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Paddle Boarding with Your Dog: New Weekend Activity

Many people love doing activities with their pups on the weekends. Fact is, a lot of people have dogs because they are amazing companions all the time – they’re lovely, caring, and honestly most of them are down to do whatever activity you want to do! Want to go hiking? Your dog will probably enjoy the trek right by your side. A trip to the lake, or the river, or the beach – all of those things are activities that your dog no doubt would enjoy as well. But if you and your adventurous pooch have already done most there is to do, what else can you do? Paddle boarding with your dog is a good activity that you can probably do on the weekends. It’s an activity that is fantastic if you live near any body of water, be it a lake, a river, or the sea.

How exactly do you go paddle boarding with your dog? Is it difficult? Can you do it without any prior training? Is it better if you go paddle boarding yourself first before you start bringing your dog with you? Does it cost a lot of money to do?

Today, we are going to talk about everything that there is to know about paddle boarding with your dog. How to do it, how to handle it, how to have fun with it…and of course, how to get started and what exactly you need for it. If you’re ready to get started, then so are we. Shall we get to it?

Things You Need for Paddle Boarding with Your Dog

paddle boarding with your dog

Before we even get started, it’s important to know what kind of equipment you need when it comes to paddle boarding – especially with your dog. There are a few things to get ready before you make that first trip to the water. So, here are some of the equipment that will really help you get set up to stand up and paddle with your beloved pooch!

Get the Right Paddle Board

First things first, you really need to find yourself a paddle board that is the right size to accommodate both you and your pup. You’ll want to get a board that is longer and wider because it can help hold both your weights and stay balanced and stable. Therefore, in searching for a paddle board for both you and your doggo, look for a board that is at minimum 10 feet in length and 32 inches in width. If you can find a board that is more than 10 feet long, this is even better. And so, you can reliably paddle along the lake, the river, or the ocean without fear of overturning.

One thing that you do need to consider when you are looking for a paddle board is the combination of both your weight and your dog’s weight. You have to find a word that is suited to the size of your pup – naturally, you want to get a larger board for dogs that are somewhat larger in size. Also, if you want to do this activity with more than one dog, you certainly can. All you need is a board that is large enough to hold you and your pets.

And finally, when looking for a paddle board that can accommodate your pup, you need to find one that has a deck pad to help them find their footing and keep their traction.

A Board with Grip

Although we have already mentioned the necessity for the right type of board, we still want to emphasize how important it is to get a board that has the right amount of grip to allow your pup enough traction. You’ve seen how it looks when a dog is trying to run across a surface that is too slippery for their paws to grip. You don’t want your dog to be falling off your board at any time. This is why it is so important to make sure you find a board with a full pad for the deck. Alternatively, you can also glue on some yoga mats, or even bathroom mats that have suction cups on the bottom. This is often enough to keep your dog on the board with no worry at all.

A Life Vest for Your Pup

Another thing to consider when you are getting ready for paddle boarding with your dog is finding a life vest for him to wear. Although a lot of dogs are good swimmers, and although a lot of them pretty much know how to swim instinctively, it is honestly best to find a life vest for your dog to wear. It’s honestly not just for safety reasons. It’s also to help keep your dog more comfortable in the water, because if they do somehow fall in, they will know that they’re safe for the most part. As a result, falling into the water accidentally won’t end up deterring them from going on the paddle board ever again.

In terms of safety, a flotation device for your dog is a great idea just in case they fall or jump off and get disoriented while they are in the water. Just remember to put the life vest on them for a little bit every day until they get used to it and do not fight you when you put it on them. Also make sure that they’re comfortable enough to not try to get it off every time you make them wear it.

How to Introduce Your Dog to The Paddle Board

paddle boarding with your dog

Before you can even begin to take your dog out on the water, there are so many things that you need to do to prepare them for the experience. You simply cannot just buy a board, pack up, and get right on the water. Doing this is a recipe for utter disaster that can end in a lot of danger for both you and your dog. Paddle boarding is naturally an experience that can be rather overwhelming for you. Now, imagine how it might be for your dog, would have never experienced anything like it before – now add to that the fact that you will be out on the water.

This is why it is so important to prepare yourself and your pooch properly, so that you won’t have any issues in the long run. If you want to make this activity as easy and smooth as you possibly can, here are some tips that can help you with that.

Step 1: Do some basic obedience training

Paddle boarding with your dog can be really fun. However, it could end in disaster if your dog is not trained well enough with even just the simplest of basic commands. This is why it is so important for you to teach your pup command such as sit or stay. The knowledge of these 2 commands can be enough to make sure that your dog does not decide to simply jump off the board and into the water if they are afraid or overwhelmed. In fact, this can also help to prevent your dog from jumping in just because they feel like it.

