Its summertime and you want to spend your day in the sun. Many ideas are running through your head, and you settle on paddleboarding.
Why? Probably because it is a fun way of enjoying the scenery plus the cold water splashing against your body would help you forget about the scorching sun.
It is also a sure way of spending time and bonding with your family, and this is where a challenge arises. What if you have a dog, and you need to go paddleboarding out of town?
Do you leave him alone at home unattended, or you take him with you?
Of course, the latter is the better option, only that your canine friend would have to go in the water at some point.
If you have no idea how to go about this process, this article is here to educate you on how you can go paddling with your dog safely.
PS: If you’d like to discover the best SUP Paddleboards on the market head you can head to this article we recently wrote.
SUP With Your Dog: Some Tips
Let us start by briefly mentioning the essential things that you need as you go surfing with your pooch.
Well, this is obvious, but we just thought we should mention that if you want to learn how to paddle with your dog, you have to bring him with you on the trip.
Get the Ideal Board for the Occasion
In your search for the best paddleboard for the occasion, you need to factor in your weight as well as that of your pet’s.
You need a board that stable enough to support both or more of you, and therefore we suggest that the dimensions should be at least 10ft long by 32-inches wide.
These measurements are the most likely to assure you of stability in the water.
Keep in mind that these figures vary with the weight of the dog.
The Dog’s Life Jacket
We always assume that dogs are natural-born swimmers, but paddle boarding is a whole new concept that may bring confusion to the pooch’s head.
Therefore, it is wise to be on the safe side and get the jacket, which is a perfect fit for your pooch.
Check the Board’s Surface Grip
Most paddles have a poor surface grip such that the dog would easily slide off when you encounter a wave. Therefore, try and get a board with a full deck pad or an extended deck pad.
Additionally, you could also go for an old yoga mat with suction pads as a source of a good grip for your board.
A Dry Bag
This would help you to safely store away some accessories that you have brought with you for the trip, including keys, wallets, Cellphones, among others.
These would serve as a way of motivating your pet to go through the paddling lesson, and also help in keeping him busy during the breaks.
Hat, Sunscreen, and Sunglasses
You are going to need all the protection you can get from the blazing sun to ensure your eyes and skin remain unscathed at the end of the day.
Note that the dog also needs some sunscreen for the ears, nose, and belly.
An entire day in the sun requires that you keep hydrating your body regularly to ensure that it continues functioning normally.
Although all paddle boards are dog-friendly, some are more suited to the pooches than others.
Therefore, we recommend that you try out the following boards, which we believe would be the best for your canine friends: Soft Tops, Inflatables, and Epoxy.
Preparation for the Paddle Boarding
We are now going to guide you on the necessary steps you need to take to ensure that your paddle boarding experience with your dog is as simple and enjoyable as possible.
>Ensure Your Dog is a Good Swimmer
As we stated earlier, not all dogs are natural-born swimmers. These breeds like the bulldogs which possess a complicated body structure that does not allow them to be comfortable swimmers.
If you face such an issue, ensure that you have a life jacket on stand-by. Additionally, also check that the paddleboard is a good fit and stable enough to support your pooch without tilting over or sinking.
>Familiarize Your Dog with the Paddle Board
To achieve this, we advise you to leave the paddleboard in the dog’s sleeping area for a week or so. This way, your dog should explore the board more and learn how to get on and off on its own.
This would arouse its interest in the board and in the end, become more comfortable with it.
>Training Your Dog to Hop On/Off the Board
This part requires your pet to be a very obedient animal. Start by placing a piece of your dog’s treat on the board, ideally between you and the tip of the board before instructing your dog to jump on to the board and eat the snack.
As soon he executes this command, give him another piece of the treat as a form of reward.
Then, come up with another special command instructing the dog to get off the board. Give him another reward if he obeys the command. Repeat this procedure several times until you are satisfied that everything is perfect.
Remember to take things slow until you are sure that your dog is comfortable, hoping on and off the board when required to do so.
>Train on Standing and Board Paddling with your Dog
In this step, take your paddle board outside and place it on a flat surface. Then, repeat the same procedure of commanding your dog to get on the board and rewarding him when he does so.
You should also rock the board forward and backward repeatedly as it would in the water. It would be normal for the dog to jump off scared at this point, but after several attempts, he should be comfortable enough to stay put.
