Bulldogs are one of the few dog breeds that jump on skateboards and shred. They can propel themselves with their paws and the Tony Hawks of the canine world can maneuver crowds and even turns. These adorable dogs have taken a skill that some humans can’t even master and are now famous for rolling down the sidewalk. Skateboarding has been around since the 1940s, picked up mainstream popularity in the 90’s, and is now set to be in the 2020 Olympics. Bulldogs have been skateboarding for a long time and you might be wondering, can your Bulldog compete? Probably not, but you two can have fun training for it.
The Root of the Behavior
Bulldogs are a short, stocky dog breed. They usually weigh 40-50 pounds and are now bred as companion dogs. They’re muscular dogs with a low center of gravity. Bulldogs also love attention and contrary to some beliefs, are generally sweet and affectionate animals. Bulldogs also might be stubborn and lazy, so getting him to exercise regularly might take some coaxing and he’ll probably tire out within 15 minutes or so.
If you’ve ever been on four wheels, either roller skates, roller blades, or a skateboard, you may have noticed your center of gravity is important when keeping yourself balanced. A Bulldog’s center of gravity is low, which makes it easier for them to control their weight and balance on a skateboard. While some people train their dogs to go on skateboards, other dogs just step on and shred. Skateboarding Bulldogs became widely recognized once YouTube was accessible, but it had been happening for years before.
While a Bulldog doesn’t know his skateboarding video has gone viral, he’ll still notice the attention he is getting from his in-person viewers. An attention loving Bulldog might realize that when he is on the skateboard, everybody looks at him and gives him praise. This positive reinforcement will encourage this skateboarding habit to be repeated for years to come.
Exercising doesn’t entice a Bulldog, but being outside, seeing, and smelling things are still enjoyable. When a dog is on a skateboard, he moves much faster and takes in a lot more smells than he would on his slow walk. He gets to see more of the street without having to walk and the breeze probably feels good, too. When dogs move at higher speeds, like in cars, their noses pick up so many different smells. It’s probably not as fun as a car ride, but gliding down the sidewalk has its perks.
Encouraging the Behavior
Not every person or every Bulldog is cut out for skateboarding and there are always risks involved. If your Bulldog just jumps on a skateboard and goes happily on his way, he’s probably got a natural ability. However, if he is unbalanced, uncoordinated, or aloof, you might want to hold back from training for the X-Games. Skateboarding Bulldogs are adorable. If your dog enjoys it and is not crashing into things, falling off, causing traffic, or getting hurt, you should continue letting him roll. He will love the breeze, the smells, and the attention he gets from being a skater.
When you and your dog are training hard, make sure you start small and safe. Choose a board with a flat edge, not a flip, so it’s easier for your dog to jump on and off. Introduce the board in a soft area, like on grass, the carpet, or a blanket. This will slow the skateboard from moving and will give your dog a chance to get accustomed it to. Gradually, teach him commands like “push” or “go” and get him to pedal himself. Once he is comfortable being on the board and listening to the commands, put him on the pavement, preferably a driveway or a very low traffic area. Keep working with him until he’s mastered skateboarding. With any training, make sure it is consistent and you give him plenty of praise for completing a task. Respect his boundaries and abilities; if he seems to wobble and fall off, skateboarding might not be the sport for him.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you are determined to have a skateboarding dog but struggling to train your Bulldog to shred, consider visiting a trainer. The trainer can give you tips on teaching commands and integrate them into your daily routine for optimal effects. If you notice your dog is having persistent balance issues, either on or off the skateboard, call the vet as it may be a health problem. He may have a joint problem, infection, or other health problem that needs attention. A vet can diagnose and treat a problem. Unfortunately, not every dog can be a skateboarder. If you’re trying to make a viral video, there are plenty of other tricks to try that don’t require balance on a skateboard, but still get a great response.
When your Bulldog skates, remember it is for the love of skateboarding, not the fame. His skating video may not go viral and he won’t be at the next Olympics, but give him lots of praise and love anyway. And if you realize he’s one of the dogs who is not made for skateboarding, give him a treat and some praise anyway for trying.