These days, including your beloved four legged friend is normal. Whether it be out to dinner, to the park, shopping, etc. So why would Stand UP Paddle Boarding (SUPing) with your pooch be any different? California Board Company sponsors many talented riders. One of those being a dog by the name of Faith. We recently met up with Faith to ask her and her owner some questions that others may have when acclimating their dogs to boarding. Here is what her owner had to say.

How hard was it to get Faith up on the Surf board for the first time?

Faith had some practice getting used to the boards at home.  Thanks to Franky and Raven (her canine siblings) also being surf dogs, having a board around at home was not uncommon. When Faith was young, she learned the board was nothing to be afraid of on dry land. Taking the board to the water was the next step. I tell everyone make the board the dogs best friend while on land. Feed them on the board so they know it’s a happy place.

 Do you use sunscreen on her anywhere?

Yes, Faith gets sunscreen on her underside and belly. Most people don’t realize that dogs get sun-burnt on their belly from the reflection of the sun off the sand. She also will get sunscreen on her nose because it tends to burn since it is pink with no hair. Lastly, she will get a once over spray with a spray on sun screen over her body and she also always wears a rash guard that has a high UV protection. It is important to make sure your dog is protected as they can get skin cancer just like humans.

 Did you start slow? (Like just have her climb on the board first?)

Faith had a hard time getting used to the boards on land before ever stepping a paw in the water. Before ever going out to the water make sure you have a life jacket for you dog. Also, have them get used to wearing it so they don’t freeze once you put it on. When Faith started we went to OB (Ocean Beach) Dog beach with a board she was used to and her life jacket on. We made our way to the water. I started out by having the board in the water enough so it would move with the waves but was still on the sand. Once she was comfortable, I slowly pulled her out so the board was floating and let her feel the motion of the ocean. Treats were a key factor in the positive re- enforcement. We took our time and slowly went out far enough where I could push her out on small waves. Before you knew it, she was riding to the shore!

Do you use a certain shampoo after she is done swimming, so she does not get itchy?

                After we get home and rinse off all the gear, Faith gets a bath with Pet Renu shampoo. We received a couple sample bottles and it is what we are going to continue to use. It leaves her with a good smell and keeps her nice and fluffy.

Where you would recommend dogs learn how to surf/sup? A lake with little waves or just go straight into the ocean?

For a new dog starting out, I recommend to go to a pool or the bay with calm water to let the dog get a feel of the board under their feet. Once the dog is comfortable on the board, and staying to the back of the board, stand about 10-15 feet apart (you and another person) and push the board to one another for them to feel the movement. Once that is mastered, have one person go to shore and the other give the pup a push to shore. Over time they will learn that reaching shore on the board is a reward. The key is always finish on a positive ride give them that happy memory.

There you have it. Your dog could be a natural too!

Check out Faith in action!

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