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How to Train Your Dog for Paddle Boarding

March 14, 2023
Side View of Dog and Man on Atoll Board

As you may have already seen, our team of paddle boarding experts recently answered an age-old question, “Is it safe to go SUP-ing with my dog?” Today, we’d like to take that conversation one step further and outline how to train your dog for paddle boarding. As a matter of fact, we’ve included a thorough step-by-step breakdown of how to safely paddle with your dog. From the first sighting of the board to being out there on the water, we have everything you and your furry little friend need to know in order to be safe, comfortable, and confident. So, without further ado, keep on reading to learn how to train your dog for paddle boarding.

A Step-By-Step Breakdown of How to Paddle with Your Dog

First, we recommend keeping your board in the house for about a week, specifically in a place where your dog is comfortable with it. This will allow your dog to get used to the board, how it feels, what it looks like, smells like, etc. What’s more, this will establish the fact that the SUP can be a safe place, so there’s no need to get anxious, start barking, or be afraid of the board itself. Simply allow your dog to sniff the SUP to its heart’s content, get comfortable with it, and maybe even go on top of it. Trust us, these baby steps can go a long way.

Next, after a day or so, feel free to place a treat on the SUP, especially if your little buddy hasn’t gotten on top of the board yet. Then, when they’re on top of it, give them another treat and then tell them to sit; and, of course, when they do, give them another treat. This may take a little time, and that’s okay! Just keep at it, adjusting the pace as needed, and eventually your dog will likely connect the dots and realize that the board can be a fun opportunity for some extra goodies! Once they’re able to comfortably sit on the SUP, you’ll be one step closer to safely SUP-ing with your best friend.

Side View of Dog and Man on Atoll Board

On a similar note, we recommend having unique commands for getting your buddy on and off the board. Naturally, the best way to do this is the same reward system of getting a treat when they obey. As long as they can count on a tasty reward, your canine companion will always be more than ready to comply. As for how to keep them on the board, it’s honestly very simple; when they jump off the SUP, only reward that behavior when you’ve given the command to get off. If they jump off the board without your permission and they don’t get a treat, and then follow your instructions and they do get one, then there’s a very good chance they’ll understand eventually.

Of course, when you’re out there on the water, that board is going to be moving. That said, in order to properly prepare your puppy, you’ll want to practice some paddling motions and movements when they’re on the SUP with you. Better yet, this can be done in the comfort of your home. Simply go through the motions, rock the board a bit, and try to create a relatively realistic representation of what it would feel like out on the water. Start by getting your dog in their spot, standing behind them, rewarding them when they stay on the SUP, and then practicing for a real-life paddle. Again, it may take some time, so adjust as needed and reassure your canine companion that the board is a safe place, even when it’s rocking back and forth. 

Front View of Dog and Man on Atoll Board

Then, when you and your furry friend are finally ready, head to the water. Begin by placing your board either partially in the water or just on the edge of it; perhaps just enough that the waves are touching but not enveloping your board. Next, repeat all of the aforementioned steps and make sure your little buddy will consistently and correctly respond to your cues and instructions, even in a new and unfamiliar environment. Depending on the dog, it may be best to do this multiple times before you ever actually go out on the water. On your first outing, keep it short and short, and be sure to praise your dog afterwards with lots of affection, treats, etc. Remember, it’s completely normal if the first few outings include some mistakes, accidents, etc. Just keep at it and try to make the experience as positive and lighthearted as possible; after all, there’s nothing a dog loves more than having fun with its owner.

Contact Our Team at Atoll Boards

We hope you enjoyed learning all about our step-by-step breakdown of how to paddle with your pet. Now that you know how to train your dog for paddle boarding, what’s next on your radar? If you’re in the market for a new SUP, take a moment to check out our brand-new models. Our signature Atoll Boards are always built with the customer. Whether you paddle solo, with friends, or with your dog, our inflatable SUPs can accommodate just about any lifestyle. For information about paddling with your dog, our signature SUPs, or anything else, please feel free to contact our team at Atoll Boards today. You can also give us a call at 877-698-8581 or send us an email at customerservice@atollboards.com. We would be more than happy to help you in any we can. Until then!

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