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Dog Adventures, Stand Up Paddle Boarding with Your Dog


Woman stand up paddle boarding with her dogs

Searching for a new water activity to try with your dog? Check out stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Not only is SUP easy to learn, but it's also incredibly fun and it's a great exercise. And if you're a dog lover like us, check this out! Combining your love for dogs and the water, stand-up paddle boarding with your dog offers the ultimate adventure.

Getting in the water with your dog is an inherently risky activity that has the potential to result in serious injury or death. We take no responsibility for any safety risks or issues arising from participating in activities discussed in this article and recommend consulting a qualified veterinarian before starting any activity with your pet. You should always practice water sports safety measures, closely monitor your pet during all activities, and never leave your pet unsupervised in or near water. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and we recommend seeking professional advice from a qualified veterinarian before engaging in any activity with your pet. We are not liable for any injury or death that results from following the advice described in this article. This content is not medical advice and should not replace consultation with a physician or veterinarian.


 

Benefits of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding With Your Dog


There are plenty of benefits to stand-up paddle boarding with your pup. You and your pup will also get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, which is important for their overall health.

Physical

-Get a great workout together -Low-impact exercise -Improve balance and core stability -Burn Calories -Build strength and muscle tone

Mental

-Explore new sights and smells -Build dog's confidence in new environments -Meet new people

Bonding

-Build trust as working as a team in the water -Promotes socialization

Explore

-Explore new areas and experience nature together -Navigate through narrow waterways and discover hidden spots that may not be accessible by foot or boat

Environmental

-Paddle boarding instead of motorized water activities, you're reducing your carbon footprint -Many SUP companies are committed to sustainability and eco-friendliness


 

Prep for Taking Your Dog Stand-Up Paddle Boarding


Dog on a stand up paddle board on Mission Bay in San Diego

Check out our list of required gear and introduce it to your dog at home before heading out to the water; you can use treats or fun interactive games on top of the board to help with getting them comfortable with it. Before heading out on your adventure, make sure your dog has their basic training commands down. You should also make sure that your dog is already comfortable in and around the water. You'll want to do some research on your SUP'ing location and make sure it's both dog-friendly and a good fit for you and your pup. Lastly, you'll want to review safety tips and considerations to ensure yours and your dog's safety on the water.


Essential Gear for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding With Your Dog


To get started with stand-up paddle boarding with your dog, you'll need a few essential items:


Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Board

Paddle

Lifejacket

Leash & Harness

Dog Identification

Sun Protection

Water & Treats

Poop Bags

Safety Whistle

First Aid Kit


The costs for this equipment can get pretty high, and if you’re just testing the waters, you can always rent the gear. If you are in the San Diego area, West Coast Paddle Board Rentals is a great place to get some gear, and best of all, you can reserve your gear in advance!


Training Tips Before Going SUPing With Your Dog


Before heading out on your SUP adventure, make sure your dog has their basic commands down (you should always use positive reinforcement training techniques).

Basic Commands

-Stay & Wait -Leave It -Drop It -Come (Recall)

Gear Acclimation

-Introduce at home -Use treats to get them to go on the board -Walk the neighborhood in their lifejacket -Let them sniff/check out the paddle

Water Confidence

-Make sure your dog is comfortable in water before going SUP'ing -Use a kiddie pool and gradually build up to larger bodies of water -At the SUP location, practice going in and out of water at first without the board


Finding a Dog-Friendly Spot to Go Stand-Up Paddle Boarding With Your Dog


Two women stand up paddle boarding with their dogs

There are a few things to consider when choosing a SUP destination with your dog. First, think about your pup's energy level and swimming ability. It’s always recommended that when SUP’ing with your dog that you stick to flat/calm water. Also, keep in mind your dog’s comfort level: you should consider a spot that’s less congested than normal if your dog does not do well in large crowds. Lastly, always check the water temperature. Just like humans, dogs can get hypothermia. Check out this terrific blog post by the AKC on water safety tips for dogs.