>Test the Waters
Now, head over to the closest water spot for some practical lessons. Place your board close to the water or on the shallow part and repeat the above steps until you are sure that your dog is comfortable around or on water.
If you feel like there is nothing more to teach your dog, that is an indication that the time for the real thing has arrived.
Paddle Boarding With Your Dog
After all the familiarization and practicing, now is the time to hit the water and have some fun with your canine pal. You should first step on the board alone while leaving the dog at the shore. Do your best to keep him calm so that he does not get spooked out or feel abandoned.
Then, keep the board on the shallow part of the water and command your dog to get on board, just as you had practiced. Ensure the board is still since the wavy movement may scare him off. If you notice he is uncomfortable, allow him to jump off at this point.
When you are both comfortably onboard, start paddling slowly while on your knees, as this is the sure way of getting the ideal balance to get you going.
Slowly stand up and keep the dog between or close to your feet. This is to enable you to master how to paddle without hitting your dog.
Later on, you can allow the dog to sit in front of you on the board, ideally at the nose. In the case of a heavier dog, you can let him occupy a third of the back area so that you can get a proper weight distribution for the purpose of balance.
Try and keep the first time out as short as possible. This is a new experience for the canine, and you should be prepared for anything.
While at the shore, ensure you reward him with treats as a way of praising him for a job well done.
Other Points to Note
The first thing is that you should always expect your dog to jump off the board at any time, and this may destabilize you as well. Therefore, to be on the safe side, only stand on your board when you are in the deeper waters.
This would prevent any chance of you bumping your head on a rock or any other similar item.
Any time your dog jumps into the water, try and help him back on board. If you let him struggle on his own, he is likely to scratch off the board’s finishing and make it an eyesore.
Safety Tips for Board Paddling with your Dog
We thought it wise to give you some vital pointers, which would ensure that you and your pooch come out of the paddling trip in one piece.
A First Aid Kit
In case of soft injuries, this kit would ensure that you do not have to come ashore for the light treatment.
You could also use some contents of the kit to hold together any of the paddling equipment, which may have small damages while in the waters.
Kneeling and Standing
When you are not in the open water, only kneel as a fall in areas such as docks, around boats, or people could prove to be catastrophic.
Rinsing after the Paddling
To prevent your dog from experiencing the irritation brought about by salty water, ensure you rinse the pet adequately with fresh water.
Not only do you need to wash off the salt but the sand as well, which the pet would have picked up from the beach.
A beach is an enjoyable place for the dog, but it also poses some risks which you need to watch out for.
For instance, your dog could come into contact with jellyfish or sea lice, which may cause irritations that make the pet uncomfortable.
The beach sand also gets really hot on sunny days, and it would be wise if you could find some shade to keep him safe.
Other Vital Tips
There are some additional tips which you should keep at your fingertips for a satisfactory paddleboarding with your pooch.
Tire Out Energetic Canines Before the Paddling
A tired dog would simply relax once they get on the board. Various ways through which you could tire out the pet include swimming, a game of fetch, or an appropriate toy that would keep him busy.
Trim the Nails
Sharp nails are one of the reasons why a paddling board wears out easily and becomes slippery. Therefore, keep the claws short and also tidy up the feet to keep the board in good condition.
Chances are there will be many dogs at the beach, and as you know, they are always spoiling for a fight. Therefore, if you wish to avoid getting into such a mess, find a way of restraining your dog such that you can control its movement.
On top of that, ensure that you keep your dog closer to you so that he does not go off invading other people’s personal space.
The American Canoe Association (ACA) recommends that you leave the dog’s leash at the docks since when on the board, it can easily get tangled in some rocks in the water and throw your canine into the water.
Keep your Dog out of the Car
In the soaring summer heat, if you leave your pet unattended in the vehicle, it could easily get a heat stroke.
Therefore, leave your dog outside, or if you have to keep it in the car, ensure that all the windows are rolled down.
SUP with Dog: Wrapping It Up
Paddleboarding is a fun activity, especially when you bring a friend on board, a dog in our case. If you prepare adequately for the occasion, then you should not have any complaints at the end of the day.
Ensure that you bring with you anything that you may need for the trip so that you do not have unnecessary stoppages.
Above all, safety comes first, and you should do your best so that you and your canine friend can come back from the trip in one piece.
Heads Up! Here’s our review of the leading paddles that you can enjoy using with your dog.