Paddle Boards and Pets: Tips for Taking Your Furry Friends SUPing
Paddle boards and furry friends are a great combination. Find out how to navigate with your pup on board.
Preparing for the Adventure
Taking your pet on a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) outing might seem like a challenging task, but with the right preparation, it can be an enriching experience for both you and your furry friend. As an important first step, you need to select the perfect paddle board for this activity. The type of paddle board that suits best for you and your pet primarily depends on the pet’s size and the activity you're planning. Inflatable paddle boards provide more stability, are less slippery, and are more comfortable for pets compared to solid paddle boards. You might want to consider an inflatable paddle board if you're planning to SUP with your pet regularly.
For first-timers, it's advisable to take it slow and ensure your pet is comfortable before taking them on board. It might help to let them get used to the board on dry land before introducing them to the water. Just like how you would train a pet for any new experience, it's important to take baby steps and use positive reinforcement to make the process enjoyable.
Choosing the Right Gear
The choice of gear can significantly impact your SUP experience with your pet. Apart from a suitable paddle board and a pet PFD, a non-slip mat can provide your pet with extra stability.
An appropriate leash for your pet and the board can help ensure safety. Use a standard flat leash for your pet and a coiled leash for the board to avoid tangling.
If you're planning on longer trips or paddle boarding in colder weather, consider investing in a doggy wetsuit to keep your pet warm. To find the right paddle board for colder conditions, check out our guide on what paddle board to use in winter.
Creating an Enjoyable Experience
This is key to ensuring your pet has a positive time on the paddle board. Start by introducing your pet to the board on dry land. Let them sniff around, get familiar with the texture and surface of the board, and give them treats while they're on it to associate the board with positive experiences. Next, you could try floating the board in a shallow, calm body of water, like a pool or a calm lake. Let your pet step on and off the board, helping them get comfortable with the sensation of the floating board beneath them.
Gradually increase the amount of time your pet spends on the board, always keeping sessions short, positive, and fun. Never force your pet onto the board if they're clearly scared or uncomfortable. If your pet seems nervous, step back and spend more time on the previous steps until they're more comfortable.
Once your pet is used to the board on calm waters, you can try taking them on short, slow paddle board rides. Be sure to stay close to shore and in calm water. As your pet becomes more comfortable, you can gradually venture further and increase the speed at which you paddle.
Remember that each pet is different. Some pets might take to paddle boarding right away, while others might need more time to adjust. Patience is key, and so is making the experience enjoyable for your pet. If your pet seems stressed or unhappy at any point, it's best to end the session and try again another day.
Safety First: SUPing with Pets
Your pet's safety should always be your primary concern when SUPing. To ensure they remain safe, consider equipping them with a pet life jacket. Not only do these jackets provide buoyancy, but they often include handles that make it easier to lift your pet back onto your paddle board if they happen to fall in the water.
A pet life jacket is an important factor in maintaining safety on the water, just as a human life vest would be. It's also crucial to gradually introduce your pet to the paddle board on dry land before taking them out on the water. As with any new experience, it's best to start slow and increase exposure as your pet grows comfortable.
Also, remember to keep an eye on the weather conditions before heading out. SUPing in calm, flat water will be a much smoother ride for your furry friend compared to choppy conditions.
Training Your Pet for SUP
Training your pet for SUP is similar to any other form of training. It requires patience, consistency, and lots of positive reinforcement. Start by getting your pet comfortable with the board itself. Let them sniff it, walk on it, and spend time on it at home before attempting to take them out on the water. This will help familiarize them with the feel of the board under their paws and minimize any potential anxiety or fear.
Once they're comfortable on the board at home, try taking them to shallow water environments where they can get used to the sensation of the board on the water without the risk of deep water. This is a great way to provide an introduction to the sport without overwhelming them.
While it may seem tempting to just bring your pet along for a ride right away, it's important to consider their comfort and confidence levels first. In some cases, you might need to enlist the help of a professional trainer, especially if your pet is prone to anxiety or fearfulness.
Always remember that each pet is unique, so what works for one might not work for another. Flexibility and adaptability are key to successfully introducing your pet to paddle boarding.
Choosing the Right Paddle Board for Your Pet
If you plan on paddle boarding with your pet regularly, it's important to have a board that suits both of your needs. In general, you should consider a larger, wider board for more stability. If you are new to paddle boarding, you may want to read our guide on how to choose the perfect paddle board for beginners.
One option to consider is an inflatable paddle board. These boards are often more comfortable for pets due to their softer surfaces. In addition, inflatable paddle boards are easy to transport and store, making them perfect for pet owners with limited storage space. Learn more about the benefits of inflatable paddle boards on our blog.
However, if you prefer solid paddle boards, make sure to choose one with a large, flat surface area for your pet to sit on. Also, consider adding some sort of traction pad for your pet's area to help them stay put. Be aware of the board's weight capacity to ensure it can safely carry both you and your pet.
Preparing for the Adventure
Before you head out on the water, make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks for both you and your pet. You might also want to bring a pet-friendly sunscreen for your furry friend, as they can get sunburned too!
Don't forget to check out our [SUP camping guide](https://www.glidesup.com/blogs/expert-advice/5-tips-to-prepare-for-your-first-sup-camping-trip) if you plan on making an overnight trip. Bringing a pet on a camping trip requires additional preparations, including bringing enough food, water, and maybe even a pet tent for them to sleep in.
Remember to Have Fun!
Finally, the most important part of paddle boarding with your pet is to have fun! Make each outing a positive experience for your pet by showering them with praise and treats. This will help them form a positive association with the board and the water, making future outings easier and more enjoyable for both of you.
Remember that it's okay if your pet doesn't take to paddle boarding right away. Just like humans, animals need time to adjust to new experiences. Keep trying, and eventually your pet might come to love SUPing as much as you do!
Paddle boarding with your pet can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it's important to prioritize their safety and comfort at all times. From choosing the right board to packing the necessary supplies, proper preparation can make all the difference. We hope this guide provides you with the information you need to start SUPing with your pet!
Remember to share your SUPing adventures with us on social media using the hashtag #GlideSUP.
Don't hesitate to contact us if you need more advice or have any questions about paddle boarding with pets. Our team at Glide SUP is always ready to help you make the most of your SUPing experience.