STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — This time of year is all about spending time in the sun and on the open water, but something that makes those activities more special is bringing man’s best friend along too. In Stonington, that means paddle boarding with your pup.
At Don’s Dock in Stonington, people aren’t the only ones getting in on the paddle board action. Man’s best friend is enjoying it too.
“I love it when people get to do things with their dogs,” said Gleanna Doyle, a dog trainer and owner of Rhodes Collar Day School for Dogs.
She’s teamed up with a local paddle board company to offer “paddle with your pup” classes this summer and fall.
“To go out on a paddle board is one thing and it’s really peaceful and fun and it’s great exercise, and then when people can add their dog — their furry family member — to an activity of any kind, it’s special,” Doyle explained.
Doyle works with each dog to help them get comfortable being on the board. Then they set out with their owners.
When you’re paddle boarding with a dog, it’s a little bit more challenging in terms of the balance,” Doyle said.
There are other benefits to paddling with your four legged friends as well.
“You’re also training your dog at the same time,” Doyle explained. “It’s a very remarkable, I would say, bonding experience.”
For those dogs who are new to the water, Doyle suggests going out on a calm day.
‘The water that we have today is perfect because it’s flat, it’s shallow, it’s easy to swim in,” she explained. “If a dog is brand new to swimming then it’s not scary like being at the beach with the ocean waves.”
Many of the dogs also wear life preservers.
“It makes it easier to spot them if they jump off or fall off. It also makes it easier to lift them back up on the board,” Doyle explained.
“He was comfortable on day one getting on to the board,” Mary McAuley said of her dog Moses.
He took to the sport right away and now the pair have a new activity to add to their repertoire.
“I’m always looking for fun things to do with my dog,” McAuley said. “You want to keep their lives interesting and fun.”
Here’s another reason to spend time with your dog. Studies show just looking at them causes the feel good hormone oxytocin to rise.