I want to start providing some short write ups on the things I love because let's be honest; I tell the same stories over and over again. My current favorite summer dog hobby is paddle boarding with my pooch.
When people think of stand up paddle boarding with a dog, the thought is somewhat overwhelming. 3 years ago I decided to put some time into researching the idea. What I discovered was that double person inflatable boards are easy for dogs to get used to and they are easy for beginner humans too. I found websites with marketing that their boards were the ones made for dogs and other blogs talking about how to teach dogs to ride and how to learn to paddle myself! I eventually turned to good old amazon to find something that didn't hurt my budget. Most boards on other websites were $700 plus, but I found "old trusty" for $320. On the date of writing this the board is currently $299 with an additional $30 off coupon.
When we got the board it was really easy to put together. You have to inflate it first. It does come with a hand pump but if you need to go that route I would highly recommend sitting down and watching some LOTR/Harry Potter movies while you work at it because it'll take you a while... We used the air compressor and finished filling the last bit with the hand pump to be safe. The you attach the fins, which slide in quite easily. Next up is the ankle strap and then you're ready to go!
I grabbed some treats and lured sweet little Goji onto the board. It was flawless, he picked up on it like a boss. Bring him to the water, put on a life jacket and repeat. He was a freakin' natural. This dog will follow me off the end of the earth so if mommy goes on the board Goji goes on it too. Of course, many dogs may need a slower approach.
Now to add to this little info piece, we are crossovers from sit on top kayaks. Rick fell off his in a dramatic way once and was traumatized. I just never liked being stuck in a seated position. Regardless, we already had kayak racks on Sally the Subaru. They work great for these boards too! Throw a couple of straps on and we are set to travel to and fro with our boards on top. Many people identify our car by the boards in summer time.
In ultimate fairness, Rick is the primary loader and un-loader of the boards. He talks about how light weight they are and how easy it is for him. I can confidently carry my board and I'm sure if push came to shove and with a bit more time I could get all the same actions done to strap up my board and go. However, I am a big fan of the buddy system and not going alone regardless!
Paddle boarding isn't for every dog. Misu has given it a college try as well. I won't go as far as to say she hates it but she certainly doesn't love it like Goji does. She has made some critical errors such as walking straight off the board (we always outfit them in life jackets). Misu doesn't particularly like the instability of the board rocking for any reason. But she is mostly chill if she can lay there and not go anywhere. We could work with her more but with Goji on my board 90% of the time and a human child on Rick's board we have no reason to force it.
We do have a short paddling season in the U.P. We got maybe 5 paddles in during May and with a weird June maybe 3-4. (Fingers crossed for a warm July.) Last year we got some paddles in thru September and maybe a couple times in October. Ultimately for the 4-5 month season this can be an affordable sport!
Here's the exact board I got. Don't hesitate to compare to other similar boards and brands.