Taking your four-legged friend out for a paddle boarding adventure can be an incredible experience for both of you. But before you hit the water, there are some important things to consider. Training your dog to become a confident and happy paddle boarding companion is key. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.
Introducing Your Dog to the Board
Step 1: Familiarize Your Dog with the Board
To start, keep your paddle board indoors for a week in an area where your dog feels comfortable. Allow your dog to explore the board at their own pace, sniffing and investigating. This will help them see the board as something fun and safe.
Step 2: Treat Training on the Board
After your dog is comfortable around the board, place a treat on it. Encourage your dog to walk onto the board to reach the treat. Reward them with another treat once they’re on the board. Repeat this process, gradually increasing the time on the board. This positive association will make your dog eager to get on the board.
Step 3: Commands for Getting on and off the Board
Teaching your dog specific commands for getting on and off the board is crucial. This ensures their safety and prevents any unexpected dives into the water. Use a special command when asking your dog to get on the board, and reward them with a treat. Similarly, give a different command when asking them to get off. Consistency is key to reinforcing these commands.
Step 4: Sitting, Standing, and Paddling Together
Once your dog is comfortable sitting on the board, it’s time to practice sitting and standing on it together. Start by sitting behind your dog on the board and reward them for staying in place. Gradually progress to standing and rocking back and forth. Take it slow and be patient; every dog has their own learning pace.
Step 5: Take It to the Water
Once your dog is confident on the board, it’s time for their first water adventure. Start with the board close to the water or slightly on the water. Repeat the previous steps to ensure your dog responds well in this new environment. It may take a few practice sessions before you venture further.
While paddle boarding with your furry companion can be an amazing experience, safety precautions are necessary. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
Doggy Life Jacket: It is highly recommended to outfit your dog with a properly fitting and durable life jacket, such as the Ruffwear Float Coat. This provides extra safety and ensures your dog can easily be lifted back onto the board if they fall or go for a swim.
No Leashes: Never tether your dog to the board with a leash. This can be dangerous if your dog falls into the water accidentally. Proper training should make a leash unnecessary.
Overcoming Fear of Water: If your dog is scared of water, this will be your first hurdle to overcome. With patient training, many dogs learn to trust the board and the water.
Cases Where Training Goes Out the Window
Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith. In the case of Oscar, a German Shepherd, his owners decided to skip the training steps and give paddle boarding a try during a road trip. They started with a kayak to ease the transition, then moved on to a paddle board. While the learning curve was steeper, Oscar surprised them with his determination. With plenty of rewards and positive reinforcement, Oscar overcame his shaky legs and now enjoys paddling in his senior years.
Remember, every dog is unique, and training methods may vary. The key is to maintain a positive environment and provide lots of rewards throughout the process.
Inflatable Paddle Boards: Perfect for Dogs
Inflatable paddle boards are excellent for paddling with dogs. They offer great traction for their paws and stability on the water. Don’t worry about your dog’s claws damaging the board; inflatables are incredibly durable. If you’re unsure which board to choose, check out our list of the Best SUPs For Paddling With Dogs.
With the right training and equipment, paddling with your dog can create unforgettable memories. So, embark on this exciting adventure, and enjoy the experience together. Happy paddling!