Tigger the Paddleboarding Rescue Dog by Sarah Franklin


Tigger is a 2 year old rescue dog, originally found as a stray. I adopted him in March 2016 and joined Devon Dogs Life Skills classes a week later.

Understandably, given his past, he didn’t have the greatest confidence. Whilst he was a happy and friendly chap, he was still a bit nervous about ‘unknowns.’

Through the Life Skills classes we learned about shaping. In order to help build his confidence, I decided to apply this to a sport I do — paddleboarding. I started shaping with the paddleboard in my kitchen, rewarding him for standing on it, and then rewarding him for relaxing on it.

After this, we took to the sea, and Tigger is now a successful paddleboarding Dog-J. He leaps on the board the minute I put it down at the waters edge, and if it’s really sunny and still, he’ll lay on his side and doze in the sunshine while I paddle. 

He wears a life jacket if it’s windy or a little choppy. But I don’t take him out in rough water or winter. Even though I can wrap up and wear some snug wetsuit boots, Tigs is very much a fair weather sunshine dog!

We encounter lots of smiles when people see us paddling about. A friend recently paddleboarded the entire Cornish coast for charity. Tigs and I paddled out a few hundred meters to see her off at the Wembury launch. A professional photographer spotted us and kindly took some lovely photographs of us. 🙂

Dog Training with Devon Dogs

We’re still Devon Dogs students, now doing All Stars Agility at Newhall, and loving it. We started Agility Starter Classes in Autumn 2016 and moved into the All Stars class. We’ve been working on all sorts of training with Teresa Hagreen: running contacts, jumps, weaves, and handling. We recently attended a steeplechase workshop and even though Tigs had never done it before, he was a star!

Agility classes have really done wonders for Tig’s confidence. I love seeing him hurtle over jumps or running up and down the A frame or see-saw. It’s the best thing in the world!

We’ve got a bit of work to do on weaves, but I’m sure we’ll get there!

Sarah & Tigger Franklin
Exeter, Devon

Spread the word. Share this post!