SUP Pup!  Tips for paddle boarding with your dog

SUP Pup! Tips for paddle boarding with your dog

June 19, 2018 3 Comments

I love my dogs.  I love paddle boarding.  Combining the two is like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup:  Better than its separate parts.  It wasn't always that way, but after a little bit of dog training and trail and error, it's a thing of great enjoyment for me.  Here's some tips to help shortcut finding SUP Pup zen:

  • Always Make Your Dog Wear A Dog Life Jacket

    Most dogs are great swimmers but there's a few reasons behind my recommendation:
    • Getting your dog from the water and onto your SUP can sometimes be a challenge as SUPs can be slippery.  That large handle on the back of the jacket is a life saver.
    • Even dogs that are excellent swimmers can occasionally tire before reaching shore or your paddle board.  When they have a lifejacket on they become more relaxed and can stay afloat should they fizzle out before reaching you.  Always better to be safe than sorry.
    • Lifejackets are typically bright colors making it easier for you and other boaters to see your pup while in the water
    • Many parks require dogs to be on leashes even while in the water.  Attaching the leash to the lifejacket instead of their normal collar is much safer should it get caught on something.
  • Wear Them Out First

    Get your dog a little tired before going paddle boarding.  Excited dogs on paddle boards equal you in the water.  Bring a water toy to play with for a few minutes before beginning your journey to get some of that restless energy out.  Your pup will be more likely to sit or lay on the board which makes the trip more enjoyable for you and him.
  • Give Them Something To Grip

    Make sure your board has a non-slip pad for your dog's claws and feet to grab onto.  SUPs are notoriously slippery.  Especially composite boards so either buy one with a good non-slip surface or install an aftermarket pad or bungie an old carpet or rubber shower mat to the surface.
  • Trim Nails

    Trim their nails before heading out so they don't scratch up your board when trying to get on.
  • Dog Leash - Yes.  Your Leash - Maybe  

    As previously stated many parks require dogs to be on leashes at all times.  It's also recommended that when paddling a SUP on a lake to wear an ankle or calf leash yourself to keep your board close to you should you fall off.  These two concepts can be at odds with one another as these leashes can get tangled causing a dangerous situation.  If it's windy out where there's a greater chance my board would blow away should I fall, I'll use my leash.  If it's calm, I leave it int the car.  Use your best judgement.  Remember to never tie your dog's leash to anything.  I recommend standing on it while you paddle making it easy to release should a need arise.
  • Bring water and a water bowl 

    You and your dog will get thirsty and lake water isn't always something you want your dog drinking.  As a result, bring some water and preferably a bowl that floats.
  • Anticipate The Jump

    Go down to your knees whenever you near shore or other dogs are present.  Dogs get excited and will often jump off your board as you near shore.  If you don't want to go sailing should this occur, I'd get to a good stable knee position before they get too excited
  • Practice With Your Dog

    Like other dog training a little training goes a long way.  Start on shore and get your dog to be comfortable standing on the board.  Gradually move to the water and get your dog comfortable on the board with you standing in shallow water next to it.  Progress onto having him climb on with you kneeling on the board and eventually stand and begin paddling.  Work diligently on teaching him to stay until you give a release command to minimize unexpected jumping off.  If you're dog trains best with treats, make sure you bring some that can get wet along.

I hope these tips encourage you to bring your dog paddle boarding and give you the knowledge to get up and paddling quickly.  Your dogs will love it.  I know my two Aussies do!

What tips do you have?



    3 Responses


    February 14, 2019

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    January 30, 2019

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    November 02, 2018

    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, indeed! :) Thanks so much for helping to educate dog owners on the importance of SUP pup safety — it’s definitely an area that the paddling community needs to increase awareness on.

    I think our SUP pup safety infographic is a nice compliment to this piece and wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Happy paddling!

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