SUP with a Pup: Why You Should Bring Your Pooch Paddleboarding + How to Do it

SUP with a Pup

Tired of adventuring by yourself? If you can’t find a SUP buddy, why not bring man’s best friend along? And if your dog already loves the water, turning them into a SUP pup should be no problem! If you don’t know where to start, just follow this simple guide to get your pup up on your SUP board.

SUP with a Pup

Choosing the Right Board

Stability

It goes without saying that you’ll want you and your pup to be stable on your board together. Make sure that the weight of you and your pup combined are compatible with your stand-up paddleboard’s buoyancy. Smooth SUP’s convenient inflatable boards are the ideal size to paddle with one other passenger or a pup!

Space

You’ll also want to have enough room to stand comfortably and paddle so you and your pup can enjoy the ride. Make sure that both you and your pup have enough space to enjoy each other’s company before heading out.

Traction

Consider a deck pad if your board doesn’t already have one. This will allow both you and your dog to have some traction, especially if it gets a little choppy. Plus, a deck pad may help your pup feel more at ease than a slippery surface.

Board Type

An inflatable stand-up paddleboard will be the most durable and comfortable for your pup, and you won’t have to worry about their nails scratching the surface. Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are made with strong PVC material. Check out Smooth SUP's collection of boards here

teach your dog to SUP

What to pack

Dog Life Jacket

Even if your dog is a good swimmer, it’s always a good idea to get them a PFD (personal flotation device). You’ll want to keep them safe in any situation—even water-loving dogs can become overexerted while swimming. You can get them used to their life jacket by putting it on at home and letting them get a feel for it.

stand up paddle with dog

Dry bag with water & collapsible dog bowl

Don’t forget to hydrate! Your dog can get hot and thirsty out on the water just like you. So be sure to bring a dry bag, including a collapsible dog bowl and water bottle. This is especially important if you’re SUPing in salt water.

Board Training Your Pup

Let him discover the board in a comfortable setting. 

You can leave your board sitting somewhere in your home to allow your dog to check it out in a familiar place. Let him sniff it, and maybe he’ll even get up on his own! Then, take it outside and do the same.

Sit on him with the board.

Sit on the board with your pup when the fins are off to get him used to the two of you sharing that space. Plus, it’ll reassure your pup that the board is safe.

Leave treats on the board or reward with treats.

You can leave some treats on the board or even practice some good ol' sit and stay training on top of your SUP board. Soon, they’ll learn that your SUP board is a rewarding, safe, and fun place to be!

SUP with your dog

Getting Into the Water

Start in calm water.

If your dog is new to going out on the water, you may want to find a calm launching area as waves may be a bit too intimidating at first. The less rocky the board is, the better your pup will feel about hopping aboard.

Assume the position.

Place your dog in his spot on the board or give them a command to get on (possibly rewarding with treats for a job well done), slowly launch out, and hop on! 

Help Your Pup Back Up

It’s important to learn how and what to do if your dog decides to go for an unexpected swim or falls off.

  1. Make sure you’re centered on your board.
  2. Glide up alongside your dog. He’ll probably naturally turn so that he’s facing the board with his spine perpendicular to the board.
  3. Grab the handle on your dog’s life jacket (another reason doggy life jackets are so important!).
  4. Your dog will start to try and climb up naturally. Now, give him that extra boost! Give a slight tug, and lift the lifejacket. This will help him get his back legs onto the board.
  5. Get ready for the shake!
  6. Praise him to let him know he’s ok and did a good job swimming back to you.
paddle boarding with dog

Smooth Sailing with Your SUPing Pup!

SUPing with your pup can be such a fun experience and a great way to spend time together. Your dog will be so grateful to go on these adventures with you. Most pup and SUPers love inflatable boards for their adventures. Their traction, stability, and durability are the complete package for you and your furry pal.  So, grab your inflatable SUP, your pup, and head out adventures with your best friend!