sup-with-dogLooking for different ways to enjoy the outdoors with your dog? Do you and your dog love the water? Look what I stumbled across at my local beach this week. A Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Dog! Interested in learning more? So was I…….

Paddle boarders – Sunny and Keanu – and their dog Lucky (Labrador x Golden Retriever) were (thankfully) very happy for me to take loads of photos and ask questions. Sunny has been paddle boarding for years. She now teaches SUP boarding with KBC Boarding in Palm Cove. When she first came down to the beach with her young puppy she felt unhappy about leaving him on the beach whilst she went out paddle boarding. Sunny decided to start training her dog at 10 months to become a SUP dog.

sup-with-dogLucky is obviously a very active dog, so Sunny uses a bright yellow ball to keep him focused. When she needs him to come, and hop onboard the paddle board, Sunny waves the ball around to attract him. When Lucky’s nearby Sunny hauls her dog onto the front of the paddleboard, pockets the ball and steers them both out through the shallow water. Hopping onboard herself she paddles past the waves and out into the calmer water – out here Lucky is happy to stand on the paddleboard and take in the scenery. If Lucky jumps off Sunny uses the ball to attract him back to her paddle board. She then hauls him back onboard and continues to enjoy the SUP with dog.

sup-with-dog-in-surfIt’s exciting to see them come back through the waves to shore. Lucky has obviously added surfing to his repertoire and he crouches down low on the paddle board and rides the waves back in, hopping off when its shallow enough. The ball is thrown, Lucky retrieves it and is then hoisted back onboard for another journey out into the deep. What a great form of exercise for both you and your dog, and what a great way to experience the outdoors together.

What’s good about having a SUP with dog?

You get an extra workout. Having to balance on the paddleboard together with your SUP dog requires energy and muscles get a work out hauling your dog back onboard (make sure you bend your knees!).

Cool off! You and your dog get wet and cool down together.

Low impact exercise. Exercising in the water can be a lot kinder on you and your dog’s body.

Increase your bond. You and your dog get to have lots of fun together.

Some suggestions if you want to give paddleboarding with your dog a go:

Learn to paddle board without a dog to start with.

• Get your dog confident in the water.

Buy a DFD (Dog Flotation Device). These have handles on the back to help ‘pull’ your dog out of the water and they offer extra security if the dog falls into deep water a long way from shore.

Learn with your dog in very calm and very shallow water.

• Teach your dog to return to you at command or have a way of attracting them back to you eg. use a bright ball or toy (treats get kinda wet out there)

Read a book for tips on how to SUP with dog. eg ‘How to SUP With Your PUP

Are you a keen paddleboarder? Have you tried it with your dog yet or do you know someone else that does? Any more tips you can add?

This post is also part of the Fit Dog Friday Blog hop.