Step 2: Get used to paddle boarding

The next step in getting ready to take your dog out onto the water with you is to make sure that you yourself have mastered the art of paddle boarding. You can’t get up on a stand-up paddleboard with your dog if you aren’t even confident enough to go on one by yourself. Practice your balance on the board where you can. Make sure that you have enough experience with paddling and even turning. And of course, it’s also important to make sure that you are capable of falling off the board and getting back onto it from underwater.

The reason why this is so important is because if you are stressed and concerned, your dog will pick up on this energy. They will likely mirror the stress that you are experiencing and feel just as uncomfortable on the paddle board as you are. Imagine trying to balance a paddle board with a dog that is restless and unable to keep still – just think of how disastrous this could be.

Step 3: Get your dog used to the paddle board

The next thing that you need to do is to introduce your dog to your new paddle board. If your dog doesn’t know what your paddle board is and they don’t know what it does, chances are they will freak out at the thought of being on it for any period of time. This is why it is so important to get your dog used to it before you even take it out on the water. To do this, you should put the board in an area of your home that your dog has access to and is comfortable being in. Allow your pup to sniff at the board, to look at it, and to even explore on their own terms. Don’t worry or be concerned if your dog does not immediately jump onto the board – this is fine and is honestly kind of expected.

After this, another thing that you can do is to start putting treats onto the surface of the board. You must wait to do this until your dog is already comfortable with the board’s presence in your home. Start putting treats around the board to get your dog to approach it. And then, you can start putting treats on top of the board as sort of an invitation for your pooch to get on top of it. Once your dog has walked on it, ask him to sit and then give him a treat. Do this over and over for a while – you may even teach him the command “board” let him know that you want him to get on it. Once your dog is comfortable with sitting on the board, the next thing that you can do is ask him to stay. Teach him to do this so that when you are out on the water he will not simply jump off at any moment in time.

Step 4: Practice a Dry Run

Once your dog is comfortable being on the board, you can now do a dry run. Put the life jacket on your dog and tell him to hop back onto the board. Do a few repetitions of this each day until your dog is fully confident in the new commands that he has learned. Doing this will also help your pup to feel completely comfortable being on the board without feeling any fear or pressure. Thus, when you do finally take your dog out onto the water , the only thing that they will have to be afraid of or feel apprehensive about is the water in fact, because they are already so comfortable with the board they will find it to be their safe space and will likely want to stay on it instead of jumping off.

Step 5: Teach a Command for Getting of the Board

Of course, you must also teach your dog a command for getting off the board – otherwise it can be hard to communicate what you want them to do. Figure out a word that you want to use for this command and begin teaching it to them by saying it. When they jump off of the board, give him a reward. Then, tell your dog to get back on the board, and repeat. Do a few repetitions daily until your pooch is completely used to it.

It is important to make sure that your dog knows to jump off only when commanded. Therefore, do not give your dog a treat if they jump off without your say so. This is to prepare both you and your pup for being out on the water – the last thing you want is for them to jump off right before the shore or the dock, throwing you both off balance.

Paddle Boarding with Your Dog – The Prep

There are a few things that you should do before you take your dog with you on a trip to the lake (or river…or ocean). These are general reminders to make your whole trip easier and allow both you and your dog more enjoyment.

Can Your Dog Swim?

Before you even take your dog out onto the water, first make sure that your pup is comfortable with going out for a swim. If they are afraid of the water, or if they are a weak swimmer, you may find that the experience will not be enjoyable for the both of you. This is why it’s important to first get your pup accustomed to the water. Do this until they are comfortable enough to swim on their own a few times, so that you are sure they won’t be feeling extremely afraid when on the water. If you are unsure of how to do this, you can perhaps inquire with a trainer for help.

Do General Grooming

One thing that we can advise you before you take your dog anywhere is to make sure that you do some general grooming. The most important thing you can really do is to trim their nails. Long nails are not pawsome in this situation – you might end up scratched all over. Once you’ve trimmed your nails also make sure that you file them so that they won’t be sharp. The last thing you want is you or your board getting torn up.

Make Sure You Have Treats!

In preparing for a trip to the water, make sure that you have some treats that your dog really loves with you. This way, you can continue to reward your pup’s good behavior while also showing them that it is OK for them to be on the board with you. Having treats is also a good way to make them even more comfortable with the entire activity. Paddle boarding with your dog is a fantastic way of spending time with them – especially when you’ve done all you can to make it extremely comfortable and fun.

Give Your Dog Exercise

If your dog is the type to be overly energetic, then you want to make sure that you have worn them out enough before actually paddle boarding. This way, even the most restless of dogs will have an easier time sitting still instead of moving around when you are out on the water. A dog that sits still makes it’s so much easier for you to keep the balance as you paddle. In a situation like this, it becomes much less likely that your pooch will throw you both into the water.

Safety Tips and Tricks for Paddle Boarding with Your Dog

There are a few tips and tricks that can help you in this activity of paddle boarding with your dog. Here are some of them so that you can make your trip much easier and better – so that you can have more fun in the long run.

