Is your pup ready to SUP?
Stand up paddling (SUP) is super popular these days and lots of times you see people with their pups out on the water. The great thing about SUP is it is a great for pups of all ages and abilities. That goes for a human too! People can sit on the board, kneel or stand. You aren’t limited to size of dog either I have seen dogs of all sizes out on paddle boards, everything from tiny terriers to large labradors and even a great dane!
“Is she too old?”…
I posted a couple weeks ago on our instagram that I had booked an a lesson for Bella and I with Sam from SUP PUPS and I got a few messages ranging from “Are you sure she (Bella) should do that?” to “Isn’t she too old?” The question about her being old really got me. Bella may be 13 years old but she’s in great shape, she walks almost 2 miles daily and is a pretty happy pup. We had also been on the water before on a kayak and loved it so I felt confident she would enjoy this experience as well. Just because a pup is old doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun still!
The great thing about SUP is dogs of different limited physical abilities would be a good candidate since theres nothing hard or jarring on the joints. Many less active pups can enjoy being on a board laying down and watching the world around them. Just because our pups are older it doesn’t mean they can’t try new things. SUP with your senior pup is a great activity that is easy on the joints, helps them work on balance and core stability, and adds enrichment to their lives by being in new surrounding with new smells and new things to see. It’s also a great way to connect and have some special one on one time with your pup!
Getting Started With SUP With Your Pup
There are many ways to go about getting started with your SUP with your pup adventure and I recommend finding an expert and getting lesson before you go out on your own. One of my goals for the first quarter this year was to finally decide on a SUP or a kayak for Bella and I. Since and I had been in a kayak before I decided we needed to try a SUP together before making up my mind.
Last week Bella and I took a mini vacation down to San Diego to meet up with Sam from SUP PUPS. I had reached out to her before hand and asked her a few questions about the area, let her know about Bella, and I also let her know I was interested in learning more about equipment and possibly getting a board. This was a huge plus for me to be able to talk to her before hand and ask my questions, definitely keep that in mind when you book any adventure - it’s okay to ask questions! If you have an extremely fearful or reactive dog I highly suggest you reach out before hand to discuss if this or any other adventure is the right adventure for your dog. Sam answered all my questions and I felt really comfortable with her and our adventure before we even got there.
We arrived at the meeting place and found our way to the water. Before going out on the water Sam reviewed the basics of paddle boarding like safety and always wearing a PFD for both people and pups. She shared what to look for in a pdf for Bella since she knew I was interested in spending more time on the water with her. Sam went over paddle technique, different strokes, adjusting the paddle height, and what to look for when getting a pup friendly board. Make sure when looking for a pup friendly board, to rent or buy, it should always have a full non slip deck pad to make the surface easy for pups to stand on no matter where they stand. Sam also gave me a clear plan of what we would be doing during our time together like how Bella would be getting on the board, where we were paddling to, things to watch out for in/on the water and more. I felt very prepared. I have previous experience paddle boarding but I am definitely not an expert at it, honestly I wouldn’t even say I was good at it maybe more like fair but I will get better with some more regular practice.
Bella was super excited to hop on the board and off we went. We had a great time out on the water. While on the water we practiced everything we went over on land like paddle strokes, turning, what to do when a boat makes a wake, and most importantly what to do if Bella or I were to fall in. It was great to have Sam by our side to help ensure Bella was set up for success. Had Bella been nervous or not wanted to go I would have taken it very slow or just not gone at all depending on her level of willingness. Be open and flexible to the idea things may not go as planned and thats okay. It’s better to do less and keep it successful than to push your pup too hard and have them be afraid and not want to try again.
Another great thing about Sam is she also provided pics and photos of our adventure!!! She provided all of the photos in they blog. It was an amazing morning that I will never forget. Thank you Sam!
If you are in the San Diego area or are planning a vacation with your pup to the San Diego area and you have been interested in paddling with your pup I highly recommend Sam from SUP Pups. She also does just people lessons too!
If you are wondering if SUP would be good for your pup feel free to reach out to your veterinarian or or other dog professional for advice. This is just my experience with SUP and my pup.