A Stand Up Paddleboard, (SUP), has become a popular piece of recreational equipment. SUPs come in inflatable models, popular because they are easily transported, and solid models which are ready to go. If you have a water-loving dog, or just a dog that loves to be with you, you can teach your dog to sit on your SUP and go paddleboarding with you!
Any dog can learn to sit on a paddleboard, even dogs that are not fond of water. These non-water-loving canines will just need to learn to stay put on the board to avoid getting wet, and you may need to provide some extra guidance so your dog understands that he is not going in the water, but on it! Remember, there are some flat nosed barrel-chested dogs that are not good natural swimmers and all dogs, especially non-swimming dogs, may need some protection in the way of a doggie flotation devices in case they end up in the water. A little patience and balance is all it takes to teach your dog to sit on a paddleboard and accompany you on your boarding adventures.
While teaching your dog to sit on a paddleboard so he can accompany you on the water, be sure to make it a fun experience. Do not push your dog or lose patience if he is reticent or has trouble getting his balance at first, as this will only create a negative association with the paddleboard. It is a good idea for you to be comfortable and balanced on a paddleboard before introducing your dog so you don't inadvertently dump your dog in the drink, and so you are more resistant to movements your dog may make on the board while he is learning to sit and stay still on the SUP.
You can teach your dog to go into shallow water and jump on an SUP or, if your pup is not fond of getting his paws wet, you may want to carry him and place him on the board. It will be important that your dog is willing to be carried and placed on the board--he should never feel forced or trapped. Teaching your dog to sit in a designated spot on the paddleboard and remain still is necessary to avoid making the board unstable and tipping you and your dog overboard. Exiting the SUP can also be done by giving your dog a command to jump off the SUP in shallow water, or again, by picking up your dog and carrying him to shore. Your method will depend on your dog's comfort with water. If your dog loves water and is highly motivated to jump into the water, teaching him to remain still on the SUP may be your challenge, rather than motivating him to go out on the water. You will have to work with your dog to determine what challenges he faces in learning to sit and ride quietly on a paddleboard.
Paddleboards can be hot! Your dog is exposed to the sun, with no shelter, and a dog can easily become overheated when paddleboarding, so be sure to limit sun exposure while paddleboarding with sunscreen and short trips, perhaps earlier or later in the day. Also, bring fresh water and a container to drink from; saltwater is not drinkable, and lake water may contain harmful algae or parasites.
You should not have your dog leashed on the SUP as a leash can become tangled around your dog in an accident, and your dog could drown. It is recommended that you use an appropriately fitting PFD for your dog with a handle that you can use to scoop your dog out of the water if necessary. Get your dog used to wading into the water, swimming, and wearing his PDF prior to training to sit on a SUP.
Make sure you have a stable, appropriately sized board at least 10 feet in length, for an adult and dog. The board should have rubber padding for your dog to stand and sit on, to give him a good grip. If it does not, you can purchase a mat for dogs to sit on while on the SUP, which attaches to your board, or rig one yourself with a bath mat that has suction cups.