Wednesday, 8 March 2017

How to safely take your pup on a SUP

When I first discovered stand up paddle boarding (SUP) back in early 2016 it never occurred to me that Elmo, our long-haired dachshund would want to join me.
My new board arrived and I was so excited to get it out of the box and inflate it. As soon as I had finished Elmo jumped on and sat there as if he knew what it was for! I hope you find some of the tips I’ve learnt about keeping him happy and safe when he comes along with me as my SUP buddy helpful.

1. Buy your dog a buoyancy aid. This is important even if your dog is a good swimmer. There are some great ones on the market. They have improved, are a lot less bulky and have come down a lot in price since I bought Elmo’s.

2. Keep the board inflated and somewhere safe for a few days to a week. Put a toy on the board, or a favourite cushion, along with occasional treats. Sit with the pup on the board and play some games.

3. Teach your dog to get on and off the board, sit and stand at your command. Make it fun and do it little and often. The dog really does need to be able to obey commands otherwise it could get dangerous when you’re out on the water.  Rock the board and tell the him it’s ok, make him/her feel safe and secure and then take the board to the beach or waterside and practice there, playing the same games and using treats as rewards. Remember, take it slowly!

4. Get on the water. Start by kneeling, with your pup in-between your legs if they seem worried. Don’t go out too far, use the treats, stay calm. 

5. Have fun!! 

Most dogs love being on a board and soon get the hang of staying still. They don’t have to sit down, Elmo prefers to sit but I’ve seen plenty of dogs standing. Good luck and let me know how you get on!