Bond with your pooch while paddleboarding

Andrea Stetson
Special to Coastal Life

Petey jumped in the water with a big splash and started swimming toward the dock.

Kali did the same thing when it was her turn.

But both dogs soon learned it was more fun to sit on the front of the paddleboard while their owners propelled them through the water.

Kat Lucchesi teaches people to paddle with their pups in Naples. And while it might look hard at first, the dogs and their owners soon get the hang of it.

“I’m a dog lover so if I can take her with me on an adventure she is always with me,” said Sean Barry, who was teaching his German Shepherd, Kali, how to paddleboard.

“I am a paddleboard enthusiast so if I can have a dog on the board, it is even better.”

Lucchesi had a tough start with Petey, who was having his first lesson. The dog not only jumped off the board, he pulled Lucchesi off with him.

Dogs do jump off and that is why Lucchesi recommends that dogs wear a life vest that has a handle for pulling the dog back on board.

“This is Petey’s maiden voyage so I start on my knees,” she explained. “You want to make sure you are really calm.”

Soon Petey got the idea and got to ride on the paddleboard in Vanderbilt Lagoon.

Lucchesi begins her lessons with a list of things to bring such as spray-on sunscreen and water for the dogs. Then she encourages people to start on their knees until they get their balance and then stand with legs apart for the best balance.

David Humphrey paddleboarded for the first time with his little dog, Luke.

“I want to teach my new dog,” Humphrey said. “Since he is little, he will catch on to it easier.”

Lucchesi said the paddleboard with a dog adventure is a specialty paddle so she does it by appointment only and does not have set times and days.

Lucchesi’s dog, Charlie, has been paddleboarding for more than five years. He likes it so much that he jumped back on the board even after his owner was done. Charlie, aLabrador/ Newfoundland/ springer mix also does yoga on the paddleboard — and especially likes the down-dog pose he does even without being told.

Lucchesi is glad Charlie likes the sport so much.

“I didn’t think I’d ever find someone that loves the water as much as I do, but I did,” she said. “I don’t know how I got so lucky with Charlie, but I did.”

More information

What: Paddleboard with dog lessons

When: By appointment

Where: Leaves from a dock across from the Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Lagoon

Info: Contact Kat Lucchesi at 239-216-0160 (texting her is best)