SUP Dog?

K9 Co-captains: They have their own seat in the car, keep your feet warm while you lounge, clean your plate when you you can't, help keep the jogging pace, and wouldn't have it any other way. Why then would anyone leave them to guard the cooler and hold down the towel during a paddle session? 

Many people cite that their dogs don't like the water, which may be a fair point. However, Sparky didn't like the car when you first adopted him. Probably didn't like the leash either. Now look at Sparky, he can hardly contain himself when the leash comes out and leaps into the back seat with enthusiasm normally reserved only for a darting squirrel.

The fact of the matter is, dogs are creatures of habit and people pleasers to boot. They live for you to get home from work and they always know its coming. You don't tell them you're getting home at 4:00 when you leave, they observe it and always waiting by the window when the time comes. You can't tell them that if they let you attach their leash it's time to go running, they learn because you do it consistantly. 

A paddleboard is the same way. If you try once and your dog is uncomfortable with it, well, so were you the first time. They need to be shown that it is safe, that you enjoy it, and that it is an opportunity to share time together and get outside. That's all they really want. 

Here are a few tips to get you started. Beyond these it's just the routine of getting them out of the house and paddling whenever you have time!

  • The more frequently you try, the sooner they'll be comfortable. They understand routine and practice.
  • They're keen on how you feel. Make sure you're comfortable first, so they know it's safe. 
  • Make sure they can swim
  • Get them comfortable with the water, carry them out from shore and let them swim back. This shows them that falling in is ok.
  • Store your paddleboard in a space where your dog spends time, so they're used to being around it.
  • Sit down on the board with them for a while. They will feel safer with you at eye level. 
  • Slowly work your way out from shore, going farther with each session.

 

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