Spyq Sklar is living on Tomales Bay, California, for the summer, with kayaks and paddle boards and pups in tow. Sklar is the co-founder of Earthly Pet, an outdoorsy pet company focused on clean ingredients, being made in the USA, and sustainability initiatives. Much like paddlesports in general, they’ve also found themselves to be rather pandemic proof, and they can’t keep their Bully Sticks in stock!
We caught up with Spyq to tap into he and his dad’s experience paddling with pups to get some safety advice and other tips for taking your pet out on the water. The family has owned pet stores and been pet owners and pet safety experts for many years. He says that while he consistently hikes and runs with his dogs, being out on the water is a different story. Sklar’s dad also takes his Yorkie paddle boarding — and they’ve gathered a few crucial tips specific to paddling, combined with a few important tips related to dog training and comfort, over the years.
Here are their top tips for paddleboarding with your dog:
// Use a wide board for added stability and make sure the weight is correct for the combined weight of you and your dog.
// Use a board with a long traction pad if paddle boarding since dogs feet aren’t as grippy as people’s on smooth wet surfaces.
// Get a safety vest with a handle on top to make it much easier to pull them out of the water. The handles will really help you get the dog back on the board (or dock or other boat) when they fall or jump off.
// Dog goggles like these from Rexspex are a great idea to keep their eyes protected from long exposure to UV rays out on the water.
// Use dog sunscreen for their noses and a thin layer for the rest of their body depending on hair type.
// Get your dog used to wearing a safety jacket and goggles before going in the water. You can put them on in the house for short periods of time in the beginning and give lots of treats.
// Some dogs will want to jump off the board and have fun in the water. You’ll want to train them to stay on the board prior to getting in the water. You can do this kind of training on land by teaching them to only get off the board on command.
// If the board gets wobbly, get on your knees to lower your center of gravity and have your dog trained to sit/lay down instead of stand.
// Big dogs should be toward the back for stability, but small dogs can go all the way to the front tip.
// If you fall out of the water with your dog, you’ll be glad their nails are trimmed. I’ve personally suffered serious back scratches after flipping a canoe with dogs who tried to grab onto me when we were floating in the water.
// Obviously don’t take your dog on a boat unless they are very comfortable swimming.
// Start in shallow water and let the dog get comfortable on the board on their own with you holding it in place before getting on it with them and going out. Use lots of treats while acclimating them!