Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paddleboarding at Walton Lake

The whole point of staying at a campground at Walton Lake was so we could go paddleboarding and kayaking while we were there. Originally, we were going to go to Green Peter, which is closer to home. But Green Peter has speed boats, which means wakes and possible danger of being hit if you are in the water. Since a friend of my mom was staying at Walton Lake for the week, we decided to go there instead, and avoid the potential danger involved elsewhere.

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Kayak and paddleboard, with lifejackets, sat waiting at the lake's edge below our campsite.

Since we just have the one paddleboard, we also brought along my kayak to use as well. I like the paddleboard better, both because it is easier to load and carry on my car by myself, and because it is better for doing with the dogs. I can really only fit a single dog in the kayak with me, and it's kind of cramped.

Of course, the most important thing before getting into the water is making sure everyone is safe. I always wear my lifejacket when I am kayaking or paddleboarding. The law says I have to have one on the watercraft with me- I know, however, that if I need a lifejacket, unless I am already wearing it, chances are I won't have enough time to get it on. Same goes for the dogs. All of us always wear our lifejackets. Period.

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Adorable in her blue lifejacket. 

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Pallo wears the older orange lifejacket. It still works well for keeping the dog buoyant in the water, but the handle isn't as reliable on it. Since Koira is more likely to need to be hauled back up out of the water, she wears the one with the better handle.

While I can and have put both dogs on the paddleboard with me, I wanted to spend some time with each of them individually. We all have the basics down of paddleboarding, so now it was time to reinforce the desirable behaviors and work on getting rid of the undesirable for Pallo, this means no whining, not standing at the very tip of the board, and not moving from the front to the back of the board over and over.

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Pallo standing in the right place, back from the nose of the board and on the anti-slip matting.

For Koira, this means no barking and no jumping off the board without specific permission to do so. She has upset the board a few times previously, knocking both me and Pallo into the water. She gets so over the top excited about being on the water, just like she does at dock diving, that her brain kind of checks out a little bit. And since she does dock diving as well, she has no hesitation at leaping off into the water. For her safety and my own, I needed to get that behavior to stop.

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Koira, sitting where I want her, calm, no whining, no jumping off, no chasing ducks. 

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I used the treat pouch at my waist to reinforce the desired behaviors, and stopped regularly to reward.

Overall, everyone made some great progress. Attaching a treat pouch to myself really made both of the dogs check in. I was able to reinforce desirable positioning and behaviors for both dogs, which resulted in calmer, more enjoyable trips on the lake. Now to see if we keep that when I add both dogs.

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Koira, sitting centered, attention on me, no whining, no jumping. She is hoping for treats. 


  1. Looks like so much fun!

  2. I finally tried this this summer and I loved it! My next goal is to definitely get Rufus on the board with me. He's great in boats and canoes, so we'll see….eep!

  3. The orange lifejacket I got a few years ago at PetCo. The new blue one I purchased at Wilco Farm Store.