How to Train Your Dog to Pull a Skateboard

Hard
2-3 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

Do you love to skateboard?  Do you have a dog with lots of energy that loves to work and spend time with you? Why not combine your love of skateboarding with your dog's need for exercise! 

You can teach your dog to pull a skateboard, also called “skatejoring”. Lots of dogs need a way to burn energy off. Sometimes owners cannot provide enough exercise on foot, or some owners may just want to enjoy their skateboarding sport with their dog. By teaching your dog to pull you on your skateboard with a long leash attached to a harness, you can combine skateboarding and walking your dog, and give your dog a job. Dogs love jobs, and pulling a skateboard not only gives your dog a great physical outlet but creates a social interaction between you and your dog, building a team!  Not only that, but it's a great way to get somewhere, and attract a lot of attention.  How often do you see a dog pulling a skateboard!  A real conversation starter.

Defining Tasks

Skatejoring, or urban mushing, is an activity where your dog pulls a skateboard or scooter with you on board. Many of the training methods and commands are similar to those used to teach dogs to pull sleds. Pulling is good work for dogs, who usually thrive off it, however, making sure your dog is the right size and in adequate physical condition to pull a skateboard is necessary before commencing training. Most dogs over 30 pounds are able to pull a skateboard. Smaller, high energy dogs, working in pairs, may also be able to participate in skatejoring. A young dog may not be adequately physically developed to pull the weight of a person on a skateboard, and this should be considered before training. A harness should be employed in teaching your dog to pull--never let your dog pull from a neck collar! Any breed of dog can learn to pull, although pulling dogs like Huskies and other large working dogs like St. Bernards and Bernese Mountain Dogs are particularly suited. 

In skijoring you will stand on a skateboard, holding a line or lines attached to a harness on your dog and your dog will walk, trot or run, pulling you along at various speeds. Verbal commands to go left, right, forward, faster and stop are recommended to provide control to your dog.

Getting Started

Since skatejoring has recently become more popular, customized harness equipment for pulling skateboards has become commercially available in large urban centers, or is available online. These harness systems usually allow for a range of motion and have quick release features. Using a custom harness and tagline to teach your dog to pull a skateboard is recommended for your dog's comfort and safety.

Your dog will need good obedience and response to verbal commands, as he will be learning verbal commands specific to pulling a skateboard in order for you to maintain control and direction. It will be important to get your dog used to the skateboard and well adapted to the sights and sounds of the areas he will be pulling you so that an excited or frightened dog does not end up pulling you right off the skateboard!

The Commands First Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Reinforce direction commands
Teach verbal commands such as “Gee” (turn right), “Haw” (turn left), “Wait” or “Whoa” (stop), “Easy” (slow), and "Hup Hup" or "Mush" to go forward. Teach these commands when walking your dog on a regular lead line. Get your dog used to wearing his pulling harness at the same time. Use treats to reinforce correct responses.
Step
2
Teach to ignore distractions
Teach your dog to “go on by” to move past distractions while out on walks. Encourage him to ignore distractions and reward for compliance.
Step
3
Line out
Teach your dog to “line out”. Attach one end of the tug line to an immovable object and ask your dog to move out until the line is taut and stop and wait for further directions. Guide your dog and reinforce with treats and praise.
Step
4
Practice dragging
Attach an item for your dog to drag with his harness, such as a small tire or piece of wood, and allow your dog to pull it while you provide verbal commands while walking beside him. Eventually drop back and provide commands while walking behind your dog.
Step
5
Use with skateboard
Step on a skateboard with harness and tuglines attached and provide the established verbal commands.
Recommend training method?

The Acclimatize Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Get used to the harness
Put the pulling harness on your dog. Walk him frequently wearing the harness with you walking behind holding using the tuglines.
Step
2
Walk with skateboard
Walk with your dog in a harness while you pull a skateboard behind your dog, or have an assistant skateboard with you while you walk your dog in the harness.
Step
3
Pull empty skateboard
Attach a lead line to the skateboard, without any weight on it, and allow your dog to pull. Practice commands like 'gee', 'haw', 'whoa' and 'easy' while walking with the skateboard.
Step
4
Step on skateboard
Step on the skateboard while holding the tug line. Have your dog line out--move out from the board until line is taut--and wait. Have an assistant walk next to your dog to guide, assist and reassure your dog.
Step
5
Practice moving on skateboard
Ask your dog to move forward with your assistant providing support. Practice gong left, right, stopping, slowing and starting. When your dog is comfortable, start taking your dog solo without assistance.
Recommend training method?

