“How to SUP with Your Pup” offers guide to paddle board fun with your dog
From the beginning, the creation of Tahoe SUP was fueled by a desire to paddle board with a dog. Founder Nate Brouwer searched in vain to find a board with ample volume and glide to do so. His wish was to spend days exploring the iconic shoreline of Lake Tahoe with his best buddy, Stella.
Brouwer began creating prototypes in 2007, putting them to the test, searching for that perfect shape that would finally gain the approval of the keen senses of Stella. In those early days the shape of the brand would be forged, building boards that allow the freedom to bring along gear (and dogs) for adventures around the pristine alpine lake.
Since then, the growth of the sport across inland waterways and outside the surf zone has been astounding. Brouwer adopted the term “Touring” to describe his vision and interpretation of the new watersport and also the new style of displacement hull board he created. Along with revolutionary shapes of his boards, the aesthetics and designs of his boards and accessories spoke directly to outdoor enthusiasts who were seeking the same freedom.
Today, stand up paddle boarding is everywhere, on every stretch of water deep enough to dig a paddle into. And folks continue to enjoy time on the water with their pets. With accessories like the Buddy Pad, that easy attach to all Tahoe SUP boards, there is a comfortable spot for your four legged friend. We have seen dogs, cats, pigs, turtles, seals and manatees all getting in on the action. But it’s our canine companions that enjoy it the most and just the excitement they display when they know where they are going is motivation enough to get out on the water.
There’s a book for that
Schultz, an outdoor enthusiast, ACA-certified stand up paddleboard instructor, art director, photographer and author, was inspired to write the books from countless hours on the water with her dogs, Riley and Kona.
Along with her blog, How to Sup with your Pup, offers plenty of useful advice not only for taking those first steps onto your board with dog but how to enrich the experience for both of you. From safety tips to gear and a full training plan, the book is a great guide for first timers and frequent paddlers.
From her blog, Schultz serves up her Top 10 Tips for Standup Paddling with Your Dog.
Always make your dog wear a life jacket
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about why dogs should wear life jackets in the water. On paddleboards the handle on the life jacket is so important because it gives you a way to get your dog back on the board. Also, dogs that love the water may exhaust themselves before they realize they are too tired to swim back to you. Lastly, if you get separated from your dog while on the water a brightly colored jacket will help you and other boaters spot him.
Leave the leash on the dock
This is a tricky topic. As an ACA SUP instructor we teach people to always wear a board leash because it keeps you tethered to
your most buoyant object – the board. Unfortunately the law requires dogs to be on leashes in most parks. But the dog’s leash can easily get tangled on your leash, or hang overboard and get caught on debris in the water potentially dragging your dog off board. It’s really a judgment call. If you feel safer with your pup on a leash, attach it to the life jacket, and stand on the opposite end. This way the leash is not around your dog’s neck and you can quickly release him if you need to. Consider the conditions of the water you are paddling in, and check with the local park rules first!
Keep nails and feet tidy
Trim your dog’s nails and any extra hair in between the pads of his feet before paddling. This will help reduce scratches on the board and keep your dog from slipping.
Add extra grip
Riley has hip dysplasia, and Kona has a bad joint in her front leg — it makes me cringe when I see them slip on a paddleboard. Most boards especially epoxy boards are very slippery. Adding an extra pad for your dog will make his ride safer. There are a variety of options to choose from, like additional deck pads, rubber bath mats, or the Buddy Pad.
Wear out young or energetic dogs before paddling
No matter how much you train sometimes it’s just hard for puppies or high-energy dogs to relax on the board. Bring along a water toy like the Lunker or Hydro Plane, and have a game of fetch before you take your dog out on the board. Swimming is great exercise, and it will help cool your dog down before paddling.
Bring along some treats
Never stop training and reinforcing good behavior. Bring along a few small treats and reward your dog when he’s sitting on the board properly and being a good pup.
Intentionally fall off your board and practice getting back on. Helping your dog get back on the board can be tricky, so know what to expect!
You and your dog will both need lots of water while paddling in the hot sun. Sun reflecting off the water can dehydrate you both quickly. Hydration packs are great options; you can easily access your water, plus it stays a little cooler inside the pack. Also be sure to get a collapsible water bowl like the Quencher for your dog. It’s lightweight and easily folds up into a hydration pack.
First aid kit
Have a small first aid kit if you are going out on a long day trip. Anything from snakebites to torn pads can happen while your dog is out with you. Having a few supplies on hand can make all the difference until you can get back to land. Check out Randy Acker’s book, Field Guide: Dog First Aid Emergency Care for the Hunting, Working, and Outdoor Dog. Carry it with you. It’s a great reference guide for dog first aid.
Anticipate the jump
When a dog unexpectedly jumps off a board, the board moves, a lot, and everyone usually ends up in the water. When approaching the shore or a dock go into the safety position and kneel on the board. Sometimes pups get excited when they know it’s time to get back to land, plus it’s just safe practice to kneel within 15 feet of the shore or dock.
About How to Sup with Your Pup
Learning how to stand up paddle (SUP) is one thing, and learning with a dog is a little more involved. Some dogs are naturals while others may need a little more training. Stand up paddling with your dog can be a rewarding experience for both of you, if it’s done with a little preparation and planning. How to SUP With Your PUP guides you through simple training and is designed to make the learning process smooth and safe for human and pup. This concise guide includes everything you and your dog need to SUP–from types of gear to a full training plan. Available on Amazon.com.