Seth The Pup Who Loves To SUP

Seth the pup who loves to SUP

Meet Seth, my dog.  You may have noticed this little guy in many of our photos riding shotgun on our stand-up paddleboards.

He is as much a part of this website and our testing process as I am.

Seth absolutely loves to go stand-up paddling. When his lifejacket comes out he knows we’re heading to the water and although he’s not that keen on swimming, he is a pro at riding on the boards.

stand up paddlig with my dog Seth

Stand up paddling with Seth

A Little History On Seth

I adopted Seth from a shelter back in June 2013. He was a stray that no one claimed. He had no collar, no tattoo, and didn’t know any commands.

Many noises seemed to be foreign to him and he was scared to go down stairs.

I have no idea his background, where he came from, what his life was like before I met him or even how old he is.  We’re guessing he was around 4 when I adopted him.

He is in my opinion adorably cute, a little crazy and up for any adventure.  He is part poodle for sure and we think part Jack Russell.

Personality Galore

When not out with me paddling or hiking, he can usually be found sleeping under my desk while I work.

He is such a character, with floppy ears that act like antennas and move at any noise or movement.  He loves everyone and if you give him even the slightest attention, he’ll give you as much love as he possibly can.

He’s a good dog with a few quirks.  He has that Jack Russel crazy energy and he can get hyper and over excited quickly.  Keeping him well exercised and relaxed are key to his good behavior.

He is a natural for any outdoor adventure and a star on my stand up paddleboards.

I had no intention of getting a tiny dog (Seth only weighs 13 lbs.). I wanted a larger dog that could go running and hiking with me.

However Seth ended up being the perfect size to easily ride on my boards and his energy is so abundant he can run and hike forever.

paddling inflatable SUP with my dog Seth

Seth the pup who loves to SUP waiting to go paddling

Seth's snowshoeing adventure

Seth’s snowshoeing adventure


Seth’s Introduction to Stand-Up Paddling

It was important to me that Seth got to participate in the activities that I love. So I introduced him to stand-up paddleboards the first week I had him.

I kept an inflated board in my living room for a couple weeks to get him comfortable with it.

I let him sniff it all over and check it out and eventually started putting treats and his favorite toys on the board to encourage him to walk on it.

He became so comfortable with the inflatable SUP that it would be his go-to place when he took a treat and he started leaving his toys on the board.

He began relaxing and laying on it and I’d teach him to stay and give him treats. Basically I wanted to make hanging out on the board as good an experience as possible so that he felt happy and comfortable on it.

teaching Seth to get comfortable on SUP

I eventually moved the board outside and started the process again out there.

Soon enough we were taking the board down to the water and practicing on shore and then on the water.

He adjusted to the board floating on water really fast.  I think the fact that he is so small is a real advantage as his weight doesn’t make the board move or tip easily.

teaching Seth to stay on stand up paddleboard

Seth learning to get comfortable on inflatable SUP

dog Seth on inflatable stand-up paddleboard

He caught on quickly and because he wanted to go everywhere I went, he was more than happy to leave the shoreline and float on the water with me.

I am lucky in that he is quite small and lightweight. I didn’t need to worry too much if he walked on the board while we were paddling as his moving weight didn’t affect my balance.

With a larger dog you would have to do more strict training to make sure they stay seated in one spot and didn’t try to walk or jump off the board… Which would undoubtedly end up with both of you in the water.

Testing Out New Boards

Seth became my constant companion when testing out new inflatable stand-up paddleboards. He loves it and is always the first one on the board.

More often than not, while I am still getting ready, he is already on the board waiting to go.

my dog Seth waiting to go stand up paddling on Sea Eagle Needlenose

my dog Seth waiting to go paddling on ISUP

When paddling with other people, he will often board-hop… he likes to take a turn riding with each person.

We’ll bring the boards close together and he’ll hop on to the other board. As long as he can keep an eye on me, he’s happy to ride with anyone.

He’s tried jumping off the SUP a few times to go for a swim but each time he ends up scrambling to get back on the board. Like me, he’d rather be on the board paddling than swimming.

I keep a lifejacket with a handle on him so I can easily pluck him out of the water and put him back on my SUP.

