How to Get Started Paddle Boarding with Your Dog

Table of contents

What You Need to Prepare
Steps to Paddleboarding with Your Dog
1: Bring Your Paddle Board in a Comfortable Area
2: Train Your Dog to Get on and Off the Board
3: Train Your Dog to Sit and Stand on the Board
4: Hitting the Water5: Start Padding

SUP with a dog

Touring across a lake or river on your SUP is an exhilarating experience. There’s no reason to leave your four-legged family member at home when you pack up the SUP boards and paddles and head off to the river, lake, or even beach. However, you need to have a solid foundation of skills and take the time to train them to feel comfortable before you attempt to stand up paddle board with a dog. 

The more knowledge and experience you learn, the easier and safer it will be for your pup. Here we prepared the ultimate guide about how to paddle board with a dog. Have a fun experience outside with your pet!

SUP with a dog

What You Need to Prepare

  • A right paddle board: When choosing a board, make sure you consider your weight, as well as the weight of your dog. It’s best to look at a board that is least ten feet long and 32 inches wide, which is long and wide to provide ample space for you and your dog.
  • Life jacket: Always have your dog wear a life jacket, no matter how well she swims, since you may find yourself having so much fun that you paddle far from shore. Life Jacket supports dogs as they swim, and the handle makes it easier for you to help get them back on the SUP quickly.
  • Good grip: Some paddle boards may not provide much grip for your dog's paws. Get a paddle board with dog appropriate grip to make sure your buddy doesn’t go sliding off when you hit a wave. Old yoga mats or bath mats with suction cups are great alternatives.
  • Dog snacks and water: if your dog gets excited, anxious, or fidgety, having treats to hand will allow you to reinforce good behavior and calm your dog down. If a dog gets thirsty, he may try to drink over the side of the SUP. Take some fresh water with you and offer it to your dog regularly.

Bring Your Paddle Board in a Comfortable Area

Place your paddle board in an open area of your home where your dog is likely to see it and get curious. Let them sniff and smell it for as long as it takes for them to see it as normal. 

This step will give you a good idea of how easy or difficult it will be to get your dog interested in your paddle board, and help your dog get used to the board and for him to see it as a fun and safe thing that he doesn’t need to be afraid of. The more they walk on it, the more relaxed they will feel around it. This could take a few days.

SUP with a dog

Train Your Dog to Get on and Off the Board

After a week of your dog getting acclimated with your paddle board, it’s time to train your dog to understand to hop on (and off) your board when you want them to. By using commands that will be easy for them to learn and easy for you to remember, they will learn quickly. 

Every time your dog steps on the board, give them the “UP!” command and ample praise, petting, and a treat. Then make sure you give another special command when you ask your dog to get off. Each time he gets a treat when this is done properly. After a while, he should get the hang of it.


Train Your Dog to Sit and Stand on the Board

Once your dog learns to get on and off the board by himself now you can practice sitting and standing on the board with him. When they are sitting on the board at home, use a treat to get them to obey the “sit”and “stay” commands. 

Then try rocking your board back and forth a little bit to imitate being on the water. Most dogs will hop off first time around, but just keep practicing. Reward them with a treat every time they sit quietly with it on. After your dog has passed this test, grab your paddle and mimic paddling so your dog gets used to the motion and the paddle moving around them.

SUP with a dog

Hitting the Water

Once your dog is comfortable and obeys to all the above commands on land it’s time to choose a appropriate padding spot! As with all water sports, check conditions, such as weather, winds and tides before you head out. Then bring your gear and your dog to a calm paddling area, this will make balance much easier for your first time. 

Once it is comfortable near the water, bring the paddle board into the shallows and straddle the board with your dog in their proper position. You can either get on the board first or have your dog get on before you--both methods work. 

SUP with a dog

Start Padding

When you feel that you and your pup are confident, it’s time to start padding! Stay kneeling, and slowly and gently move the paddle board, this will get your dog used to moving. Make sure you have treats with you to reward them, once your dog is happy, move further out and stand up.

Standing and balancing with your dog on the board is a new challenge for both of you. Either one of you could lose your balance and fall off, but it’s a fun experience! Allow the dog to enjoy the novelty of being out on the water, but also make it clear that the shore isn’t far away for the first try. Their body language will clue you in as to when it’s time to call it a day and come back another time for a bit more experience a little at a time.

Taking your dog out stand-up paddle boarding with you can be an awesome outdoor adventure for both you and your pup, the premise is to ensure solid preparation. As with beginners, your dog may take a few attempts to get it right. But if they have been properly trained, they will enjoy being out on the water every bit as much as you do!

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