Stay Healthy With Your Pup
Are you looking for a way to stay healthy and bond with your dog? There are many ways to do this, but few combine the unique characteristics of stand up paddle boarding with your dog.
Following along with our series on pet athletics, Maria Christina Schultz, author of "How to SUP with your PUP" has shared some of her great experiences with us. Her book outlines, in detail, how to get started with this great sport. She covers choosing the right gear, how to train your dog, and the benefits of this sport compared to some of the other choices. Here's what she had to say:
(This is Seagar, who is learning quickly!)
From what I’m seeing, dogs are falling in love with SUP for the same reasons most people are. The peacefulness, accessibility, and a new point of view. For dogs SUP boards are much easier than kayaks and canoes to get in and out of. They are less restricted on an SUP board and have more freedom to move around. But the biggest attraction of all is how easy the sport is to learn. With a little bit of practice, a simple training program, and a stable board, most human-dog duos can learn quickly be out on the water.
For humans, SUP offers a total body workout that can either be ultra rigorous, or fun and low-key. Believe it or not, your dog also gets a good workout on a SUP board. Standing on the board, dogs use their core and leg muscles just like us. Swimming is also a wonderful exercise for both pups and people. On a hot day, why not pull over and go for a swim? For older dogs or dogs with joint pain, swimming is the best way to keep muscles active and healthy. Lastly, my favorite benefit of SUP is the bond it creates. My dog, Riley, and I learned to balance as a team and anticipate each other’s movements. Riley needed to trust that I wasn’t going to put him in harms way, and I needed to trust him not to jump off. This created a lot of trust between us, and it cemented our relationship.
Learning a new skill that requires balance is not only a good physical benefit, but a great mental benefit as well. When you’re out on the water you have to focus. First you’re balancing and paddling -- something that forces one to be “in the moment.” Second you’ll need to be paying closer attention to your dog. Your dog will of course love that too. You’ll have to anticipate any movement your dog may make and adjust your stance accordingly. Then lastly you have the water. Water has a renewing spiritual benefit all it’s own. The tranquility will surely help some of that daily stress float away. For most dogs they just want to be with us. Being on a board with just your dog and no other distractions simplifies life; your dog will thank you!
(Here is Maria, Riley, and Kona)
It’s always fun to have an extra set of eyes onboard. A lot of times I’ll look down at Riley or Kona to see something has caught their attention. If I follow their gaze, I’ll spot a bird, beaver, or fish.
SUP is one of the few sports I have participated in with my dogs where we both get to enjoy the same experience at the same time. Agility and Frisbee just aren’t the same. While they are team sports, we both have a different impression from a session. SUP is unique because we both get to feel the wind in our faces, the sound of the water, and they glide of the board over the water.
For more information on Maria and her book, check out www.supwithpup.com!
For more information on pet health and safety, check out our pet first aid and cpr course HERE!