Plucking Seth from the water onto my SUP

Paddling With A Dog

Not all dogs are going to be into stand-up paddling.  Some of them won’t be interested at all.

Seth now has a brother, an older German Shepherd named Oscar.  Oscar is a big swimmer and we never thought he would stay on a paddle board.

However it got hard to leave him behind so we thought we’d give it a shot.  After a shaky start the old guy really got into it and now he gets super excited when we pull out the boards and lifejackets.

It may not be your dogs thing, but give it a shot, your dog might surprise you and it is such a rewarding experience to share with him.


I love paddling with Seth and now with Oscar too. I think sharing an outdoor activity that you enjoy with your dog is a great bonding experience and wonderful for both you and your dog.

I highly recommend it. Just make sure to do the proper training and prep work beforehand and don’t rush it.

It’s all about making sure he’s comfortable and happy. Then the experience will be awesome.

Click here to view more pictures of Seth on his SUP adventures on our Flickr page.


Inflatable SUP’s Perfect For Dogs

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are absolutely ideal for paddling with dogs.

They are not as slippery for them to sit or lay down on. They provide more traction under their paws.

They also provide more cushioning if the dog should fall and typically more stability for the person and the dog.

Although you can always add a traction pad on the board for your dog, I highly recommend an inflatable SUP.

Their convenience, portability and comfort are huge advantages.  They are perfect for paddling with your furry friend.

For more info on how to train your dog to go stand-up paddling with you click here to read our five step guide on how to SUP with your pup.


  1. Barbara Esmedina says:

    Great article. I used your instructions from an earlier article to train a 60 lb. Pit Bull that is afraid of the water to SUP. Being afraid of the water actually helped, after jumping off the board once, she realized she was better off on the board. She learned very quickly to stay still and seems to enjoy lying on the board and hanging het head off the side of the board to sip from the lake.

    • Awesome, thank you for the comment! You’re totally right, fear of water can be a good thing. I know fear of swimming keeps my dog on my board when he sees ducks. Normally he loves to chase ducks and birds and we’ve seen them often while paddling. They drive him nuts but he’s too scared of swimming to jump in and go after them… thankfully lol. I’m really glad the you were successful with your Pit Bull.

  2. me in miami says:

    ordering my first sup and cant wait to try my small dogs out on it. just got them some great life jackets. thanks for the ideaas/tips

  3. Hi Allison! Really, really enjoyed this blog post. I’m running a SUP webshop in the Netherlands ( Would you mind if I translate the blog and put it on my own? (of course with a link to your blog)

    Looking forward hearing from you.
    Regards, Tom

    • Hi Tom, Feel free to translate the article and use it on your blog as long as you link the article back to this site. Thanks and all the best!

  4. Hi,

    I am looking for a SUP to buy but am having trouble deciding which one. I know I want an inflatable one for sure, though. Is there a specific brand that is good for paddleboarding with my dog? She LOVES swimming and I’d love to take her out on the water with me.

    My main concern is that not all of the boards I’ve looked at have traction pads on the whole board, especially at the front. I’m worried that Misha will have trouble gripping them. Is this a concern, or no?


    • Hi Elissa, Sorry I’m late responding to your comment! A long traction pad is nice for paddling with your dog but not critical. I try to keep my dogs closer to my feet and therefore more secure on the traction pad… it does help them grip. However my little guy often ends up right up on the nose of the board and my German Shepard sometimes just lays right on top of the bungee cords (if I have no gear stored there). However if you can train Misha to lay on the traction pad closer to the center of the board either in front or behind you, all the better.
      That being said I’d recommend going for a 6″ thick board for added rigidity and stability. My little dog Seth can literally go on any board of any size. However with Oscar we prefer at least an 11′ long board, 30-32″ wide and 6″ thick. Not sure how big Misha is but the two ISUP’s we have used most with Oscar (the German Shepard) are the Isle Explorer and the Sea Eagle Longboard. The Explorer is super stable but slower. The Longboard might take a little more practice to feel comfortable with Misha but overall is a much nicer ride.
      I am literally just writing an article about best paddle boards for paddling with dogs. I’m hoping to have it done today, I’ll post you the link as soon as it’s up.

    • Here is the link for the article Best SUP’s For Paddling With Dogs. Hope it helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Speak Your Mind