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How to Train Your Dog for Paddle Boarding

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

We know you want to be able to take your cute furry friends with you on your paddle board. Let’s talk about how to train your dog for paddle boarding and dog safety!

Dog in lifejacket sitting on boat on the water
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

  1. Always make sure your pup has a life jacket! They may be good swimmers, but things can happen and you may not be able to reach them for an extended period of time.

  2. Have your pup on the front of your board. This allows you to see them and make sure they are okay at all times.

  3. Travel with a portable dog bowl, especially on warmer days, we wouldn't drink ocean (salty) water and neither should they! If you are paddling on a lake, river or pond, the water may look tempting, but it could hold parasites dangerous to dogs, be aware of algae blooms that could harm you or your doggo.

Next, let's talk about how to train your dog to go on the board with you! This can be the tricky part as they may not be used to being around the water and on the board. The younger you can get them started, the better. If your pup is not used to being around the water, take them to the lake, pond, river or calm ocean first without any pressure and get them used to going into the water with you and progress up to swimming with you. Make sure the dog is comfortable with being fully submerged (aka falling in), and give them treats or lots of pats for every milestone they do with you as you train your dog such as getting their feet wet, going in the water and coming back to you, playing fetch into the water and going in and swimming beside you.

Man on Paddleboard and dog in lifejacket swimming in water

Once they are comfortable with the water, next you'll want to get them comfortable on the board.

Here's some training tips to get your pup comfortable with the paddle board:

  1. Make sure your dog's nails have been recently trimmed to avoid damage to your board.

  2. Practice at home, blow up your paddle board and encourage your dog to stand or sit on it. (Make sure you remove the fin or place your board on an elevated surface like a table with the fins hanging off or or on top of a few chairs situated next to each other. Having your dog hop on the board without doing this could damage your board or the fin.)

  3. Be patient, some dogs are wary of the size of the paddle board and the new feeling a paddle board can have.

  4. Have treats available to encourage them and reward them with pats at each milestone.

  5. If you have an electric pump, make sure to introduce them to that too! A dog could get spooked, take off or start barking intensely if all of a sudden a loud noise has been turned on. I recommend having your dog in the house, plugging in and turning on your electric pump in the driveway, bring your dog from the house outside to where the noise is, this slow introduction of sound may not be as harsh for first time listeners. Once they have sniffed it and they know everything is okay, give them lots of pets.

  6. Once they are comfortable around all the equipment, time to get on your board. Get your board all set up and ready to go. There are two ways to get your dog on board, one way is to simply lift and place them on the board (if it is a smaller dog) and then get on your board, the other option is to get on your board first as you normally would and then encourage your dog to get on the board after you. This will be easier at shore or if your paddle board is on the same level or close to the same level as a dock.

  7. Begin paddling! Take your dog only for short trips at first to get them used to the feeling and to get them comfortable on the board. Some dogs may be comfortable right away while others may take some time to get used to it.

Notes: For dogs who love to be in the water (instead of on top of the water), you may want to have a quick release leash attached to your lifejacket or PFD or the D rings on your board so that it is easier to get them back on the board, and easy to release them from the leash if it gets caught or tangled on something.

We can't wait to see you out on the water with your furry friends! We hope this article on how to train your dog to go paddleboarding has been helpful, if you think we missed something, send us a message, we'd be happy to update our blog.

See you out on the water (with your newly trained dog)!

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