Stand up paddleboarding is awesome! And stand up paddleboarding with your dog is even more awesome! Here some tips that I have employed to be moderately successful in my SUP-ing adventures with my dogs:
- Take it slow and keep it shallow. I had a lab that loved water and I now have an alaskan husky sleddog who has grown to love the water. In both cases I took the time to acclimate them to riding on the board in shallow water so they could get used to getting on and off comfortably.
- My board has a grippy pad from tip to tail of the board which is not the case for all paddleboards. It can be really challenging for your pup to have traction if your board does not have a pad at the front end. Fortunately there are some companies who make after-market pads you can put on the board for your dog.
- Use a dog pfd, preferably with a handle. It helps keep your dog from getting too tired in the water and, most importantly, gives you something to grab onto to help them up and out of the water and onto the board. I have used the Ruffwear Float Coat with great success.
- Once your pup is on the board with you the most important thing is getting them centered on the paddleboard and staying as still as possible. Those are both things you can work on off the board at home. 'Sit', 'Stay', and 'Hadley please don't move I'm trying to balance!' are commands I use all. the. time. 🙂
Have so much fun out there with your pup! Here's a picture of me and my lab, Cooper, looking like the true prince he was :). Happy paddling!