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Paddleboarding With a Pooch [ How To & Benefits ]

So, you want to bring your dog to paddleboard with you. You see it all the time in movies and commercials.

But, can you paddle board with a dog for real? How do you even train your dog to keep its balance on the board? Well, fellow paddle boarder that is exactly what I’ll be talking about in this article.  

You can definitely take your dog on a paddle boarding adventure. However, you have to take some serious preparations like selecting the right paddle board, training the dog, and taking some safety measures. 

In this article, I will talk about what makes a paddle board dog-friendly, and how you can prepare your dog for the adventure.

So, keep reading this article to find out all the tips and tricks for paddle boarding with your pooch.

How To Make a Paddle Board Dog Friendly?

The first step you should take is selecting the perfect paddle board for your dog. You may already have a paddle board, but you have to make it dog-friendly.

There are a few things you have to keep in mind before choosing a paddle board.

Size of the Paddle Board

A 10 to 12 feet long paddle board will be a good choice for paddle boarding with a dog. You will not be alone, so the board has to be large enough for both of you. 

Also, both you and your dog should have enough space to stand on the board when you are gliding over a lake or a river.

So, you need a wider board than usual. You should consider buying a 32- to 33-inch-wide SUP. 

Weight Capacity

Paddle boards from many well-known companies specify the maximum weight capacity. They can carry up to 50 to 275 pounds depending on the size and quality.

The stand-up paddle board you are choosing should carry your and your companion’s weight. 

So, you should know how much your dog weighs and add it to your weight. Then, buy a SUP that can carry both of your weights.

If a paddle cannot carry the weight, it will not move smoothly on the water. Moreover, it has a high chance of sinking.

As a result, the paddle boarding experience with your dog will be horrible. 

Having Grip Pad

The surface of the paddle board has to be non-slippery, and your dog should be able to have a strong grip on it.

So, get a board that is fully padded or partially padded with materials like Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA)

EVA is not only non-slippery material but also durable. It will not get easily cracked by saltwater or UV rays.

You can also use other materials for making your paddle board dog-friendly. If you have a yoga mat, you can use it as a pad. 

It is recommended to have a fully padded board because dogs are unpredictable, and they may not want to stand in one place all the time. 

Buy A Life Jacket for Your Dog

A dog-friendly paddle board will definitely make sure you and your dog get the best waterboarding experience.

But, as I have said, dogs can be unpredictable, and accidents can happen. So, buy a life jacket for your dog.

Your dog might jump into the water, or your board can sink. Hence, a life jacket will make sure that your dog floats on the water.

Many dog life jackets have handles on them. So, if your dog slips off the board, you can pull it back on the board. 

How To Train Your Dog to Paddle Board with You?

Your dog may love you and follow you everywhere. But do not expect it to jump on the paddle board just because you want it to follow.

You have to be patient because the experience of paddle boarding is new to your dog. 

Therefore, you have to be smart about training your dog for the new experience. Here are some steps to train your dog and prepare it for the adventure:

Introducing the Paddle Board

First, the dog should be familiarized with the paddle board. Get the board out of the storage, or the corner. Put it in a place where your dog stays most of the time.

Let the dog explore it on its own. It can sniff the board and lick it, but be careful that it does not do any serious damage to the board.

Give your dog some time to be familiar with the new thing. It can take days to get comfortable. So, introduce the board at least one to two weeks before your paddle boarding plans. 

Keep Treats Around the Paddle Board

Sometimes dogs can be stubborn. Even though you have put the board in a familiar place, the dog may not show any interest.

In this case, you can put some treats around the paddleboard. You can also lay it down and put the treats on the board. 

Then, the dog will get on the board to eat the treat. This way, the dog will get familiar with the board quite easily.

Whenever your dog sees the board, it will feel happy and will not hesitate to ride on it.  

Paddle Board on Dry Land 

When the dog gets familiar with the board, you should bring the board outside and do a mock paddle boarding test on the ground with your dog.

Also, your dog has to be familiar with the life jacket. Put on both of your life jackets even if you are pretending to paddle on dry land. 

Since dogs like to follow their owners, you should show how enthusiastic you are about riding the paddle board. Get on the board and see if your dog follows you.

If it does not follow you, you can put some dog treats on the board. The dog will surely get on the board then. 

Spend some time on the SUP with your dog fake paddling so that the dog gets acquainted with your motion on the board.

Do the mock practices several times until your dog is ready to practice on the water.  

Teaching Commands 

Your dog must know a few basic commands already. If it has not learned how to follow any commands yet, then you should start teaching some basic commands as soon as possible.

Otherwise, paddle boarding will be difficult for both of you. 

You must start mastering the basic commands like ‘stay’, ‘sit’, ‘come’ and ‘watch me’. These commands will help you to make the dog follow you.

Besides, you can calm down excited dogs by practicing the ‘down’ command.  

Treat for Good Behaviors

Dogs love their treats. It encourages them to behave the way you want them to behave. Whenever your dog follows a command correctly, give them a treat. 

For example, you command it to get on the board, and it follows the command. You should give it some treats.

Again, command it to stay and if it stays still for a while, give some more treats. It is better if you learn about your dog’s favorite food so that it feels more encouraged to follow you. 

Preparations Before Paddle Boarding with Your Dog

Now that you have learned to train your little buddy, you should take some other preparations before paddle boarding.

Being prepared beforehand is important because it can help you to face some unexpected challenges. 

Here is what you can do:

Practice Paddle Boarding 

You must have excellent skills in paddle boarding if you are planning to take someone else with you.