The Pulling First Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Introduce equipment
Put the harness on your dog. Let your dog wear the harness; go for walks and allow your dog to get used to it. Introduce your dog to the skateboard. Use a clicker and provide treats when your dog investigates to create a positive reinforcement.
Step
2
Reinforce pulling a drag
Attach your dog's harness to a drag. Call your dog forward. When he tightens up the lines, click and reinforce with a treat.
Step
3
Increase pulling skills
When your dog pulls the drag forward, just a few steps, click and treat. Continue clicking and treating every few steps, increase how many steps your dog needs to take before being reinforced.
Step
4
Attach skatebaord
Switch the drag item out for the skateboard, and have an assistant kneel or sit on the skateboard, continue clicking and treating to reinforce your dog tightening the lines and then pulling forward a few steps at a time.
Step
5
Stand on board
Gradually have your assistant move to standing and continue reinforcing your dog for pulling the passenger and skateboard. Introduce verbal commands for 'go right', 'left', 'go by', 'stop', 'start', etc. while you walk alongside your dog guiding and reinforcing.
Step
6
Ride the skateboard
Start riding on the skateboard yourself and providing verbal commands to direct your dog pulling the skateboard.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Kira
Husky
1 Year
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Kira
Husky
1 Year

I have a skateboard and I taught her the command “pull” she will pull most of the time but she only pulls for about two feet and then stop I’ve done everything I can think of we train frequently by ourself and with other dogs while with other dogs she pull fast and hard but just me and her she will not pull me on my skateboard

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dashun, Since Kira will pull you when the other dogs are present it but not when you are alone, it sounds like she simply lacks motivation or believes that it is not acceptable because she is not supposed to pull while just walking with you. It also might be very uncomfortable to pull and the other dogs are simply exciting enough for her to pull through the pain of the wrong type of harness. If you are not using a harness build for sleddogs that is padded, then do not ask her to pull until you get the correct type of harness because a regular backclip harness that is not padded or designed for pulling can cause her pain and skin chafing. Look for a padded sleddog harness that you can clip her leash to. It does not have to be this specific one, but look for something like this: https://ruffwear.com/products/omnijore-joring-system If the harness is the issue, just getting a better harness may fix your problem once she is more comfortable. If that is not the issue or she still does not want to pull, then make pulling more rewarding also. Put her comfortable harness on her and attach her to the skateboard and put something that weighs about thirty pounds on the skateboard. Stand by the skateboard, behind her, and give her a command that means go, like "Mush", "Hup Hup", "Forward", or "Go". The word does not matter as long as you always use the same word for it. After you tell her to go, toss a large treat in front of her, so that she has to walk forward a step or two to reach it. When she walks forward, praise her and toss her another treat. Let her eat the treats, then repeat the go command and treat tosses and praise. Practice this with the thirty-pound skateboard weight until she will walk forward a bit when you tell her to go, even before you toss her the treats. When she will do this, then wait until she walks forward at least one step before you toss her the treat rather than tossing the treat at the same time like before. Next, remove the thirty pound weight and stand on the skateboard yourself. Go back to telling her to go and throwing the treat at the same time, and then throwing an additional treat when she moves forward. When she gets good at moving forward to get the treats, then tell her to go and wait until she moves before you throw a treat. As she improves, require her to take additional steps before you toss the treat. Add only one step at a time and practice the new amount of steps until she is good at pulling that amount, before you add additional steps. Do this until she can pull you further when you tell her to go and only receives occasional treats for it or finds pulling itself rewarding. Don't rush the process too much. She will need to develop the muscles for pulling gradually or she runs the risk of injuring herself and learning to dislike the pulling even more. Sleddogs are conditioned physically for pulling so that they can withstand the weight and distance. View it like strength training, where you start with low weights or smaller distances at first, and gradually work up to heavier weights and longer runs as your physical fitness level improves. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
snow
Great Dane
6 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
snow
Great Dane
6 Months

