by Laurence coulombe

SUP With Dog: All You Need to Know

Want to enjoy your SUP, but don't want to leave Poutchie (your dog) home alone? Take him with you!

To make sure you have a safe SUP session with your dog, here are a few important things to know.

Photo : Le Hacher

The best board you need with a dog on the water 

Hard or inflatable? The answer: both work. TAIGA's hard and inflatable boards are designed to stand up to anything that comes out of an adventure, even those where you decide to bring your border collie around. 

The reality: it's more about weight. Remember that the bigger your board is (liters), the more weight you can put on it. So, if you decide to go for a ride with your beautiful hard Hana (9'5'' / 165 liters) and put your Labrador on it, you might find it a bit challenging. If your dog is of medium/large size, we advise you to use an inflatable SUP as these usually have a larger volume. However, if you prefer the gliding feeling of a hard SUP, a Thuya LX (11'4'' / 230 liters) would be perfect for you and your dog. This board is bulky and wide, which will help you keep your balance. 

Photo : Paul Mackay

If your dog is rather small (a Chihuahua, for example), you can easily turn to a hard SUP. 

If you want to play it safe with any dog, the Kazuzu Air (12'6" / 336 liters) is perfect. As it is a strong and voluminous board, you will be able to carry not only your dog, but also your drybag for the day and maybe even a child! The best of both worlds! 

Things to consider 

Even if your dog is comfortable on the water, a minimum of precautions should be taken. Clipping your dog's claws before going on the board will certainly help to keep your beautiful finished wood intact or avoid a few snags on your inflatable. 

Photo : Paul Mackay

Accessories needed on the water 

It is very important that you and your dog have a flotation jacket that fit. A simple matter of safety. If you're not sure how big of a lifejacket your puppy needs, your local pet store will certainly be able to help. 

If you're going away for a full day, it's a good idea to bring some treats, food and water for Poutchie (that's your dog). Your dog will experience all kinds of emotions and it would be nice to reward him from time to time. He's also likely to get hot, so water is very important. You can put all this in a drybag. 

If you decide to explore and take a break for a swim in the middle of a lake, it can be nice to hang your paddle up after your board so you don't lose it. It's still practical to have a paddle, you know. Otherwise, the bungee cords of your board will also be useful to hold your equipment in place. 

Photo : Paul Mackay

To sum it up, here's what you need for your dog: 

  • Food and other treats 
  • Water (!!!) 
  • Flotation device 
  • Dog leash (if you want to stop) 
  • Poop bag 
  • Drybag

    5 steps to water taming your dog:

    1. Let your dog discover your SUP while you're getting ready (indoors or outdoors)
    2. Get your dog on your SUP and teach him how to place himself on the board.
    3. Repeat step 2, this time placing your SUP near the water.
    4. Take the time to teach your dog how to get properly get on the board in shallow water.
    5. Once your dog has mastered steps 1 to 4, you are ready to go out and enjoy your day.

    How to paddle with a dog? 

    Depending on your dog's weight and energy level, you'll need to be ready to respond. That is to say, an active dog may throw you off balance more easily than a smaller dog. 

    Let's remind you: if you want to keep your balance, bend your knees, which will lower your center of gravity. You can also slightly widen your feet on the board for better stability. Be alert to your dog's movements and follow his movements to make the most of your day. 

    Photo : Le Hacher

    You will also have to position yourself well on the board. The idea is to always keep the board as flat as possible on the water to facilitate the glide and have a better control on the direction. Our advice: place your Bernese Mountain Dog closest to the nose of your board and sit between the handle and the back of the board, so you'll find a good balance. If your four-legged friend is small, you don't have to back up as much and your dog doesn't have to be far forward on the board. Again, it's all about weight and balance! 

    Basically, your dog has to adapt, and so do you! It's not a big deal, but take your time. It will be a great new activity for you and Poutchie for many summers to come, guaranteed.