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.
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.
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!