Dog Week! SUP With Your Pup
I decided to declare this week Dog Week! I already had some dog posts in mind and I thought, why not make a whole week of it? Please enjoy 5 days of tail-wagging fun! :)
I'm a big stand up paddleboard fan. I never thought I'd be a water sports person, since I'm not a strong swimmer, but I absolutely love paddling and I love the community that comes with it. Recently, my friend asked me if I'd like to participate in a trial "SUP With Your Pup" class to determine the best course of teaching new dogs. Of course I was game! The question is... would Nico be up for it?
We started in the parking lot and let all the dogs meet, sniff, and get acquainted with each other. We then secured each dog into personal floatation devices - even if they can swim, it's nice to have the peace of mind that your dog won't sink! The handles also help pull them onto the board if they fall off. Believe me, this came in handy!
The next step was to get the pups comfortable on the boards. We started on land and lured them on the board with treats. They did great! Then it was time to try it on the water...
After a lot of treats, positive reinforcement, and getting really, really wet, the dogs made it onto the board. I won't say that they loved it - they were certainly still a bit frightened, but they definitely hung in there. Once they realized it was either stay on the board or take a dunk in the water, the motivation to stay on the board was very high!
Once the dogs got to chill on the board by themselves for a bit, us humans climbed on board and paddled down the towpath!
Nico says, "Paddle onward, Lady With the Treats!"
It was definitely rocky while we got used to the dogs moving around. We stayed on our knees or seated while paddling. The dogs ran all over the board, so it was best to stay low to minimize falling in the water (though that's fun, too).
They key during all of this is to continually tell your dog that he or she is doing great, and have lots of treats necessary. I had a bag of treats clipped to my vest the whole time full of cheesy doodles (I don't remember what they're really called). Both Tonka and Nico wanted to be near each other, so they constantly whined for the other and occasionally jumped in the water to swim to the other dog! It was hilarious and exciting at the same time. Funny to see how much they wanted to be near each other and exciting to see how well both dogs took to the water. You know they were going to sleep well on the ride home!!
Once the dogs settled down some and weren't walking the board so much, we were able to stand up with ease. At times Nico would be at the front of the board, the back of the board, or even smack dab in the middle of my legs (at times I pretended to sit on him), so it was definitely a good leg and core workout to stay balanced while the pups moved. And a great arm workout to pull them onto the board if they fell or jumped in. At times each of us had both dogs on the board - that's over 100 extra pounds to paddle around!
I even got so comfortable standing that I tried to do some of the SUP tricks I knew, like a tail drop. Needless to say, we both fell in!
I'm just so excited that Nico did so great on the water. Of course he tried to take off for land as soon as we got near it, but he did so well on the board that I feel comfortable taking him along with me when I go paddling. The PFD also made me feel better about his swimming and I loved that he jumped into the water on his own. Yay, Nico, my water boy!
If you haven't tried standup paddleboarding, I highly recommend it as a great workout and family/friend fun. If you're brave, bring your dog along and it's a great way to spend time with your pup.
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Here's some of the gear that I found very helpful, in case you want to get them. I highly recommend each of these items.
Want more Dog Week? Check out these posts:
What do you do to stay active with your dog? Is he or she a water dog?