How To Train Your Dog To Sit On A Paddleboard (Or Sup)

Stand-up paddleboards, also known as SUP, have become increasingly popular as recreational equipment, and they are a lot of fun.

They’re perfect for going out on the water, and having a little adventure, and if you never fall off, you don’t even have to get wet! (Although why wouldn’t you end the trip with a nice swim?) 

And here’s the thing. If you have a dog that loves doing all sorts of things with you, you can take him with you!

Dogs can very easily learn to sit on a paddleboard, and even dogs that don’t enjoy swimming can learn to love going on these aquatic adventures with you (although dogs that love to swim will have an easier time getting used to it). 

How To Train Your Dog To Sit On A Paddleboard (Or Sup)

The question is, how do you train your dog to sit on a paddleboard?

It takes a few steps, and the main thing is for your dog to get used to the idea of sitting on a paddleboard while that paddleboard is cruising on the water.

But if you follow the basic tips and tricks, and ensure that you’ve covered all of the safety measures, it should be easy enough. And the result? A lot of fun with your loyal companion, out on the water! 

Things You Need To Go Paddleboarding With Your Dog

Before you start training your dog to sit on a paddleboard, you first need to make sure that you have all of the necessary equipment, so that you are truly ready. Here is everything you need.

A Paddleboard

There are many different types of paddleboard, and if you’re going to have your dog sit on it with you, then it needs to be the right type.

You will need a wider and longer board if you want your dog there with you so that the board has more room, and so that it is overall more stable and less likely to capsize.

We recommend looking for a board that is at least 10 feet long, and 32 inches wide. If your dog is large, or heavy, then take this into consideration and get an even bigger board. 

Another important thing to look for in your paddleboard is surface grip. If your paddleboard is slippery, your dog will struggle a lot more to stay on board and might fall off every time a bigger wave hits.

But if the paddleboard has a good surface grip, it will be a lot easier for your dog to stay put. 

A PFD

Also known as the personal flotation device, or in this case, a pooch flotation device! This is essential if you want your dog to be 100% safe.

Even if your dog is a really good swimmer, the paddleboard can make it harder for them to stay afloat if they fall off, not to mention the possible waves, currents, and more.

This is why it is important that you put a life jacket on your dog, one that fits them properly and that is comfortable. Trust us, this can save your dog’s life! 

Your Dog

If you want to paddleboard with a dog, you obviously need a dog!

Now, we want to mention that if your dog doesn’t take to the paddleboard at all, and no matter how hard you try, he just doesn’t seem to enjoy it, then don’t force it.

Some dogs simply don’t like these kinds of adventures, and you should respect that. You can always find other things to do together! But if your dog seems happy and eager to go ahead with the whole thing, then enjoy every second of it! 

Training Your Dog To Sit On A Paddleboard

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to actually train your dog to sit on the paddleboard and be comfortable with the idea of paddleboarding beside you.

Every dog will require a different approach, and you will know which way to best go about the whole training. However, to help you out, here are some of the basic steps that we recommend taking.

Get Your Dog Used To The Idea Of It

First of all, you need to get your dog used to the idea of paddleboarding, by introducing him to all the different elements without any pressure. Start by having the paddleboard out in the house, so your dog can sniff it and become familiar with the equipment.

Have your dog wear the life jacket on walks, so that he gets used to the feel of it and doesn’t mind having it on. And make sure that your dog knows how to swim, or at the very least is okay with going in the water. 

Teach Your Dog Basic Commands

Next, for safety reasons, you should teach your dog some basic commands around the paddleboard. The first few should be to get on the paddleboard, to get off the paddleboard, and to sit or lie on the paddleboard.

You should practice this on dry land, using treats and plenty of praise, until your dog is a pro at getting on, sitting, and getting off. 

Introduce Your Dog To The Water, And The Board

Once your dog can “paddleboard” on dry land, it’s time to repeat the same exercises while the board is on water.

Take your dog to the beach, lake, or river (you can paddleboard on any body of water really, as long as it’s safe), and allow him to become familiar with the idea of the board being on the water, floating.

Let your dog watch you as you go on the paddleboard and move about on it so that he knows it’s okay. 

Make The Paddleboard A Good Place

Next, you need to get the dog to be comfortable on the paddleboard, while it’s floating on water. Lure your dog onto the paddleboard with the use of treats, and just have him sit there.

The paddleboard should be still, just offshore, so that it’s calm and unthreatening. Let your dog become comfortable!

Practice In Shallow Water

Next, get your dog to jump on the paddleboard and sit, and start moving around while remaining in shallow water and close to the shore.

This will get your dog used to the idea of traveling on the paddleboard. Make sure your dog feels comfortable, and reward with treats and praise every so often. 

Slowly Start Paddle Boarding

Once your dog is happy to jump on the paddleboard and move about, you can slowly start paddleboarding further and further away from the shore, off to adventure!

As long as your dog is able to stay calm and seated, everything should go smoothly, and you can enjoy paddleboarding together! 

Other Important Tips

Here are some other important tips that you should remember when paddleboarding with your dog.

  • The sun can make the surface of the paddleboard hot, burning your dog’s paws. Make sure you go out early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is a little more gentle. 
  • Protect your dog from the sun and the heat! Do not go out for long trips on hot summer days. 
  • If you are paddleboarding in the sea, make sure to rinse your dog at the end. Otherwise, the saltwater can irritate their skin. 
  • Make sure to trim your dog’s nails so that they don’t accidentally pierce the paddleboard! 
  • Always bring treats to reinforce your dog’s good behavior and to keep him calm if necessary. 
Daniel Johnson
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