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SUP: Stand Up Paddle Boarding With Your Dog

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Kevin Roberts talks about the latest trend in water sports that people and their dogs can enjoy together – Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUP for short, is everywhere right now – all the water enthusiasts are doing it. Not only that, they’re bringing their dogs along for the fun.  If you want to beat the heat, and join the SUP crowd this summer. Here are some tips for you and your dog to get out on the water!

Size matters.  When picking out a board, remember that size matters!  The smaller the dog, and the larger the board, the easier time you will have! When you consider a board, you’ll have to factor in your own weight, as well as the weight of your dog.  It is entirely possible to enjoy SUP with larger dogs, just factor in their weight and size when you go shopping for a board.  For those of us with larger dogs, or multiple dogs, look for a longer and wider board to cruise on.

Pre-boarding exercise. When your dog is first learning to be a SUP pup, you can expect some shifting and wiggle butt on the board.  A wider, longer board is more stable.  A tired dog is also less likely to wiggle and shift about.  So take your dog for a good romp before you both climb on the board.  A tired dog is a good dog.  A tired dog on a SUP is not only a good dog, it’s a dry dog!

Do your homework.  Before you push off on a SUP adventure with your dog you are going to have to become confident on the board yourself.  Learn how to balance and turn the board. Practice falling, and getting back onto the board as well.

Practice on land. Before you get that SUP in the water, lay it down on a soft surface, your back lawn would be ideal.  Reward your dog for lying down or sitting calmly on the board. Teach your dog to jump off the board only on command.  Most SUP spills happen close to shore, when a dog gets excited to be back on land, and jumps from the board, throwing their human paddling partner off balance. If your dog is lacking in obedience skills, brush up on them before you both climb on the SUP.

Get a grip! Paddleboards are designed for human passengers, but many boards on the market offer very little for a dog’s paws to grab onto.  Out on the water, when your board hits a wave, your dog may slip and slide around on the deck.  Your dog will thank you if you put down a bathmat, or an old yoga mat for some grip.

Leave the leash. Having a leash on your dog is just one more thing to get tangled up with should your dog jump, or fall off the board. Instead opt for a lifejacket with a handle or securely fitting harness, so when your dog ends up in the water, you can haul him back on board easily.

Be patient. Some dogs take to SUP naturally, while others need some time to get their sea legs.  You are doing this for fun, so go slow, and don’t push it.

 


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