Introducing Your Dog To Paddle Boarding

Sharing the adventure of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) with your dog can be an enriching experience for both of you. Whether you're exploring serene lakes or gently flowing rivers, preparing your pup for their first SUP adventure ensures safety and fun. Here's how to get started, inspired by the journey of a Labrador named Mowgli who found his sea legs (and love for SUP) in the beautiful lakes of Utah.

They say Labradors love swimming, well my dog Mowgli took around 3 years to learn his love for paddle boarding. I let him get comfortable at his own pace. Even though I had grand dreams of paddling the beautiful lakes of Utah much sooner.

Key Highlights

  1. Assessing Your Dog's Swimming Ability: Ensure your dog is comfortable and enjoys water. Use a doggie life jacket for safety.
  2. Off-Water Acclimation: Familiarize your dog with the SUP on land first, using treats for positive reinforcement.
  3. On-Shore Observation: Let your dog observe you paddle to show it's safe and enjoyable.
  4. First Paddle Out: Gradually introduce your dog to the board in shallow water, starting with you on your knees for stability.
  5. Handling Distractions: Keep distractions at bay with treats, and secure all gear.
  6. Choosing the Right SUP: Opt for a wide, stable board with a soft deck pad, considering inflatable boards for durability against dog claws.
  7. Essential Gear for Paddling with Dogs: Don't forget a dog PFD, waterproof treat bag, dog towel and bowl, fresh water, and a leash for safety and comfort.

Can Your Dog Swim?

Safety First: Before venturing out, it's crucial to assess whether your dog enjoys and can handle water. Introduce them to water gently to gauge their comfort level. Remember, a doggie life jacket is essential, even for water-loving breeds, ensuring safety in deeper waters.


Training Your Dog for SUP

Off-Water Acclimation: Begin by familiarizing your dog with the SUP board on solid ground. Encourage them to explore the board by placing treats on it, simulating the board's texture and stability with a little water if possible.

On-Shore Observation: Let your dog watch you paddle close to the shore, demonstrating that it's safe and fun. Their curiosity or protective instinct might encourage them to join in sooner.

Paddle Boarding with your Dog

First Paddle Out

Board Familiarization: Start by coaxing your dog onto the board while it's partially on shore. Let them feel the board's buoyancy and movement in shallow water.

Gradual Introduction: Initially, stay on your knees to paddle, maintaining stability for both of you. As confidence builds, you can transition to standing. Your dog will naturally find their preferred spot on the board, be it at the bow, stern, or between your legs.


shop inflatable paddle boards


Keeping Distractions at Bay

Be prepared for distractions. Birds, other animals, or objects in the water can catch your dog's attention, potentially leading to unplanned swims. Use treats to regain their focus and ensure all gear is securely attached to avoid losses.

Choosing the Right SUP for Your Pup

Stability and Comfort: Opt for a SUP with a wide profile and a full-length soft deck pad for maximum stability and comfort for your dog's paws. Glide's O2 Fusion inflatable boards are known for their durability and are a safe choice for those concerned about punctures from dog claws

 Paddle Board Dog

Essential Gear for SUP with Dogs

  • Dog PFD (Pet Flotation Device): Essential for safety, make sure it's a comfortable fit for your dog.
  • Waterproof Treat Bag: Keeps rewards handy for positive reinforcement.
  • Dog Towel and Bowl: Keep your dog dry and hydrated, especially on longer outing.
  • Fresh Water: Bring clean drinking water for you and your sup pup.
  • Leash: Don't forget the leash, depending on where you are at your sup pup may need to be on a leash once the paws hit the dirt. Also good practice for keeping your furry friend once you are back at the parking lot.

     Puppy on Paddle Board

    Embrace the Adventure

    Starting your SUP journey with your dog might have its ups and downs, but it's a rewarding experience that strengthens your bond. Not every outing will be perfect, but with patience and practice, you'll create unforgettable memories.

    We'd love to see your SUP adventures with your furry friend! Share your moments using  #glidesup and join a community of paddleboarding enthusiasts who cherish their time on the water with their pets.

    Ekko Approved Dog paddle boards.

    The Glide Lotus Line up, both the solid Lotus yoga board and the O2 Lotus yoga sup are Ekko approved.

    The Glide Retro Line up. Hard Retro or Inflatable Retro his tail wags for both.

    The Glide O2 Angler Fishing SUP makes a perfect sup for any pup.

    The Glide O2 Lochsa, although don't run white water or rapids with your pup, that is not an Ekko approved activity.

    Check out my review of the Glide Lotus Yoga Paddle Board!


    Related Topics

    Beginners' Guide to SUP Fishing

    Most Common Paddle Boarding Mistakes

    Paddle Boarding Workouts Routines for Off-Season

    Is SUP a Difficult Water Sport?