I was hoping my dog could to pull me on my skateboard but to walk when I'm using a coller and not on a skateboard she is 30 plus ponds

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello River, First, I suggest waiting to have her pull you until she is over a year to avoid injury. At this age her growth plates have not closed and bones have not finished developing so you want to be careful not to put too much strain on her. You can teach her to pull a skateboard without weight on it now though - to get her used to commands and the concept. For her to learn how to walk without pulling on a collar, and pull when you want her to, teach her two different commands. First, teach a solid Heel command and practice that until she can walk wonderfully on a collar when told to heel. Check out the article linked below to teach Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Once she is great at heeling, then teach her to pull but always give her a command that means 'Pull' first so that she learns that she can only pull when told to and not while walking at other times. Many people use Mush, Go, a whistle, or something similar to mean Go or Pull. Also, when you have her pulling, she should be wearing a back clip harness, to avoid any strain on her neck from a collar. Ruffwear brand makes an actual harness designed just for pulling someone. https://ruffwear.com/products/omnijore-joring-system Whatever you use, make sure it's a back clip harness and padded. Be sure that she is very obedient to other commands like Heel, Come, Sit and Stay before you take her skateboarding because you will probably not be able to handle her size without a no-pull device on her so she needs to be very responsive to your commands around distractions while wearing a harness (or she could pull you wherever SHE wants to). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Misha
German Shepard/Akita
14 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Misha
German Shepard/Akita
14 Months

I was skating with my dog when she suddenly stopped and turned around and I ran over one of her feet and now she is absolutely terrified of my longboard and won’t go near it even with me putting treats on it

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Nala
bull mastif
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Nala
bull mastif
12 Weeks

How to teach dog to not defecate or urinate indoors

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some information on potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior.

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Nala
Bull madtiff
12 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Nala
Bull madtiff
12 Weeks

How do you teach dog to find somwthing via scent

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some basic information and a good starting place. For more advanced training, you will want to contact a local trainer and work directly with him or her. Start Early in the Morning To teach scenting a track, you need some treats and a grassy area, such as a baseball field or park. Although hot dogs are not the most nutritious food, I find they work best, and you won’t over stuff your dog’s belly. Begin early; many people start by 6 a.m. before anyone has walked on the grass. Create a Treat Track Have your dog sit or lie down and stay. Take a couple of inch-long pieces of hot dog and use your shoe to mash them into the grass. Make sure to crush the grass under the hot dogs, which will release a grass scent. Then, with the hot dog residue on the bottom of your shoe, walk a straight line away from your dog. Every six or ten feet, drop a piece of hot dog. Stop after about 20 feet and drop one of your gloves or one of your dog’s toys; your dog needs to find something at the end of the track. Drop another piece of hot dog on top of the item. Command Your Dog to Find the Treats Go back to your dog and release him from his stay, encouraging him to smell the ground where the hot dogs were. Tell your dog “Find it!” and let him sniff. If he begins to follow the track, praise him quietly by saying, “Good dog!” and let him lead the way. Don’t be too enthusiastic or you may distract the dog from his sniffing. Also, don’t try to lead him; let your dog figure it out. At this point, your dog is following several scents: the trail of hot dogs, which helps motivate him, the crushed grass where you mashed the hot dogs and the crushed grass where you later stepped. Your dog is also following your individual scent, which he knows well because he smells your scent every day. But now your dog is learning to combine the scents, to follow them and to find the item at the end of the track. Start Increasing the Length of the Track When your dog successfully completes this trick, make another one by taking 10 steps to the side. If your dog is excited and having fun, you can do three or four short tracks per training session. As your dog improves over several sessions, make the track longer, add curves and corners, and drop several items along the way, but put the hot dog only on the one you want him to find. When making tracks longer or adding curves, use small pegs, stakes or flags to mark the track so you can tell if your dog is off track. Air scenting requires your dog to find someone by sniffing the scents wafting through the air instead of following a track. Most search-and-rescue dogs have both skills; they can follow a track, but if people walking over the track spoil it, they can also use their air-scenting skills. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

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