Paddle Boarding For Dogs: 5 Actionable Steps To Get You Started

Paddle Boarding is one of the most relaxing activities that you can do. So what better way than to share that with your pooch?

I remember the first time I saw someone paddle boarding with their dog I was in absolute shock! How did they get their pooch to stay on the board? How is it not running around panicking? It turns out it is indeed a very feasible feat that, with anything starts with baby steps.

Before you make the jump of putting your dog on a board with you there are some steps you must take to allow your pup to become comfortable with the board. I’ll break this down with five actionable steps for paddle boarding for dogs.

Step 1. Keep Your Paddle Board Out on Land

Dog On A Paddle Board

Before you can go out in the water with your furry best friend you must first get him comfortable with the board. You can do this by placing it in your house or backyard for a week and let him/her get accustomed to it.

Encourage your Pooch to get on it by placing a treat on the board. Do this after about a day of him getting used to the new item in your household.

You later add some standard commands such as sit and stay for some bonus treats. Keep this in mind for later on when you are in the water. The more your dog stays still on the water the less you have to compensate for his weight by shifting balance.

Rinse and repeat this process throughout the day to get him very comfortable with the board and that it represents a good thing.

Step 2. Have a Special Command Ready for Getting off the Board

Dog Waiting To Get On Paddle Board

This is a particularly important step because you do not want your pooch to prematurely jump off the board without any notice. This can end in both of you taking a dip!

Similar to rewarding your pooch with a well-earned treat when jumping onto the board, you will do the same technique but only by having him get off the board. This will keep your pup from jumping off of the board at the sight of a duck, heron or other creature that inhabits the water.

If your pup jumps off the board prematurely or without you doing the command you do not reward him with the treat.

Step 3. Hop onto the Board with Him

Person Getting On Paddle Board With Dog

At this stage you will still be on land. Simply hop onto the board with him and practice the same commands as above by rewarding him for sitting, staying and getting off of the board by commands.

When puppers starts getting more comfortable with this try gently rocking the board back and forward so that to simulate conditions on the water. Once he has performed all the tasks without prematurely jumping off you are ready to hit the water!

Step 4. Hit the Water!

Dog Hitting The Water On A Paddle Board

Now in this step we are not going to be going fully into the water just yet. We still have to test how comfortable he/she is near the water so we are going to be repeating the same steps as above but with the board particularly in the water.

The different environment might throw your pooch off the first few tries but keep at it until he/she is fully comfortable and obedient to your commands.

Step 5. The Big Test!

Girl And Her Dog Paddle Boarding

Now that your pooch is comfortable with the board and the environment it is now time for the big test! When you do go out on your first maiden voyage you should ensure that you have had a few paddle trips underneath your belt by yourself so that you are a confident paddler on your board.

When going out on your major voyage be sure to not venture too far off shore and expect things to not go smoothly the first few tries. That's okay! The only way you learn is through mistakes so make each mistake a learning block!

Go through the exact same routines as you would on land and he/she will eventually get it. Some dogs will take longer to get accustomed to being on the water than others.

Keep it a positive experience done repetitively and you will soon have a paddling companion who will go everywhere with you!

Paddle Boarding for Dogs Safety Tips

  • It is highly recommended that you have a Personal Floatation Device for your Pooch. While most dogs do know how to swim instinctively, a PFD will help in emergency cases or if you are further off of shore. This Life Vest should have a handle on it as well so you can easily grab him/her out of the water in time.
  • Never keep your pup on a leash while on the board. Should something happen you do not want the leash to wrap around his/her neck.
  • If your dog is afraid of water it is best that you address that first before attempting to get him on a board.

Inflatable Paddle Boards

Inflatable Paddle Boards are best for dogs because they offer more grip while reducing the risk of injury. If you or your dog were to hit your head on a hard board there would be greater impact because of the harder surface which you want to avoid.

If you are new to Paddle Boarding and are thinking of getting an inflatable paddle board click here to read our reviews on some of the best Starter Inflatable Paddle Boards.

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