First Aid Kits are Important

The first tip that we have for you is something that you should already be applying in the 1st place, regardless of whether you are going paddle boarding or not. Yes, we mean first aid kits. A portable kit will help you have the peace of mind as you plan an begin this activity period make sure that the contents of this kit accommodates not just you but also your pet. Load it with all of the essentials for treating wounds, and common ailments such as headaches, stomach aches, and more. Also be sure to have some stuff like duct tape which can help temporarily repair your equipment should it malfunction out on the water.


Of course, it’s only natural to know that sunscreen is something that can help you as a human. Everyone by now knows the hazards of being out in the sun without some sort of protection. However, just like humans, our dogs are also at risk of getting sunburns and the like – especially when it comes to their  bellies. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you apply sunburn to them in any area that is exposed to the sun or has thin fur. Be sure to reapply every couple of hours if you plan on spending more time on the water.

Know How to Handle Hazards

When you are out on the water, it is important to know when to sit or kneel on your board. Remember, it is important to only stand when you are 100% sure that there are no hazards around such as shallow water, docks, people, boats and the like. Although you can sometimes get away with standing when you are paddle boarding alone, it is best to kneel down or sit down if you are with your dog. This way, it is much easier to keep balance because your center of gravity is much lower.

Shower After – and Rinse Your Pup Too!

Everyone knows the importance of taking a bath or a shower right after spending time in a body of water, be it fresh or saltwater. Therefore, just as you would take a shower after paddle boarding to wash off any potential pathogens, you must also give your dog a good rinse. This is because your dog can get his skin or paws irritated by salt, by sand, or even by bacteria that can be found in freshwater. Also make sure that you give your dog’s ears a good clean afterwards, making sure to swab up any leftover moisture. Be sure that your dog’s ears are dry so that the risk of an ear infection is much lessened.

Paddle Boarding with Your Dog – Here’s How!

Now that we have basically discussed everything that there is to know about paddle boarding with your dog, it is time to finally get out on the water!

Let Your Dog Stay on the Shore

The first thing you need to do is to show your dog that being on the board is OK and is even fun. To do this, keep your dog on the shore while you hop onto the board and go onto the water. Leave to your dog, smile, and even laugh – just to show your pooch that the activity is fun and not at all scary.

Keep the Board in Shallow Water to Let Your Pup Get On

The first time that you get your dog on the board, make sure that you do it on shallow water. teach him to get on the board, but also keep it on shallow water so that he can hop off anytime without fear. Practice the commands to tell him to get on and off the board a few times while rewarding correct behaviors with positive reinforcement.

Get on the Board Together

Once your dog is 100% comfortable with the board when it is in the water, it is time to get on the board together. Get on the board behind your dog and start paddling. You may find that it might be easier to be sitting or kneeling the first few times you go out on the water with your pooch.

Stand Up!

Of course, the next logical step is to get on your feet. Stand up call mom making sure to have your dog in front of you or in between your legs/feet. This way, you can practice paddling without accidentally hitting him. Smaller dogs might be more comfortable sitting on the very tip (or nose, as you may call it) of the board. If your dog is much larger and heavier, you might find that for balance purposes, it may be better to have him sit behind you. The ideal spot for larger is usually toward the back 1/3 of the paddle bored.

Some Final Tips

Now that you have basically learned all there is to know about paddle boarding with your dog, here are some final tips and tricks that can really make your life easier. First of all, keep your first trip out on the water short so that your dog does not become anxious or freak out. Once you are back on the shore, reward your pooch by giving him plenty of praise and a nice treat.

Remember that if everything does not go smoothly the first time around, it is completely OK – it is all part of the learning curve of the activity you will now both begin to enjoy together.

Make sure that you are absolutely ready for your dog to freak out and jump off any moment in time. This way, you are much more prepared to adjust your balance in case they jump off. If you cannot recover your balance and end up falling into the water with them, you must then be ready to climb back onto the board and get your dog back on it with you. This is another reason why it’s important to have a life jacket on your pup – often, these have handles so that you can carry your dog more easily.

And of course, remember that you should have drinking water not just for you but also for your dog. Bring a small bottle and something like a collapsible bowl so that your dog can drink if he gets thirsty . You do not want your pup to drink saltwater after all, because it can cause dehydration among many other issues.


Paddle boarding with your dog can be a lovely experience for both of you to share. It can be your new weekend activity. Something that can bond you both together even more deeply. Just remember to properly prepare yourself and your dog for the entire experience. Don’t go gungho and simply buy a board and get on the water – this is a recipe for disaster.

Finally, be patient – not all dogs are naturals when it comes to being out on the water. It may take time for you to get your pooch used to the idea of paddle boarding, so as long as you have the patience everything should turn out alright.