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How to Paddle Board With Your Dog: The Steps You Need to Get On The Water

March 18, 2021
paddle boards
A dog sitting on an Atoll inflatable paddle board in the lake.

In this article, we discuss ways you can paddle board with your dog. Including the exact steps you need to take before you get on the water!

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Your dog is your best friend. As a best friend you want to take them everywhere you go. This can include to the park, on a run, maybe a bike ride, possibly to the grocery store, definitely to the pet store, on airplanes, in your car, and well, let’s face it, we can keep going on forever.

Since you want to take them everywhere…

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to paddle board with your dog?

We bet you have.

But before you bring your best friend into an unfamiliar environment, we have a few tips for you to check out. Adhering to these simple guidelines will ensure you, and your pup, can have fun. And more importantly a safe time on the water.

Do You Have a Water Dog?

The first thing you need to consider is, does your dog enjoy the water? Do they often find themselves playing in it? Do they jump into rivers, lakes, or the ocean?

If so, then you’re in a great place to start.

If not, you will have to get your dog used to being in and around the water. Take them to the beach if it’s convenient and let them get close to the water. Or if a lake is closer, that’s a great way to get your dog used to water that is relatively calm and quiet.

The thing to look for is whether or not they tend to panic if they’re around the water. Any shaking, shivering, or nervousness and you either have to start slow or maybe give up on the idea of paddling with your pup for the time being.

Like all things to do with your best friend, you most likely know the answer to the question — do you have a water dog?

Start Slow and Keep It in the Shallows

As we’ve already stated, often the best place to be paddling with your pup is on a lake. The calm waters and quiet surroundings are easier to get used to as opposed to a rushing river or a wave-breaking ocean.

Ideally what you’re looking for is an open beach area with a shallow spot that is easy to hop on and off your board. This type of launch point will be much easier for your pup to climb aboard your SUP and get moving.

You should already be used to checking local weather and wind reports before heading onto the water and in this case, we highly recommend that you do. If there is any chance of inclement weather or high winds, reschedule! It’s going to be difficult enough on your first try to paddle board with your dog, no need to complicate things with bad weather.

Got That Traction? What About Nails?

With an Atoll iSUP, you already have the perfect platform to paddle board with your dog and allow them to be comfortable. The highly durable construction of our boards is resistant to any scratch marks or tears. And the foam pad/rubber material is perfect for your dog to be able to balance and grip even if your board gets wet.

One small word of advice — to ensure the safety of your board, make sure your dog’s nails are at least trimmed before climbing aboard. While we are certain their nails won’t be able to puncture the body of the board, they can cause tears in the foam pad if they are left long and sharp. A quick trim will cure this issue!

Let’s Talk About Balance

Not your pup’s. Let’s talk about your balance. And your paddling experience. Sure, you may be an ace by yourself on your Atoll iSUP. You can hop on and off with ease, buoy turn, even paddle in the ocean with no problems! You’re a regular pro.

But what about when you add another moving body aboard? How are you going to fare then? Some pups tend to be a little restless when they climb aboard a SUP. They can move around, in between your legs, to the edge of the nose or rail, and everywhere in between. This can cause the board to bounce around, messing up your balance, and result in you ending up in the water.

Ask yourself honestly then – how is your balance? Will you be okay with another moving body aboard your SUP? If so, give it a go! If not, maybe practice moving around the board yourself – walk to the back, the nose, and the sides. Test yourself. Practice. With a little time, you’ll be an ace when you try to paddle board with your dog.

What Not to Bring

This tip might seem counterintuitive. But we must stress it — do not bring your leash with you. And definitely don’t have it attached to your dog’s collar when they are on the water.

Why?

A leash can get caught or tangled in your dog’s legs or on your arm if they happen to fall in. This can result in a dangerous situation where your dog might not be able to properly swim. Or with you being pulled into the water with your dog.

Leashes are of course an important part of keeping your dog safe while on land. However, once your pup jumps onto your SUP, let them feel the freedom of no leash! They, and you, will be safer because of it.

What to Bring

This last tip is a short one — grab a PFD vest for your pup when they go with you. It’s not exactly a law you need to adhere to like it is for you to wear one while paddling flat water.

But with a doggie PFD, your pup has a better chance of staying afloat while pumping their doggie paddle until you can get them back aboard. And for those smaller pups out there, a doggie PFD has the perfect handle on top to snatch them up and place them back on your SUP when they fall in.

Basically, it’s just another added layer of safety for you and your pup while you’re both enjoying time on the water.

Conclusion

Still ready to give it a try? Then be sure to follow these few tips. Grab the correct equipment. Test it out. And most importantly have fun during the process! Most dogs love the freedom of being off-leash and enjoying the water with their owners. As evidenced by the many pictures that have been sent our way over the years. However, if you’re still unsure or have questions, our inbox is always open! Shoot us a message and we will try to answer any question the best way we can. Until next time paddling friends – adventure on!

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