There is so much joy sharing time on your SUP with your pup. The time you have and will spend training your pooch on land will pay off on the water. If your dog will not sit on command while on land, it is probably going to get interesting on the board.
I start by introducing dogs to the board on land, this is where having a Hala inflatable comes in very handy. Each dog has a different reaction to being on a board even on land. Once the dog will sit comfortably on the board I will rock it gently around getting used to the board moving. Treats are usually a good distraction.
Introducing the paddle is next. I start on my knees with the dog sitting between my legs and simulate paddling. After a few minutes, I stand up and swing the paddle gently around the dog. I rock the board side to side and move my feet around. If we have a good reaction to these first steps we can introduce the dog to the board on the water.
It is important to have a good pdf for you and your dog, and they should always be worn. NEVER tie your dog to your craft. If your dog needs to be tied more land training is required. I start with the dog on the board just as on dry land. I will rock the board around and splash a little.
Now it’s time to hop on the board. I start on my knees with the dog between my legs. Paddle around splash, rock the board side to side. Practice reboarding by hopping off the board with the dog. Once you climb back on the board pull the dog back up with the handle on the vest. Get used to the dog hopping off the board and on to shore while you are on your knees, this can easily knock you off the board. Never get in a rush to get your dog out on moving water this training can take some dogs awhile.
Now it’s time to stand with the dog. I repeat all the steps that we went through on our knees. Most of the time on the board my dog Rokit is up on the front, but I have also trained him to sit between my feet. Next is the pivot turn, with Rokit sitting between my feet I will step back sinking the tail a little and reach far away from my board. With a big forward sweep, I will do a few 360s.
Be careful enjoy and never put your dog in a situation where they will not want to ever get back on your board again.
Jake Walker is an ambassador for Hala Gear.