Stand up paddleboarding is a great summertime activity, and it’s one that your dog can participate in with you, too. But before you head out on the water, there’s some important training that you need to do to ensure that paddleboarding is an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.
Introduce Your Board
Before you even hit the water, introduce your paddleboard to your dog in the comfort of your own home. Bring the board inside and put it on the floor. Leave the board there for a few days so that it becomes a part of your dog’s environment.
Brush Up on Obedience Cues
Before working with your dog on the board, brush up on his obedience training. Your dog should know and readily respond to the cues for come, sit, stay, and down. These cues will all be useful for stand up paddleboarding. If your dog needs a refresher on his training, consider taking some dog training classes.
Train Your Dog to Get Onto and Off of the Board
You will need to create a command for your dog to get onto and off of the board. It’s important that your dog understands and responds to these commands, especially once you get out onto the water. Practice these commands with the board in your house. Once you ask your dog to get onto the board, then ask him to sit or lie down and stay. Your dog should only get off of the board when you give him the command to do so.
Test the Waters
Before you combine the paddleboard with water, you should get a sense of how your dog feels about swimming and the water in general. If your dog has never been swimming before, then you will want to introduce him to water gradually – a quiet pond can be the perfect environment to do this.
It is also advisable that when you take your dog paddleboarding, he wears a life vest to keep him safe in case you tip over. Start getting your dog used to wearing the life vest by taking him swimming while he wears it. It may take a few sessions for your dog to get comfortable with the vest, so be patient.
Give Paddleboarding a Shot
It’s time – you and your dog are ready to give stand up paddleboarding a shot. Take things slow and keep the experience positive – if your dog is uneasy about getting on and staying on the board, then stay on the land until he is comfortable with the board’s movement.
When you paddleboard with your dog, never tie him onto the board; it is better that he is able to swim freely if you tip over. Remember to bring along plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink, and watch him for signs of stress, like excessive panting. Your first paddleboarding sessions will probably be short, but in time you and your dog should be able to enjoy this fun pastime together.