Hot Tips For Teaching Your Dog To Paddle Board With You

We’ve all seen photos of dogs on stand-up paddle boards and thought to ourselves, wow, that’s awesome. How cool would it be if I could take my dog out on my paddle board. We could have so much fun together!

I couldn’t think of anything better myself, but there are a few things that you may want to think about before taking your four-legged friend out for a spin on your SUP, including what material the SUP is made of.

dog friendly stand up paddle boards

But lets start form the basics things you need to consider to ensure an excellent experience for all involved before I share some great tips to give you the best chance of making this a reality.

Does Your Dog Enjoy Playing In Water?

It may seem like a silly question, but not all dogs enjoy playing out on the water and throwing them on a SUP could create a lot of unnecessary anxiety for the dog.

water training for dogs

Find out if your dog enjoys swimming

Your dog may enjoy running into the water’s edge and fetching a stick, but to go out on a SUP they need to be able to swim. If they don’t swim to fetch the stick, they may have some apprehension of the water. You may need to do some dog training in the water before taking them out on your paddle board.

Can your dog swim unaided?

Although your dog may enjoy jumping into the water, they must be able to swim well, and they must be able to do it without panic. If they can’t, a dog life jacket is a must.

inflatable sup with puppy

Consider The Length and Size of Your Paddle Board

Your current SUP may be suitable. But only if it’s long enough and has a little bit of extra width. A paddle board that is at least 10.5ft long and 33 inches wide is a good starting point.

Make sure the weight carrying capacity of the SUP is at least 230lbs. 

Even if you and your dog are on the lighter side of the scales, a SUP that can hold more weight is likely to be more stable in the water, which is an excellent thing if your dog starts moving around.

inflatable paddle board with dog

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Dog Safe?

There are many types of iSUPs out on the market that are suitable for this purpose.

When looking for an inflatable paddle board, search for one made of quality materials with full-length deck pad linings.

This is important because if your dog has sharp claws, there is a small potential of the claws puncturing the SUP If it’s built from poor quality materials.

A full-length deck pad will ensure your furry friend’s claws will never touch the SUPs lining. 

Use These 3 Steps To Familiarise Your Dog With The SUP

Your dog may like swimming, but being thrown on a moving paddle board may be an experience that could make your dog anxious without proper preconditioning. 

So try to do the following at home in a relaxed environment.

Hot tip: Remove the fin when carrying out step 1 & 2 to avoid any damage to it 

Step 1: Let dogs be dogs and do their thing. 

Walk your dog around the paddleboard, allow them to smell it, walk over it and sit on it etc…

Make it a fun experience

  • Don’t get angry
  • Don’t force your dog to like the SUP
  • Don’t get frustrated if they are apprehensive or show no interest
  • Give them time 

If the dog shows no interest in the paddleboard now and wants nothing to do with it, remember the points above and try another day.

introducing sup to your dog


Step 2: Make sure your dog is comfortable

Assuming your dog is happy with the paddle board and has got over their initial excitement.

Get them to sit on the SUP while you’re on it. This will give them a slight idea of what to expect reducing the chance of unexpected surprises.

Step 3: The water test – Teaching your dog to paddle board

If you have a pool, this is the perfect place to do this. If you don’t, plan a short water outing but ensure that you are always close to shore.

Hot tip: Acknowledge to yourself that things may not go to plan the first time around. Be prepared to get wet! 

For this first bit, you will be in the water holding the paddleboard

  • Place the SUP in a position that will allow your dog to walk on from the pool edge or the foreshore.
  • Once on, slowly move the board away from the edge and into the open water
  •  Move the board around and make sure your dog is comfortable and happy with the experience.

All going well. Get onboard the SUP but make sure you do it from a position that won’t tip your dog overboard.

Hot Tip: You may want to sit to start off, until you both get used to this new experience.  

paddleboard dog

Making Sure Your Dog Loves Paddleboarding Forever 

Now It’s time to get on the open water and have some fun! 

The best way to get your dog to love SUPing forever is to make it a fun experience. The first few outing could make or break this love. The following points may help you achieve that

  • Initially go out on days when the water is calm.
  • Stay close to shore on your first few outings.
  • And of course, always bring some dog treats.
dog life jacket

3 Essential Tips That Will Keep Your Dog And You Safe When Paddleboarding

#1 Wear a life jacket

You may be a swimming pro and have excellent skills on a SUP. But dogs can be unpredictable. An excited dog could cause the SUP to get off balance and have you both in the water in no time.

Falling off your SUP doesn’t need to be a stressful event.

It will be easier to get your dog back on the SUP, if you don’t have to worry about keeping yourself afloat. 

Wearing an approved floatation device could well be a lifesaver. 

For that matter, it’s also worth considering a suitable life jacket for your dog. 

At the very least, it will give you something to grab onto and get them back on board.

#2 Wear a safety leash

Properly designed safety leashes are lifesavers. They have a much higher likelihood of assisting you than hindering you. It is far easier to get distracted if both you and your dog fall of your paddle board. 

A safety leash will ensure your SUP is always close by.

The same can’t be said for tying your dog to the SUP or placing a safety leash on the dog.

This will hinder your dog’s ability to swim, and the last thing you want is your dog getting into a panic while tied to the SUP

#3 Always take some doggy treats

Having some treats on hand is an excellent way to distract your dog and keep them happy and calm. A happy and content dog is less likely to cause mischief through boredom.

While I think of it, why not take some goodies for yourself to keep your energy levels up while out on the water.

Teaching Your Dog To Paddle Board orientation


Taking your dog on the water can be super fun. Please remember that not all dogs will love this activity, and some may prefer to watch from shore.

Staying calm and ensuring you provide a happy, fun environment gives you the best chance of getting your dog on the water.

Don’t forget that the ultimate aim of paddleboarding is to enjoy yourself and get a break from the grind of everyday life. It’s about breathing some fresh air and putting a smile on your dial.  

Steve Frankland

Steve Frankland

Steve Frankland loves the outdoor life and getting out in nature. He loves writing and sharing knowledge. He's part of the team at He’ll find any excuse he can to get out on the water and can often be seen on a SUP with his kids and dogs.