To find dog-friendly areas near you, start with a simple internet search. Many websites like BringFido allow users to search for pet-friendly activities and locations in their area, including places to paddle board with dogs. You can also check out social media groups or forums dedicated to stand-up paddle boarding or dog owners in your local area for recommendations.



Most municipalities will have rules and regulations posted online. Once you get on the city/town's site, hit CTRL+F (or Command-F on a Mac) and type in "dog" or "pet". This is usually enough to find the area where the site discusses rules and regulations for dogs.


Bodies of Water to go SUP'ing

Lakes and Calm Bays

-Usually calmer than oceans or rivers -Good option for dogs who are new to paddle boarding -Many have designated dog beaches or areas where your dog can take a break and play in the water

Rivers

-More challenging -Research current hazards -Not recommended for beginners

Beaches

-Most challenging with waves -Not recommended for beginners

Paddle Boarding Tours

-Some companies offer guided tours -Great for beginners -Explore new areas


Places to explore across the U.S.


Here are some favorite places to SUP with dogs across the United States. Expand each one to learn more about it.


Mission Bay, San Diego California

Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

The Florida Keys

Puget Sound, Washington


Safety Tips and Considerations When Stand-Up Paddle Boarding With Your Dog


As with any new activity, it's essential to keep your dog's safety in mind when paddle boarding together. Here are some tips and considerations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your pup:


  • Always Use a Life Jacket

    • Regardless of the size or swimming ability of your dog, always make them wear a life jacket while paddle boarding. This will not only keep them safe in case they fall off the board, but it also makes it easier to spot and rescue them if needed.

  • Start Slow

    • Introduce your dog to paddle boarding gradually in a controlled environment before heading out onto the water.

  • Use Positive Reinforcement

    • Reward your dog with treats and praise when they exhibit good behavior on the board. This will help them associate paddle boarding with positive experiences.

  • Monitor Weather Conditions

    • Keep an eye on the weather before and during your paddle boarding trip. If there are strong winds, storms, or rough waters, it's best to postpone your adventure for another day.

  • Stay Close to Shore

    • Stick to shallow waters and stay close to shore, especially if it's your dog's first time paddle boarding.

  • Consider Your Dog's Comfort

    • Some dogs may not enjoy paddle boarding or may become anxious on the water. Pay attention to their body language and behavior, and if they seem uncomfortable or scared, it's best to end the trip.

  • Have a Plan for Emergencies

    • Just like with any outdoor activity, it's essential to be prepared for emergencies. Make sure to have a first aid kit and know the location of the nearest veterinarian in case of an accident or injury.


 

SUP'ing With Your Dog


Woman on a paddle board with her dog

You got the gear, your dog is trained, you've brushed up on safety tips, and you've found the perfect place to SUP! Now what?


  1. Be sure to enter the water where it is shallow enough for you and your dog's legs to touch the bottom and be able to safely climb on the paddle board. Also, be sure that your entry point is calm and free of any waves or wakes.

  2. Start off slowly to allow them to adjust to the rocking motion of the paddle board before attempting any sudden movements.

  3. Practice paddling in a nearby area before heading out to deeper waters. This will also give your dog the chance to become comfortable with being on the board and feel more secure.

  4. Take your time getting used to the pace of being on a board and make sure both you and your pup are comfortable before heading out into deeper water.

  5. For the first couple of times SUP'ing with your dog, it's ok to stay on your knees. This will allow you to be closer to your pup and may provide a better sense of comfort. Once your dog has become acclimated, you can slowly stand up on the board.

  6. When you're out on the water, make sure to keep an eye on your dog at all times. Avoid any areas with strong currents or hazards that may be dangerous for your dog.

  7. Don't forget to take breaks and give your pup some rest time on the board. And don't forget to bring treats! They can be a great way to calm an anxious pup or reward them for overcoming behavioral challenges in the water.

  8. After each paddle boarding session, be sure to rinse your dog off with fresh water to remove any bacteria or saltwater residue. Your dog's safety and comfort should always be a top priority during this adventure.


 

Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding With Your Dog Today!


Woman hugging her dog on a paddle board