SUP dawgIf you’re following us on Facebook, you know we’re big dog people here at ACK – we have several office dogs and carry a variety of gear for keeping your adventurous dog safe and happy! We love sharing photos of our dogs and ACK customers’ pups enjoying time outside – especially when they’re out on the water. You may have wondered how these folks got their dogs into paddlesports and fortunately for you, I did the research.

Here are the three questions to answer before taking your dog on the water:

Is my dog up for it?

Does your dog know the following commands: “Sit”, “stay”, “off” or “come here” (for getting off the boat), and “leave it”? Having a dog who obeys you and is fully comfortable with his or her training is crucial for a successful day on the water. If your dog is very prone to getting stressed out, has arthritis, cardiac, vision, or any hearing issues, I advise you leave him or her home – your dog will be a lot happier just hanging out. If you have a puppy (lucky you!) I’d wait until after your puppy can handle trips to the dog park before taking on water adventures. This is a bit of a no-brainer, but if your dog generally doesn’t take well to water or seems the type who would freak out going overboard, leave him or her on the shore. If you know your dog won’t be having fun, then there’s no point in forcing the issue.

3109_700Do I have the right dog gear?

PFDs are just as important for dogs as they are for humans. We carry both the NRS Dog PFD and Ruffware K-9 Float Coat PFD. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer you’ll want a PFD in case y’all get knocked into the water, plus even the best swimmer can tire quickly. You’ll also need to bring along bags for poop (leave no trace principles apply to pets too!), water and food, a towel for camp or your car, and a leash for when you’re off the water – please don’t use the leash while you’re on the water in case of an overboard situation.Ruffwear PFD

Will it work with my boat/SUP?

Now this one has way too many variables to give y’all a specific list of boats or accessory requirements, so this is going to be in very general terms. The most important thing is that your dog is completely comfortable with whatever vessel you’re going out on. Give your dog some time to get acquainted with your boat/SUP by allowing him or her to go inside or on it before you go out on the water. You’ll need to take your dog’s size into consideration – a Great Dane on a Dagger Mamba would not be a fun time. To ensure your dog’s  comfort, bring along a towel or blanket for your dog to lay out on. It’s also important to make sure your dog feels safe and secure aboard so traction pads are a wonderful way to create a non-slip grippy surface for your dog. This will also prevent any potential damage from long nails scraping against the body of your boat or SUP.

If you’re feeling good about your answers to these questions then you’re set for an awesome time taking your dog on the water!

Devyn, Already stoked for your photos