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Are you into your board sports and love nothing more than skating down a hill with the wind in your hair? Do you want to share the experience with your best friend? But what if your best friend is an adorable pup? Not to worry, with this guide you can still share your skateboarding experience with your pooch. Not only will it be a great bonding experience for both of you and another trip out that you can take your furry best friend on, imagine how cool you and your pooch will look skateboarding along together, it’s sure to turn a few friends' heads. They’ll think your pooch is the coolest dog in the world.
We're sure you’ll agree that it’s important to have fun with your four-legged best friend, in which case, it’s good to teach your pooch a few fun tricks as well as the standard obedience commands. However, teaching your dog to skateboard isn’t for the faint-hearted, this will be a difficult trick for your pooch to learn. However, if you master it, it’s certain to bring you both a lot closer.
This trick can be dangerous and your pooch should be fully grown before you start teaching them, therefore it would be best suited to dogs that are at least a year old. It is also best to teach this trick to breeds of dogs that are intelligent, sturdy, and not too large, as of course, your pooch will need to fit on the board. Bulldogs and Staffordshire Bull Terriers seem to be the breeds best suited to picking up this trick.
Teaching your four-legged friend the ways of the skateboard won’t be the easiest task, therefore you’ll need to be patient with him. Take it slow and if he’s not getting it, give him a break or go back a step in the methods. To teach your pooch this trick as well as a good attitude, you’ll need some tasty treats and, of course, a skateboard. However, you need to get the right skateboard for your pooch, as it’ll have to be a wide skateboard that all four paws can fit on easily.
The Starting Indoors Method
Introduce him to the skateboard
Skateboarding can be dangerous. To get your pooch used to the skateboard, start by introducing the skateboard to him indoors on a soft, carpeted surface.
Each time your dog shows interest in a skateboard, tell him he’s a good boy and give him a treat. Then give your pooch a break and get the board out again another day.
Move the board
Give the skateboard a bit of a move around, but try not to do it in your pup's direction as this can scare him. Do this in bursts of a few minutes to get him used to a moving board.
If he gets on the board
Give him a load of praise and a bunch of treats.
If he doesn't get on the board
Make sure the board is fixed down, and wait for your pooch to put his paws on the board. Ggive him a big reward when he does so. This may take a long time, just persist for a short amount of time each day.
Get him to stand on the board
Now he’s used to placing a paw or two on the board, put him on the board completely and see how he reacts. Give him a treat if he’s a good boy and stays.
Roll the board
Move the skateboard around gently. Make sure you hold the board so your pooch doesn’t fall off, give him lots of praise if he stays on the board.
Add a command
Try to introduce a command and tap on the board to get your pooch onto it. Take a step away from the board and get your pooch to come to you on the board to get a treat.
The Increase the Distance Method
Get him comfortable
Using your foot as a brake, so that you don’t scare your pooch and the board doesn’t move anywhere, get your pooch to pop a paw or two onto the board by calling him to you. Give him a big treat when he does it.
Once your pooch is happy on the board, start by moving him a few inches to begin with, keeping your sessions short and consistent but spread out over weeks to months, gradually increase the distance. Only move the board slowly.
Get him to push
If your pooch pushes the board with a back paw or two, give him lots of praise and a big treat.
Gradually increase the speed and distance your pooch does this at, but be sure not to go too fast and to get the right speed for you pooch.
Loosen the bearing of the skateboard so that it can now be steered by your dog shifting his weight.
Don't get frustrated
Your four-legged friend might not ever be the best doggy skateboarder in the world; performance varies from dog to dog, so accept his limitations. Also make sure you don’t let him skateboard near any roads or in any situations where the path he rides could mean he gets injured. Stick to smooth, flat surfaces.
The Check He Can Do It Method
Take your dog to the vets for a health check to make sure he is in fighting fit shape to start skateboarding. Bear in mind that muscular breeds are better at this activity.
A familiar setting
Put the skateboard in a familiar setting and see if he naturally approaches it. Give him a big treat if he shows interest. Move the board near him, but not directly at him, so he is used to the board but isn’t scared of it.
A still board
Put the board on grass or on a carpet, where it is less likely to move about, or even lock the wheels. Stand next to the board with a high value treat and wait until he jumps on to give him the treat. It might take him a while to get this step, so it is best to work at your pooch's own pace.
Moving the board
After a few weeks to months, once you’ve gotten your pooch completely used to being on the still board, move the board with him on it. If he jumps off, don’t worry, just repeat the session another day and keep increasing the distance you can move the board with him on.
Make him move the board
Get him in a position where his front paws are firmly on the board, with his back paws off of it. Move the board forward slowly to show him he needs to push the board. Also, gently shake the board when he has all four paws on it, to get him used to distributing his weight from side to side.
By Catherine Lee-Smith
Published: 11/10/2017, edited: 01/08/2021