Dee Bryant from The Dog Effect
Everyone loves spending time outdoors, having fun and keeping fit. Everyone, including your dog! If you have a stand up paddle board or are thinking of ways to spend more time with your dog, consider taking your dog for a paddle. Dogs are constantly entertained on the board. They are excited to see other people paddling and boating, fish swimming or water rippling. They even love jumping on and off for a swim. If you are thinking about taking your dog out on your SUP, consider some basic safety tips to keep both yourself and your dog safe out on the water.
Your dog needs to be comfortable going for a paddle on your SUP. If your dog is frightened and nervous it won’t make for a very fun time, nor is it very safe for your dog. Some dogs jump straight onto the board when it is put in the water, others will need to get used to the SUP before you take him out in the wild blue yonder. Make sure your dog is comfortable in the water and can swim reasonably well. Let your dog run around the SUP board and jump on and off and remember to reward your dog if needed. Once your dog is comfortable, go out for short trips, and increase the length as your dog gains confidence.
2. Weather Conditions
Check the forecast! I don’t recommend taking your dog out on really windy days or in bad weather as it won’t be much fun for either of you. SUPing can be difficult if the wind picks up and you need to take extra steps to get back to shore. This may be difficult if you have your dog with you. Unless your dog knows how to hang 4 on the SUP, choose a day or location with no waves or wind chop. A calm, shallow location will allow you dog to easily get on and off the board without contending with waves.
3. Doggy Life Jacket
There are many reasons why a dog should wear a lifejacket or PFD on the SUP. Most of these will be in situations when your dog comes off the board. Dogs tend to jump off for a swim and SUP boards can become unstable in high winds or around boat wash and board can float away. As mentioned in an article by thedogeffect.com, not all dogs are made for floating. Dogs with round stocky bodies and short snouts may find it difficult to float and breath well after a period in the water. Older dogs or dogs with illnesses will tire quickly and may not have the strength to swim to shore or back to the SUP. Excitable dogs, like little terriers, will keep playing until they drop. You may not realize that these dogs are too tired to swim until it is too late. When choosing your doggy life jacket, ensure it has a handle. This will make lifting your pup back onto the board so much easier if he falls in. Don’t forget your own PFD, a life jacket for both you and your pup will keep you both safe and out on the water longer.
4. SUP Board
Choosing the right board will make SUPing with your pup a lot more enjoyable. Dogs love standing up on the nose of the board but we need to make sure that they are stable and secure. A soft top or tough inflatable board will provide your dog with good grip. If you prefer a hard board, consider a full deck grip for your dog or alternatively, add a stick-on deck grip to the nose area so that he can stand securely and confidently up front.
5. No Leashes
Don’t put a leash on your dog while on the SUP. If you dog falls in, he may become tangled up in the leash and potentially drown. The same goes for board leashes that stop the board from floating away. My preference is to go without it while with your dog. Your dog can easily trip on the leash or becomes tangled and usually ends up tipping you both into the water. Your only challenge now is to keep your dog still while on the board. If you or you dog do fall into the water, your PFD’s will keep you safe until you get back to the board. Get yourself onto the board first, then lift your dog up with the rescue handle on his doggy life jacket.
Good luck and enjoy paddling with your SUP PUP!
Thank you Dee Bryant from The Dog Effect for writing our SUP PUP blog. Check out her blog for more great stuff about dogs!
How to SUP With Your PUP: A guide to stand up paddleboarding with your dog.
Paddle Tails: Reflections on people and dogs who find balance on the water