Other people can handle a lot of things on their own when they are on the board with you, but a dog is different. It will need your support and care on the board. 

So, if you have not mastered the skill of paddle boarding, you will not be able to help your dog in a time of any misfortune.

This is why you should practice on the new board by yourself for a while before taking your dog with you. Learn how to stand up steadily, paddle, and turn on the board. 

Taking your dog in the water without much practice will not give you a pleasant experience. Instead, you and your pooch can face some unwanted situations.  

Take Your Dog Swimming 

Animals like dogs and cats usually do not like water. So, suddenly taking them to a place surrounded by water can be a traumatizing feeling for them.

Hence, you should take your dog swimming with you to make it comfortable in the water.

Again, you may think all dogs are naturally good swimmers. You are wrong. Some dogs are scared of water and are not good swimmers.

When you take your dog swimming, observe how it reacts in the water. Regular swimming exercise can improve their skills.

Cut the Dog’s Nail Short

No one wants their paddle board to get scratched and damaged on the first day with their dogs. Your dog can get scared or too excited on the board.

As a result, it can scratch the surface of the paddleboard. Keeping your dog’s nails short will solve this issue.

Besides, the dog can tear off the pad from the surface of the paddle board, and the dog can slip off the board. It will also cost you money to repair the board.

Therefore, trim the dog’s nails for the best. 

Keep a Bag of Treats

You will be needing lots of treats for your dog. From teaching commands to get familiar with the board, in all the steps, you have to treat your dog to encourage. Hence, keep bags of treats nearby.

Furthermore, you have to carry some treats with you when you go paddle boarding. It will help you to keep the dog in control on the board. 

Control Your Dog’s Energy

Dogs can be playful and energetic. It can be a problem when your dog does not stay calm on the board.

Paddle boarding is hard when your board keeps shaking. You have to find some way to control the excitement of your dog.

Observe your dog’s behavior carefully. Try to find out its behavioral pattern. Is it calm and collected? Or is it exciting and playful most of the time?

If your dog is one of the high-spirited ones, you have to make it a bit tired before taking it on the board.

This way, the dog will not move too much and sit calmly. 

How to Paddle Board with Your Dog?

After taking all the required preparations, it is time for you and your friend to start your desired adventure. Try to stay calm or else you might forget all the things you should keep in mind.

Your first paddle-boarding experience with your dog should be in a safe environment where the water is not too deep. 

Here are some simple steps you can follow while paddle boarding with your dog: 

Step 1: Put on Life Jackets

Both you and your dog must put on life jackets for safety. Even if the water is shallow, your dog can drown. And it will not like that experience. The life jacket will keep it floating. 

Step 2: Ride Alone First

Do not take your dog right away with you on the board. You have to go alone first. When your dog is waiting for you on the shore, call its name and show how happy you are to be on the water. 

Step 3: Take Your Dog on The Paddle Board

Next, take the board close to the edge of the lake or river where the water is shallow. Encourage your dog to hop on the board with you. You may also show some treats.

If your dog is too afraid to sit far from you, you should let it sit near your feet. But make sure you can paddle without hurting the dog. 

Here, are some additional tips that you should consider when paddle boarding with your dog:

  • When you go paddle boarding with your dog for the first time, make the journey short. It should be just a training session for your dog. 
  • Be prepared for any unexpected behavior from your dog like jumping off the board or staying calm. Try to learn how to control this type of situation.
  • Remember, your dog may not like paddle boarding like you. You can try a few times, but if it still does not feel comfortable on the board, do not force your dog. And if you are lucky, the dog will enjoy paddle boarding as much as you.
  • Do not forget to put on some sunscreen on your dog. It can also get sunburns! And make sure to keep a first aid box close to you. 
  • After paddle boarding, wash your dog nicely with warm water. It may come in contact with the lake or river water which is obviously unclean and can cause sickness.  

Benefits of Paddle Boarding with Your Dog

From bonding with your dog to mental and physical exercise, there are plenty of benefits of paddle boarding with your dog.

First of all, it is a great exercise for your dog. You and your dog will get a full-body workout. While the dogs stand on the board, they have to use their legs and core muscles.

Besides, you can also go swimming with your dog, which is good exercise for the dog. Paddling is an intense workout for you as well.

Secondly, it is good for a dog’s mental well-being. Yes, animals too need to relax. Going paddle boarding in lakes and rivers means you and the dog will get to see beautiful landscapes.

A peaceful and calm atmosphere will reduce stress. So, you can take your dog paddle boarding if you feel like getting close to nature with a friend.

Next, your dog gets to learn new skills. You have already seen that you have to put a lot of effort to teach your dog paddle boarding.

But do not forget that the dog is the one which has to learn the new skills. It will learn new commands and get familiar with the new experience with you.

The focusing power of your dog will increase during the learning process.

In addition, the most important part is you are going to have lots of fun with your dog. During the entire process, you are going to strengthen the bond with your dearest friend.

Going on new adventures with your dog will build trust and friendship. 

It can also be a good idea to train your new dog for paddle boarding. You can develop good bonding with the dog while training it.

However, you have to make sure the dog is comfortable about the whole thing. After all, it’s about having fun. 


So, can you paddleboard with a dog? As you have understood by now, you can take your dog for paddle boarding once you have trained it well.

Just get a dog-friendly paddle board and hit the water with your dog to have one of the most amazing experiences in your life. 

If you are just starting to look into paddleboarding we have a wide selection of guides to help assist you in finding the best option to suit your needs, check them out here!

Thanks for reading and until next time, farewell.