There are few places that man goes without his best friend, so why should stand up paddle boarding be any different? 🙂 While enjoying the calm waters pup-less is relaxing and reflective, bringing a dog with you can only enhance the experience as you share in the serenity. Here’s a step by step guide of how to make this memory worthwhile:
- Practice SUP’ing yourself first: If you’re not confident on the water yourself both you and your dog will be extra-stressed when you try SUP’ing together, especially because your dog will feel your stress. So first try to gain some experience yourself, take a lesson, go out and rent a paddle board in the Marina and make sure you’re comfortable.
- Pick a dog: Whether your dog or a friend’s (I kid you not, SUP’ing with a dog is so popular that this is not unusual), make sure that the pup first learns a few simple commands (such as “sit”) and find a life jacket that fits him or her well. This way, you can rest assured that your dog will be okay in the case that he or she falls into the water, and also have an easier time scooping ’em out if they fall in! Have the dog practice wearing the life jacket around so he or she will get used to it and comfortable with it. Any dog should be able to SUP with you, regardless of breed, age, or size. A dog might not even like water but be perfectly content on the board!
- A gentle introduction: You want to ensure that your dog’s first impression of the water and paddle board is a positive one. At the beach, allow your pup to stay on shore and watch you having fun paddle boarding nearby at first. Then, try introducing your dog to the board in little steps – first by placing him or her on the board on the sand, and then on the board when it is just in the water, and finally on the board when the board is floating a few feet from shore. Stay with the dog and the board.
- Be patient: Most likely, puppy will not immediately take to the board nor the ocean waves. Don’t pin your dog down and force him or her to stay on the board if the pup wants off, rather allow the dog to slowly get acclimated.
- Begin to SUP together: When your pup seems content, it’s a good time to start SUP’ing. Place the dog on the board (towards the front for smaller dogs, towards the back for larger dogs) and get on yourself, then paddle slowly with your hands out to the ocean. Then, slowly and carefully stand up as you would usually. When you first begin paddling, be careful not to hit your doggy! Also, keep an eye out for birds or animals that your dog might go after so you can get him or her to sit and not fall into the water.
- A few final tips: Check your board – make sure it’s not too slippery so your dog can have a good place to perch on and enjoy the views. Second, dogs can sunburn too! Look into sunscreen for the ears or try to avoid SUP’ing in the middle of the day. Also, bring plenty of fresh water for you and your dog to drink, and maybe a treat to eat.
With a little patience and good waters, stand up paddle boarding with your dog should be a breeze. We wish you a wonderful pup SUP experience!