On the list of things I love the most, stand up paddle boarding and dogs are very high up.
And because you have clicked on this article, I assume you feel the same and – just like I did – are asking yourself whether it’s possible to take your furry friend on your next SUP boarding adventure.
Well, let me tell you the good news:
As a general rule, every dog can be introduced to stand up paddle boarding. While some breeds are born excellent swimmers, others struggle in the beginning and don’t naturally love water. However, if well prepared, all dogs should be able to get around on the SUP board and in the water.
It’s always important to remember that all dogs learn at different paces and you want to make sure that your canine is having as much fun as you are.
So when you head out, be well prepared. This article is teaching you all the basics you need.
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Which Dogs Enjoy Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
If you think about a breed’s traditional purpose, it becomes obvious that some like water more than others.
Some dogs are born with a physical structure that allows them to be excellent swimmers.
A great example of this is the Labrador Retriever.
And – not surprisingly – all breeds that have the word ‘water’ in their name, such as the Spanish Water Dog or the English Water Spaniel.
Other dog breeds struggle to swim without life jackets.
This is the case with Bulldogs for example, whose weight distribution makes it more difficult to swim, or Dachshunds, who have very short legs and a long body – both are features that make it more difficult to move properly in water.
For a rough overview of breeds that naturally love and dislike water, check the two lists below.
Dog Breeds That Love Water
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Portuguese Water Dog
- American Water Spaniel
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Flat-Coated Retriever
- Curly-Coated Retriever
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Boykin Spaniel
- English Setter
- German Shepherd
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Spanish Water Dog
- Standard Poodle
Dog Breeds That Could Struggle In Water
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Lhasa Apso
- Chinese Crested
- Shih Tzu
Please note that our lists are just supposed to give you a general idea of dog breeds that do and don’t have an affinity for water.
Every dog is different and you know your furry friend best.
It’s absolutely possible to get breeds that usually don’t enjoy water so much excited about paddle boarding.
Why Do Dogs Enjoy Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
Now that you have an overview of dog breeds and their opinions about water, you might ask yourself why dogs actually enjoy paddle boarding so much.
The answer is easy: For the same reasons we love it!
Dogs enjoy paddle boarding because they can spend some time in nature, enjoy fresh air and get a good workout.
Plus, they create a special bond with their owners, as staying on a paddle board requires team work and trust.
How to Make Your Dog Enjoy Stand Up Paddle Boarding
As already mentioned, it is very important to be well prepared in order to make your stand up paddle boarding adventure enjoyable for you and your four-legged friend.
We suggest you go through the following steps:
1. Get Enough SUP Boarding Experience
If you are still a complete beginner with shaky legs, go out by yourself a couple more times.
When you introduce your dog to the sport, it’s going to be extra wobbly on the board.
Get confident on the board, so you can help your furry friend get as comfortable as possible too.
2. Teach Your Dog Basic Commands
In order to keep your canine from jumping into the water before you’ve even started paddling, make sure he/ her listens to basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘down.’
3. Make Sure Your Dog Can Swim
Before you try stand up paddle boarding together, get your dog comfortable with water.
For breeds that love water, this is not really necessary, as they are good swimmers and probably already familiar with lakes or the ocean.
However, if you own a dog that’s on the list of breeds that could struggle in water, spend some time getting them used to it.
With some positive reinforcement training, you can show your pup that water is fun.
Treats and fun water toys are perfect for this!
4. Get Your Dog Used to the Board
It can be helpful to let your dog inspect the board on land before you try to get them to jump on it while it’s floating on water.
Teach him/ her to sit and stay on it.
The more you practice this at home, the easier it will be when you’re on water for the first time.
Read also: Drysuit For Paddle Boarding (Buyers Guide)
5. Choose Easy Conditions
On your first day, start on a bay or a lake, as it can be tricky to maintain your balance in waves.
Also make sure that you check the wind and weather forecast.
Even though stand up paddle boarding in rain is a lot of fun, you want to introduce your canine to the watersport in the easiest conditions possible.
6. Bring The Right Equipment
There are a couple of things you should definitely bring when stand up paddle boarding with your dog:
- A life vest for your pup (they include a handle that you can use to pull your pup out of the water)
- A dog treat bag with treats
- A SUP board with good grip, such as this one
7. Observe Your Dog’s Body Language
I’m going to go ahead and assume that you as a dog owner are very familiar with your dog’s body language.
When trying to make your pup fall in love with stand up paddle boarding, let them learn at their own pace and be patient.
If your dog shows constant signs of stress, give him/ her a break – rushing things could have the opposite effect.
Final Thoughts on SUPing With Dogs
Okay, you know now that in theory, you can make all dogs fall in love with stand up paddle boarding.
If you follow all the necessary steps, you’ll be able to share your passion with your four-legged, furry friend very soon.
If you have any further questions about this, feel free to get in touch! We always love to hear from our readers.