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How To Paddle Board With Your Dog

Stand-up paddle boarding is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while bonding with your dog. But, in the beginning your dog may not be as keen to take to the water as you are!

The Basics

> Make it fun
> Start on dry land
> Build confidence

> Use treats
> Use a buoyancy aid
> Stay safe!

Here are 8 Tips to help you and
your fluffy friend have the best time!

Introduce Your Dog to the Board

Your dog will be new to the adventure of paddle boarding, so you should ease him or her into it.

My Cocker Spaniel loves the water, but he wouldn’t settle the first time I took him out on my board. He kept pacing up and down, trying to get off!

Start by familiarising him with your board. Try inflating it in your garden or living room and letting him explore, jump on and walk up and down it. Make it fun!

Use of Treats

When your dog has grown accustomed to the board, encourage him with treats. Place some on the board and around it.

It’s important that you stay calm.

Then give him additional treats once he hops on. This is also a great time to try out familiar commands like sit, down or stay, then reward him with a treat.

Familiarisation With a Life Jacket

The next thing to familiarise your dog with is a life jacket. Make sure to get the right size, so it’s comfortable to wear. Also, it should have a handle. In the future, you can lift him with the paddle if he accidentally falls into the water.

That said, prepare the life jacket and dress your dog in it. Afterward, get him onto the board. Doing so will make your pet associate himself with the board and the life jacket. This will make him feel safe in both.

I use this DOG BUOYANCY AID from the Red Paddle Co. We have a review coming soon.

How To Paddle Board With Your Dog

Master Commands

Now, it’s time to practice and train using commands. Figure out the spot where your dog is going to sit. That depends on the size of your pet, your board and your skill level, but is usually directly in front of your feet.

Your dog will feel safe being close to you

My dog likes to sit between my feet, where he feels safe and protected.

Remember that the location is essential in keeping your balance while paddle boarding. Both of you should be comfortable because you’ll probably stay there throughout the whole trip.

Once you’ve decided where your dog should sit, command them to sit on that spot. Do this repeatedly and use treats if he obeys and remains in place.

Additionally, establish commands for getting your dog on and off the board. If he startles easily and jumps off, you may just find yourselves going for an unplanned swim!

Practice on Dry Land

After you’ve practiced commands, get your dog to sit on his spot, you stand in your normal paddling position, and gauge his reaction.

Again, treats are your best tools, so have them handy. This also helps create a fun environment.

Wait until your pet settles, then mimic the back-and-forth motions of paddling and moving the board.

See how your dog reacts. If he seems uncomfortable, take a breather, and work your way to it again. You don’t have to get it in one go, avoid stressing the both of you.

Practice in Shallow Water

Even though you’ve trained positions and movements at home, it’ll still be different once you’re on the water. That’s why you should include training in shallow water.

However, a gradual introduction is necessary. Begin on land near the surface of the water. Follow the same steps you take at home and see if your dog adapts well to the new environment.

If that’s a success, repeat the process on the edge of the water. If your dog reacts positively, then go further. But make sure you’re still in shallow waters. Let him gain his confidence before setting out on longer paddles.

You might find that the process of introducing your dog to Paddling Boarding takes 10 minutes, or your dog might be a bit nervous and takes 4 or 5 goes. It’s important that you progress at your own speed.

Here’s a quick video from the Red Paddle Co. on how to Paddle Board with your dog.

Tips from The Red Paddle Co. on how to paddle board with your dog.

Safety Preparations

There’s more to SUP Safety than you might think, especially when you have your dog with you.

1. For starters, load up on drinking water and treats. If your dog gets thirsty, he may be tempted to drink from the lake or sea, this can pose several health risks.

2. You’ll also want to bring sunscreen if your dog has short fur, especially on the belly.

3. Lastly, don’t forget to bring your dog’s life jacket, even if your dog is a good swimmer.

Check out this post on Paddle Boarding Safety Essentials for more tips.

Set Out Paddle Boarding With Your Dog

You’ve done all the necessary preparations, so it’s time to put them into action. Set out on a paddle-boarding adventure with your dog.

For your first time together, try out calmer waters and keep your activity short. Then, take it up a notch the next time around.

Expect a few dips here and there,
but stay calm and enjoy the fun!

Learning How To Paddle Board With Your Dog needs a lot of practice, training, and patience. But all is worth it once you get out on the water and enjoy this great outdoor adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I paddle board with my dog?

Yes you can, the important thing is to stay safe and calm, make sure you have a life jacket for yourself and your dog. Take your time when introducing your dog to the board.

How do I get my dog used to a paddle board?

Start slowly by introducing your dog to the paddle board on dry land until they get used to it. Use treats to encourage your dog. Follow the tips in our guide How To Paddle Board With Your Dog.

Is it easier to kayak or paddle board with a dog?

A paddle board has a more stable, flat deck for your dog to stand on and is definitely an easier way to getting your dog on the water with you.

Can you take your dog on an inflatable paddle board?

Yes! Paddle boards are made from strong material that is not easily damaged by your dog’s claws. Some boards have a soft foam cover that can sometimes get scrapped, this will not damage the integrity of your board, but may spoil the look of it.