Tuesday 15 September 2020

The Complete Guide to Paddle Boarding with Dogs

Paddle boarding with Sev & Lily is one of the best things that I started, it's the perfect mix of adventure and fun but so calming and tranquil too.

Complete Guide to Paddle Boarding with Dogs

- Dog life jacket with a handle [we like Ruffwear & Hurrta]
- GoPro or other waterproof camera
- SUP [We've got a Bluefin, see our full review of it here]

The Complete Guide to Paddle Boarding with Dogs

To Start...

Knowing basic commands like "sit" and "down" can really help get started with getting your dogs used to the board, it can also help once you're out on the board too.

Get your dog used to the SUP on land, everything about it, from pumping it up, the equipment, the noises [deflating can be super loud] and having the bag on your back. 
Once it's pumped up [on land] get them to walk around it and over it, sit on it with them and really introduce positive training when they touch it or sit & stand on it. Treats and toys will obviously be great for this, always praise before they get too worried to end on a good note. Sometimes this can take time to build up, so don't spend too long at it each time, 5-10mins at a time work great. 

Make sure you're confident to SUP, not worrying about yourself whilst the dogs are learning will really help their confidence too. Don't get me wrong, I don't ever stand up when I've got both Sev & Lily on the board, you don't need to be a pro, however be confident with paddling, moving, standing. 

Once you've worked up the confidence with small training sessions on the house or garden, it's great to do a dry run. Head to a near by lake or water space where you plan to paddle. Set up, wear what you would on the water, life jackets on and ready to go.... only difference is that you don't. 
The Complete Guide to Paddle Boarding with Dogs

Preparing your pup to SUP...

Trim those nails! It's so obvious, however always one that's missed. it can save your legs & clothes and the board itself. No damage to humans or the SUP. 

The day you decide to go out, I highly recommended trying to tire your pup out first. Go for a long walk or get the ball out [and Lily will be your best friend forever!] This will help them keep calm and stay on the board more.

Get your dog to jump on and off the board (land to board) whilst you're holding it still will be a great way for them to get the balance of the SUP on the water. I generally find Sev & Lily are super balanced, so this was pretty easy for them, and now they will rush on as soon as it's on the water. 

Bring treats! Remember they may be a little weird & worrying for them at the start, treating good behaviour is the best way to build up confidence more and more. 
The Complete Guide to Paddle Boarding with Dogs

How to Paddle board with your Dog

1. Get on the board first, sitting down and praise them on to it with you. Let them know it's fun and enjoyable to be on it- they'll want to join you! 

2. Don't stop them from getting off, never force them to be on the board. 

3. Paddle sat down or on your knee's, when it's just me & the dogs on the board I use the kayak seat which is great for this and super comfortable. You'll get into the flow easier and get the dogs used to being on it, whilst everyone is generally more stable. 

4. Space you and your pup out on the board, this is really handy to know if you're actually standing. The back 3rd is great for bigger dogs and the small dogs to go at the nose of the SUP. When we're sat down, Sev is usually up at the back with me, sat on my lap or near my legs and Lily is right at the front getting full ear flaps going. 

5. Keep the first time short and sweet, build up longer each time you go. If you're on holiday, maybe go once in the morning and once in the evening, but give some time in between. Remember loads of praise, treats & toys once they get off- we need to sell them that this is the best fun ever!

6. Be prepared to go in! It might not happen, but it's likely you will when starting out. If the board is understandable your dog may just jump [or fall] in, causing you to do the same. 

7. If they jump off, help them back on the board. This is why a life jacket with handles are great to have. Safely getting your pup back up and not damaging the board with scratching claws panicking to get back on. 

8. Be patient! It can take time, and not every dog will feel comfortable or happy enough straight away, that's why it's so important to slowly work your way up. Patience with yourself and your dog will go far when paddle boarding with dogs.
The Complete Guide to Paddle Boarding with Dogs

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