Paddle boarding is a brilliant activity for all ages and abilities, however you may be hesitant to start a new hobby if it means that you have to leave your four legged friend at home. Luckily that is not the case, infact paddle boarding with your pet pooch is a fun way to explore stunning aquatic locations.
It may not always be easy to take your dog paddle boarding, but with some preparation and work you can make it possible. The key to taking a dog on a successful paddleboarding trip is to make your dog feel settled on the paddle board and calm when surrounded by water. For a dog to be comfortable on a paddleboard, you need to be comfortable paddling at a stable speed so as not to scare your dog. You should have learned how to paddleboard comfortably by yourself before attempting to take your dog paddle boarding.
There are some things that you should take into consideration before preparing your dog for a paddle board. Firstly, your dog should already be comfortable and proficient at swimming, so that if they fall off the board they will be able to stay afloat. Your dog should be well behaved and able to follow your commands. Finally, they shouldn’t take you over the weight limit of your paddle board. If your dog clears all of these parameters, you can then begin preparing man’s best friend for a trip on the water.
The key bit of equipment when paddleboarding with a dog is the board itself. You have to make sure the paddle board you own is the right size to accommodate both yourself and your dog. If you have a large dog, such as a Bernard or a German Shepherd, it will not easily fit on a regularly sized paddle board and you will have to do a bit of research for a larger paddle board.
Once you have purchased a suitable board, there is another important piece of equipment to own. A flotation device for your dog such as a dog buoyancy aid. Whilst your dog may be able to swim, falling off a paddleboard can be quite a shock to a dog, making it hard to get them back on the board. A floatation device often has a handle on the back of it, which allows you to easily lift your dog out of the water rather than trying to grab it by its wet fur.
Having a paddleboard that your dog can fit on, and a floatation device to keep it safe, is only one side of the equation. You have to train them to paddleboard.
The first stage is to help your dog acclimatise to your paddleboard. Place your paddle board in a place within your house near the dog so they can become familiar with it. During this time you need to train your dog to get on and off the board at your command. When you can trust your dog to listen to you and stay relatively still when you are out on the water, your dog is then ready for a trip in the great outdoors.
Before you take on a grand expedition, make sure your dog can sit carefully on a paddleboard and listen to your instructions in the shallow water. This step may take a while, as a dog is understandably distracted by their new and exciting environment.
There are a few things you should do before your trip to make sure everything goes to plan.
You should remember to trim your dog’s claws so that they are short and smooth. This will prevent them piercing the board, or causing any damages such as scratches or tears to the deck of the paddleboard.
Take your dog for a brisk walk or run if they have loads of energy before a paddle boarding adventure. You want them to be relaxed rather than wanting to bound off into the surroundings. Paddle boarding may be a great session of exercise for you, but it is an act of patience for your dog.
Put suncream on your dog. Paddleboarding can end up being a whole day out in the sun if you have the right conditions and the time to spend, and whilst this may be incredibly enjoyable, it also puts your dogs at risk. Dogs can burn like any person can, and they are at greater risk when on the water because the sun’s UV rays bounce off the water whilst you are paddleboarding. To protect them, you can find special dog friendly suncreams, which you should apply to exposed areas of fur.
To make your trip a success, start with a short adventure and keep your dog engaged with lots of compliments if they are behaving well on the board. Once they are comfortable with this, you can build on your experiences from there. Many paddle boarders happily take their four legged friends on grand trips across lakes or on coastal adventures out at sea!
We hope you can share your enjoyment of paddleboarding successfully with your dogs!