How to Teach Your Dog to Stand-up Paddleboard

It's beginning to feel like summer. With temperatures over 90F in Seattle, it's time to start enjoying the outdoors! Paddleboarding is an excellent low impact and safe activity for dogs. And we have the tips and tricks to teaching your dog how to enjoy paddleboarding.

How to Teach Your Dog to Stand-up Paddleboard

1.  Exposure to Water
Your dog needs to be comfortable with water before putting them on a paddleboard. Fill up a bathtub or kids pool with water and let your dog get used to being in water. This reduces stress and anxiety before going out on the paddleboard for the first time.

2.  Life Vest is a Non-Negotiable
Frenchies will sink if they fall into a large body of water. Get a fitted life vest and start using it. Take practice runs in the water with your dog wearing their life vest. This allows them to get comfortable with the vest and learn to float when in the water.

3.  Experience With the Paddleboard at Home
Put your paddleboard in a room at home and allow your dog to sniff and walk on the paddleboard. This reduces stress when out on the water for the first time.

4.  Practice Runs in Water
It is now time to put all the pieces together and have your first trial run with your dog and the paddleboard. Remember to start small! Put the board in a shallow area of water, put your dog on the board, and move around. Give praise to your dog and their efforts. This increases confidence while decreasing confusion about what is proper paddleboarding behavior.

5.  Jump On
Now that your dog is feeling comfortable with the board, it is time for you to join your dog. Get on the board, and stay on your knees so that your dog can get used to floating on the water with another passenger. If your dog starts walking to the front of the board, reposition your dog closer to you. This helps both of you learn how to balance and decrease falls into the water.

The goal of your first run is to get your dog comfortable on the board and to limit falling into the water. This helps to create a positive experience for future outings.

6.  Limit Time On Water
Limit your time out on the water is crucial to prevent burn-out. Keep play time brief, around 30 to 45 minutes. Watch for signs that your dog may be getting tired, then go back to shore and rest. As your dog gets more experienced, you can stay out on the water longer.

7.  Celebrate
When back on land, praise your dog for their first successful paddleboard run! Activities together builds teamwork and trust between you and your dog. Not only are you having fun together but building a strong bond between the two of you.  

As you get more comfortable paddleboarding as a team, you can increase the difficulty. Spend longer time out on the water. Begin standing while paddling. And don't forget to have fun.