6 tips to SUP with your pup!
I have been paddling for a few years now. One thing that really attracted me to it before I even started was that, one day, I could bring my dog out with me.
I finally got a dog a few months ago, rescued from a local shelter. I am not going to lie, the first thing I wanted to do was take her out on my board!
I was super excited and slightly nervous as I had no idea how things were going to turn out... She is still a pup, a super curious ball of pure energy, and she absolutely loves the water which makes it easier for a start, and as it turned out she loves it!
Here are a few things I found out and would recommend for anyone keen on starting to take their 4-legged friend paddling :
1. Don't go alone.
Your partner, a friend, the kids, just about anyone your dog knows and feels comfortable around will make an excellent paddling buddy for the first time(s) out. You will have someone to keep your dog busy while you're getting ready and also a potential rescuer if Fluffy decides it's time to abandon ship and swim back to the shore.
2. Do a test run before heading to the water.
In the garden or the garage, get your dog to have a sniff around/wee play with your board. I was cleaning mine after the winter and left it to dry out in the yard... only to find out my pup sound asleep on it a few moments later. That's when I knew she was ready.
3. Keep your buddy entertained.
Take Baxter's favorite toy (a stick will do the trick) and make it a game. It will prevent your furry friend from getting bored too quickly and also keep him/her on the board longer. Also a bonus if like mine, your dog tends to bark as soon as she gets bored and/or is a compulsive chewer. Plus there's nothing more fun to watch than a round of fetch in the water or catch it while balancing on the board.
4. Keep it short.
Unless your dog seems to have a natural SUP attitude, it is best to keep your first paddles short and close to the shore. In shallow waters they have the option to jump and walk away while in deeper areas they tend to get more scared and the last thing you want is a panicked dog rocking you overboard and dubious onlookers staring from the beach.
5. Doggy life-jacket.
I know, most dogs are pretty good swimmers, but not only they look pretty cool in their life vest, it will be one less thing to worry about if something goes wrong. At least you know Buddy won't have to struggle to keep afloat. Most of them also have a handle which makes your life much easier helping your friend back up after they've jumped off the board.
6. Never push it.
If your dog is scared or doesn't enjoy being out on the water then there is a good chance he/she won't want to do it ever again. Take baby steps. Maybe the water is the scary bit. In that case getting your pup confident in the water first is definitely a good idea.
If you SUP but don't have a dog, then really you should consider getting one =)
Hope this helps and happy doggy paddling.
Do you already take your pup out? Do you have any more tips and tricks? Feel free to share =)