaxing experience for both the pet and the owner. If you intend on eventually taking your dog with you for a little SUP surfing, make sure you start off first on a calm lake or slow-moving river.
Is Paddle Boarding with a Dog Safe?
Yes, but only if you take the proper safety precautions. Most dog trainers will recommend using a life jacket for your dog if you plan on paddling around in fast-moving bodies of water. This will ensure that your dog remains safe and afloat, even if he or she gets caught in a strong current. These jackets are equipped with a handle on top of the jacket. These handles make it easy for you to pull your dog out of the water once you’ve climbed back on your board after a fall.
You should also never ever use a leash when your dog is riding on your SUP. If your dog falls in the water and is struggling against a strong current, the leash can easily strangle the dog.
Inflatable SUP with Dog?
A common misconception about inflatable SUPS is that they’re not very durable. Dog owners worry that their dog’s nails can easily puncture the board’s surface, but this simply isn’t true. Many new models of inflatable SUPs are made out of puncture resistant material, making it impossible for your dog’s nails to puncture the surface.
Paddle Boarding with Dogs Near Me
If you’re riding waves alone, it’s one thing, but if you’re out surfing on your SUP with your dog, you’ll want to steer clear of other riders who are out with their dogs as well. This applies even if your dog is very dog-friendly in normal situations, especially if your dog is new to riding on your SUP. Additionally, you may end up riding too close to the other rider, who doesn’t have a dog that’s very friendly. So, play it safe, if you’re out in the water and see another SUP surfer with a dog, head to the opposite end of the beach.
Learning how to paddle board with your dog can be a fun exciting experience for both of you. Remember, first keep the board out in the open at home and allow your dog to sniff and touch the board. Bring along plenty of dog treats with you when you’re training. Practice first in shallow water until both you and your dog are comfortable sitting on the board. If you decide to try SUP surfing with your pup, make sure you use a dog life jacket and never attach a leash. By following these simple steps you’ll have your dog trained and ready for a day on the water, in no time.