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Paddle Boarding With A Dog – 5 Helpful Tips For Success

Updated February 1st, 2023

Paddle boarding with a dog

If you’re a dog parent, paddle boarding with dogs can be one of the best sources of exercise for your dog as well as a great way to bond with them. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the serene waters with your canine friend while on vacation. 

When taking your dog along for an adventurous activity like this, it is equally important to learn about and follow all the necessary safety measures. You will need to prepare yourself and your furry friend, get them accustomed to a paddleboard, and only then encourage them to get on board your paddleboard. 

This article will take you through some of the essentials of paddle boarding with a dog that you need to consider before trying it.

Can You Go Paddle Boarding With A Dog?

Do dogs like paddle boarding? They love it! And it is a great outdoor activity that you and your dog can enjoy together. 

Paddle boarding is very easy to learn, which is why it is also a recommended activity to take up with your dogs. Besides being a great physical activity, it also mentally stimulates your dog and helps them acquire balance in their brain and body. 

Before you take your dog paddle boarding, you need to ensure proper training, invest in a suitable board, wear proper safety gear, and practice a lot before hitting the waters with your dog. Proper preparation can help ensure success when you finally hit the water with your canine companion.

how to train a dog to use a paddleboard

1 – How Do You Train A Dog To Use A Paddle Board?

You can only get your dog to love paddle boarding and get them comfortable stepping on and using a paddleboard by training them adequately. 

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to get your dog comfortable on a paddleboard.

Get Yourself Confident With The Board

Before you can get your dog comfortable using the paddleboard, you must get confident using the board yourself. You should be able to balance on the board and maneuver it with confidence. 

If you are a beginner, it is advisable to get professional help to train your dog. Make sure you are confident and stress-free whenever you are on the board, as your dog is likely to act the same way as you do.

ALSO READ: Do You Need A Life Jacket To Paddle Board?

introduce your dogs slowly to paddleboard

Introduce Them Slowly To The Board

Do not rush with your training. If your dog is not comfortable around water, it will not be very comfortable with a paddleboard. Introduce them to the board at home, where they can explore the gear at their own pace. You can put their favorite treats on the board to encourage them to take a walk on it and get comfortable. 

Like people, some dogs may just not enjoy paddleboarding. if your dog is not interested in paddleboarding, it is best to find a better alternative for them to enjoy.

Teach Them The Basic Commands

“Sit,” “Down,” “Stay,” “Off,” and “No” are some of the most critical obedience commands that your dogs should be completely familiar with. It will help you monitor your dog’s behavior on the board, assist them quickly with getting on and off the board, and prevent any risk of an accident. 

give dog reward

Reward Them

Reward your dog for learning to get on and off the board on your command and getting comfortable riding on the board. Give them their favorite treat to show how good they have been and keep them motivated to learn more. 

2 – How to Choose a Dog-friendly Paddle Board

The key to a smooth paddle boarding adventure is choosing a dog-friendly board. The two main factors you should take into consideration are: 

Surface Grip 

It is best to get a board with a grip that covers as much of the surface as possible. The extra grip will provide your dog and yourself with better balance. Some dogs do not like to walk or stand on bungee cords. A board with removable bungee cords is a plus.


A broader and longer board will be more stable. The board should be at least 10 feet long and at least 32 inches wide. Those with larger pets like an Australian Shepherd may want to opt for a longer board wider board such as the Nixy Monterey G4.

ALSO READ: The Best Paddle Boards For Dogs Helpful Guide

Can you paddleboard with dogs

3 – Inflatable Paddle Board vs. Hard Paddle Board

There are two basic types of paddle boards — hard or rigid and inflatable. While both types offer benefits, they also present some disadvantages. Here are a few major differences between the two.


You can easily transport inflatable paddle boards by squeezing them into the trunk of the car. You also won’t need a roof rack to transport an inflatable paddle board in your car. However, you will have to spend time inflating it once you reach your destination, which could take up to 10 minutes.

On the other hand, rigid boards are easy to move, but they do require a roof rack.


Contrary to popular belief, inflatable boards are more durable than rigid ones. Hard paddle boards can easily get damaged if they are dropped.

Since inflatable paddle boards are more durable and offer more mobility, they are the best choice for dogs. Although the board foam might get scraped, the board itself will remain intact. Both types of boards use a similar foam material for deck pads. This is where your dog will be spending most of its time.


For those who are concerned with space, inflatable paddle boards offer more convenience as you can easily fold them up and store them in your closet, basement, or garage.

Choosing a rigid board will require you to plan where you will store it when it’s not in use.

4 – What Equipment Will You Need?

If you intend to paddle with your dog on a regular basis, you will need a few basic items to help keep you and your dog safe.

Life Vest 

No matter how good a swimmer you and your dog might be, a life vest is essential for safety. Consider putting a life vest on your dog if they are not strong swimmers.


As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to protect your dog’s body with dog-friendly sunscreen (one that does not contain zinc) if they have any pink spots on their face, around their eyes, or in their ears.

Dog Treats

Make sure to bring a few snacks for your dog. This will help encourage good behavior and make them excited to go again.

Dry Bags

It’ll be handy to keep your and your dog’s stuff like your phone, treats, and your vehicle keys.

Dog Goggles 

If you watch your dog around the water, you’ll notice that they squint because the bright reflection of the sun hitting the water can be troublesome for them. So, just like us humans, our furry companions also need eye protection under bright sunlight. 

The GoPro Camera 

Because you’ll want to capture some fun moments of your day out!


You and your dog will both get thirsty while out on a hot day. Bring some water for your and your canine buddy.

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Paddle Board Accessories

5 – Benefits of Paddle Boarding For Your Dog

Still not sure whether you should encourage your dog to get on the paddleboard? Maybe the following advantages of paddle boarding for your dog will convince you to take your dog along on the water: 

  • It is a challenging workout that engages your dog’s muscles and keeps them agile and fit. 
  • Besides physical fitness, paddle boarding can help with mental and overall wellness. 
  • If your dog loves nature and the outside, paddleboarding is a great option to explore the outdoors. 
  • It’s a unique and fun activity that’s different from the regular walking, strolling, jumping, and swimming and will keep them excited about working out and exercising. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Easier to Kayak or Paddle Board with a Dog?

Both kayak and paddle board have their fair share of benefits. Kayak is a better option for beginners as it is readily available and easy to learn, whereas paddle boarding provides a better alternative for large dogs. On the other hand, paddle boards provide a broader surface for your dogs to comfortably stand on, but they are challenging to balance compared to a kayak. 

Can I Take My Dog on an Inflatable Paddle Board?

Yes, you can take your dog on an inflatable paddleboard. In fact, compared to a rigid paddleboard, an inflatable one is a much better option for your furry friend. It provides better grip and stability while also being easier to maintain. Inflatable boards are sturdy and great for first-timers. They come in a variety of sizes so can accommodate dogs and humans of varying weights and sizes. 

Cool dog on front of paddleboard

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Paddlling Author 2

Stacey Williams
Staff Writer | Paddling

Stacey moved to Michigan from Seattle. She loves to paddleboard, kayak, snowboard and is also an avid runner. She goes paddle boarding almost every weekend during the summer on the lakes and rivers in Michigan. She been known to abuse an Epic and Ikon Pass doing trips out west with her college friends. She is also an electric vehicle enthusiast and loves riding around on e-bikes, scooters, and electric cars.