How I Paddle with My Pup: A Dog-Friendly SUP Adventure

I don’t know about you, but I love an adventure! And for my other half and I, it really isn’t an adventure without the dogs by our side. 

As spaniel owners, we always try to factor our trips around the water. The dogs are absolutely obsessed! We used to spend the summer months wild swimming – but now the only way is SUP since we got our Bluefin board. 

Bonnie and Alfie are very different SUP dogs. Alfie is perfectly happy to relax at the front, taking in all the sights. But Bonnie would much rather swim alongside, occasionally hopping on the SUP for a little rest. 

Even though they’re pretty different, they both absolutely LOVE it. The moment they see the board, they get a little too excited… It really is our favourite way to spend a sunny afternoon. 

So, thinking about giving it a go with your pooch? Here are our top tips for introducing your dog to paddleboarding.

Safety first

Of course, your safety is super important. But you also need to consider the safety of your dog(s), too. 

Alfie and Bonnie always SUP with their RuffWear Float Coats. Even though they’re both strong swimmers, it just gives us that peace of mind that they’ll be safe if they get tired. 

They also have a super handy handle, so we can easily pull them back onto the board if they jump in. Which seems to happen far too often with our little water monsters!

Introduce them slowly

I know you’ll be keen to get out on the water right away. But when you’re first introducing your dog to the board, it’s important to take it nice and slow. 

Take extra time to introduce your dog to the board on land first. Get on yourself, and encourage your dog to join you. Reward any interaction they have with the board, and you can slowly build this up until your dog is happily in position. 

Then, it’s time to add water! 

Your first time on the water

I’d definitely recommend finding a nice calm lake for your dog’s first experience. Start in shallow water, and hold the board still. 

As your pooch rises in confidence, carefully let them feel the board move on the water. Remember to keep giving lots of praise – you want them to see your SUP as a great place to be! 

Take your time

Take things at your dog’s pace, and let them lead the way. If they want to get off, let them do so. They should never be forced to stay on the board. 

It’s totally ok if your dog doesn’t take to SUP the first time. Take things back onto land if they just aren’t ready, as rushing things is probably the worst tactic to take. 

The more time you spend building your dog’s trust and confidence, the more they’re going to want to join you on your SUP adventures. 

Have fun!

Now that your dog is comfortable on your board, it’s time to explore. After all, an adventure is always better with your four-legged friend close by! 

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