How To Get Your Dog On A Paddle Board

Paddle boarding offers boundless benefits to both your physical and mental health and sharing the experience with your nearest and dearest makes the activity even more rewarding.

In recent months we’ve seen even more paddlers taking to the water with their four-legged friends and while we highly recommend you give it a try, getting a dog acquainted with a paddle board is not always smooth sailing! So, to avoid too many impromptu dips in the water check out our firsttime tips for paddle boarding with your dog.

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To keep you and your beloved dog safe we recommend using a dog buoyancy aid if you plan on taking your dog on a SUP. Dog buoyancy aids will reduce your dog’s risk of drowning, as well as reducing the severity of common accidents. It gives the dog added confidence in the water should your dog get tired but also offers reassurance to you. It is worth investing in one with reinforced handles and well-placed foam, like the buoyancy aid from Red Original. These are designed to help dogs maintain a positive and comfortable swimming position and are really helpful when lifting your dog out of the water back onto the paddle board. 

2. Dog meet SUP

When setting up your inflatable SUP equipment, whether that be at home, on the beach or by the river, allow your dog to walk around and have a good sniff to get familiar with the board, the bag and even the sound of the pump. The more comfortable they get with the equipment you are usingthe more confident they will be on the water. 

Having the right kit is key here too – a highly durable and stable board will give you a great platform. Our 10’8” Ride or all-round boards are a great option if you’re a bit of a beginneror if yointend to take Lassie out for longer adventures then a touring board is a great match.

3. Hop on, hop off

Next-up, get your dog on to the board whilst still on the land. Have some tasty treats or their favourite toy to hand and encourage your dog to walk over the deck of the board. 

Make a game of it by hoping on and off the board. Repeat this a few times so they get used to the feel of the board under their paws and remember always reward them with treats or a favourite toy. 

4. Time for a splash

Place your board half in and half out of the water and in the same way as you did in step three, use the toy or treat by throwing it onto the part of the board that’s on the water.

This is a fun and interactive way to introduce the dog to the water and the board at the same time whilst keeping therelaxed with the environment around them

5. Little and often

So, you’ve got a new buoyancy aid and your dog has built-up loads of confidence on the beach – it is now time to take them on the water. Starting in shallow water invite your dog onto the board and gently move out while kneeling on the SUP.

Once you are both comfortable and floating on the water, begin to paddle but remain on your knees with your dog in front of you. Take it step by step, paddle on your knees away from the shore and gently return to the beach, allowing the dog to hop off the board and back again, for another little paddle. 

When you’ve mastered paddling on the knees the next stage is about getting to your feet and then progressing to longer adventures. One step at a time – most importantly remain calm, have fun and always keep those treats to hand – the tastier the better! 


The Red Original Dog PFD

Keep your four-legged companion safe in and around the water with the Red Original Dog Buoyancy Aid. Ergonomically designed to support your dog in the water and give them a positive swimming position. Packed full of features and made using durable, tear-resistant Cordura® fabric, the Red Original Dog Buoyancy Aid is available in 5 different sizes to cover all breeds.  

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