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Pups on SUPS - How To Paddle Board With Your Dog

You love to SUP, and you love your pup, so what could be better than teaching your pup to ride along with you on your paddle board adventures? Paddle boarding can be a great way for both you and your dog to get exercise and enjoy time together in the great outdoors.

If you’re thinking of taking your dog out on the water, check out these tips to help make teaching your dog to ride on your stand up paddle board easy, safe, and fun for both of you.

Pick the Right Board

When picking a board to SUP with your pup, you want to make sure it is stable enough to handle both your weight, and his. This is more of an issue with larger dogs, as if you are 140, and your dog is 100lbs, you need a board that can easily support 240lbs!

A board with a full length, or full wrap deck pad makes things much easier as there are no areas he can slip on. If you don’t have a full-length deck pad, you can use a yoga mat or even a towel on the areas that aren’t padded to make sure he has lots of grip and traction.

Boards like the Dura-Maxx, Fusion, Bliss, All Terrain Air, and All Terrain Super-Lite series are amongst the most popular Cruiser SUP's for paddling with dogs.

Pick the Right Board

PFD (Pooch Flotation Device)

Many dogs are good swimmers, but since the paddle board adds an element that your pooch isn’t familiar with, it’s a good idea to get a life jacket. A pooch jumping off a tipping paddle board could get disoriented. Make sure it fits well, and put it on at home so he can get used to it before going in the water. It goes without saying, you should be wearing a lifejacket as well!

PFD (Pooch Flotation Device)

Before Heading out on the Water

Paddle boarding can be an overwhelming experience for your dog. Things as simple as wearing a life jacket or standing on the board can increase fear if they’re foreign to him. To make the transition as smooth as possible, use these tips to introduce your dog to the sport before getting on the water.

  • Teach your dog basic commands. Before you and your furry friend can get out on the water, make sure he’s mastered basic obedience commands like “sit” and “stay”.


  • Make Sure Your SUP Skills Are up to the Challenge. Don’t get on a SUP with your pet until you’re confident using one by yourself. You should be comfortable standing up, paddling, and turning. Make sure you can also fall and get back on from the water. When paddling with your dog, a lot of your attention will go towards him at first, and that can be tough if your own paddling skills are not up to the challenge.


  • Make sure your dog can swim. Before paddle boarding with your dog, ensure he is comfortable swimming. If he is a weak swimmer or afraid of water, the experience will not be enjoyable. Allowing your pooch to swim on his own several times should be enough to help him get over any fears.


  • Trim sharp and long nails. Anyone who has ever swam near a dog knows that shorter nails are better than long and sharp ones. By keeping your dog's nails short and dull, you will minimize chances of the finish of your board getting scratched, or your deck pad torn.

Let Your Pup Get Used to your SUP

  • Before hitting the water, introduce your dog to the board on solid ground. Put the board in an area of the house that your dog is comfortable. Allow him to sniff it, look at it, and explore it on his own terms. It’s not a problem if he doesn’t jump right on at first, it’s just there for him to get used to.


  • Put treats on and around the board. Once the board has been in the house awhile, put a treat on it to encourage your dog to walk on. Tell him to sit and give another treat. After repeating this every few hours, he should be somewhat comfortable with the board. Take it slow and don’t force him. The board should be fun for the dog. He shouldn’t feel afraid or pressured.


  • Do a dry run. When he’s comfortable, put on his life jacket and get him on the board again. If you do this several times, standing on the board with his life jacket will feel more natural, and the only difference when you are out on the water will be the surroundings.


  • Practice commands for getting off the board. Before you get out on the water, practice a special command for getting off the board, and only reward him when he jumps off on command. If he gets off without the command, lead him back onto the board and try again. After awhile, he should get the hang of it.


  • Reward good behaviour. Teach your pup to only jump off the board when commanded, and reward him with a treat or praise when he does. A lot of the time, dogs get excited and jump off the board when you’re getting close to shore. This can throw you off balance and into the water, which can be more dangerous near the shore.
Paddle Boarding with Your Dog Tips

Going Paddle Boarding With Your Dog for the First Time

  • Once your dog is on board, have him sit between your feet and the nose of the board. With him in front of you, you can keep an eye on him much better than if he is behind you.


  • Start out paddling on your knees for better balance.


  • Slowly get to your feet, and slowly start to paddle. Watch out for him with your paddle as you take strokes, or change paddling sides!


  • Keep it short the first time out. When you get back to shore, reward your dog and give him praise. It may not go perfectly the first time out, but it’s all part of the learning experience.


  • Be prepared for your dog to jump off at any time. The board will move a lot when a large dog jumps off, and when it happens you may fall in as well. Make sure that you’re only standing on the board when in deep enough water and away from any hazards like boats or people. If your dog jumps or falls off the board, help him back onto the board so that he doesn’t scratch the board’s finish trying to get on. Life jackets will usually have handles for you to grab onto.


Pro Tip: Be patient. Not all dogs were born to ride. If it isn’t clicking, don’t force it. Take a break, and try again later or on another day.

Pups on SUPs

Get Out On The Water!

Don’t leave your best friend on shore when you’re out on your paddle board. If you follow these tips, you and your favourite four-legged friend will be ready for epic adventures on the water together.

Have a suggestion we missed, or a great picture of you and your dog stand up paddle boarding? Comment below, or email us at