Firstly, you should learn how to ride a Stand Up Paddle board without a dog on it because it can be tricky to maintain your balance when it’s just you on the board — the added weight and movement of a dog can complicate things significantly.
To determine if your dog is ready to try SUP PUP, you will want to consider a few things:
When you SUP PUP, you will be on a moving Stand Up Paddle board, paddling and trying to stay upright. Does your dog obey your verbal commands for basic manners like SIT, DOWN, and STAY? Does your dog normally require any sort of hand signal, physical prompt, or coercion or force (e.g. leash corrections, prong collars, etc.) to do the behaviours you ask for?
Is your dog extremely fond of water and has a difficult time resisting the urge to swim?
Does your dog bite at the water a lot? If your dog is ingesting the water, it can pose a health risk, even if the water is clean. Ingesting too much water is life-threatening.
When your dog is around water, will he/she come to you reliably when you call from 15 ft away?
Does your dog know how to swim? Is your dog physically strong enough to keep its head above water?
Is your dog afraid of water? Is your dog overly cautious about new objects or experiences? Do you want to PUP SUP more than your dog wants to?
When you are holding a broom, shovel, rake, or other similar object, does your dog try to attack, play with, or run from it?
Does your dog chase, bark at, or try to grab moving objects? Something floating past the board will look like it’s moving. What about objects that resemble balls? Buoys can look like toys to a dog. Does your dog bark at or chase wildlife? Ducks and geese may seem extra exciting or interesting to a dog floating on a SUP board.
How does your dog react to strangers or other dogs that are nearby? You don’t want your dog barking its head off at things nearby. You don’t want your dog jumping off the board to go say hello. You don’t want your dog showing aggression to others nearby, either. If something went wrong, could someone approach to help you or your dog?
Does your dog have an injury or weak/painful joints? Riding a SUP board requires constant balancing and it can be too much for some dogs who do not have the strength/stamina.
Is your dog a young puppy? Is your puppy’s immune system ready for the water environment (e.g. bacteria, parasites)? Or do you need to take things more slowly and gradually socialize your puppy to the water and the board?
Fearful or unruly behaviour by your dog while on the SUP board will make things unpleasant and dangerous for you, your dog, and others (including wildlife).
The SUP PUP Prep Training teaches you how to help ensure that your dog is safely enjoying the experience.