How to Train Your Dog to Surf

Hard
1-3 Months
Fun

Introduction

If you surf, you've probably seen those amazing videos of professional surfers riding waves with their dogs. You already know your dog loves the beach and playing in the waves, wouldn't it be amazing to share the feeling of riding a surfboard with your best friend? Teaching your dog to surf with you could be a fun adventure that will lead to spending even more time together.

Teaching your dog to surf will take a lot of time and practice. Remember how long it took you to start surfing? Make sure you give him time to get used to the idea and comfortable with the movements. If you're just learning how to surf, teaching your dog to ride the board with you will be a fun change of pace. Either way, make sure your dog really wants to be out there. Some dogs are perfectly suited for being surf companions while others would prefer to stay on the shore.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your dog to surf won't be easy, and there are some things you need to take into consideration. Does your dog like the water? Is he comfortable with waves at the beach? Make sure you expose him to water, waves, and surfboards before you even attempt to get him to surf. Start slow and set expectations low. This process could take several months. It's easier to start with a young dog or puppy so you can make surfing and beach time normal, but many older dogs are well suited to riding the waves.

Be sure to invest in a good life jacket for your dog. It needs to stay on him and it shouldn't restrict his movement. Make sure he's used to wearing it before you start so he isn't trying to learn about two things at once. Also, invest in a dog-safe surfboard. You can look these up online, but they should be hard plastic with grips on the bottom. Stay clear from foam boards and wax that they could get on their paws or accidentally ingest.

Getting Started

You will need a few things before you get started. First, be sure your dog already know basic commands like 'sit' and 'stay'. Once he can follow these commands and you know he likes to swim, gather these items and you'll be ready to get started.
  • Dog-safe surfboard
  • Dog life jacket
  • Treats
  • A water toy
  • A leash

There are several ways to begin training your dog to surf. Read through the three methods below and choose the best one to work with your pup, or mix and match. With patience, you can ride the waves with your best friend by your side.

The At Home Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Bring your surfboard home
Start to get your dog used to the surfboard by bringing it home and laying it on the floor. Give your dog time to sniff and get used to it.
Step
2
Reward to desensitize
As your dog approaches and sniffs the surfboard, give him treats. Once he's comfortable, ask him to stand on the board.
Step
3
Decide where he should sit
Determine where you want him to sit when you are surfing. If he's big, he'll be more comfortable in the back, but if he's small it's okay if he is in the front.
Step
4
Mark the spot on the board
Begin to only ask your dog to be on his designated spot. You can feed him on the board by placing his food bowl right in front of the spot he should be at.
Step
5
Practice 'sit' and 'stay'
Ask your dog to sit and stay on the spot on the board. Practice walking away.
Step
6
Jump on the board with you
Sit on the board where you would normally be standing, and ask him to get on the board with you. Make sure he sits in his spot.
Step
7
Take it to the beach
When your dog is comfortable with the surfboard at home, take it to the beach. Practice all the same commands on the sand.
Step
8
Get in the water
Now, bring your board into the shallow part of the water. Make sure there are no waves and it's calm. Ask your dog to jump on the board. Have him sit and stay.
Step
9
Move to deeper water
Once he's used to shallow water, move the board to deeper water with him on the board. Have him sit and stay. Go slowly and don't push it. You don't want to scare him. Make sure he has his life jacket on from this point forward.
Step
10
Paddle out
Once he's comfortable with you on the board in deeper water, it's time to paddle out and catch your first wave.
Recommend training method?

The Calm Water Method

Effective
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Step
1
Choose calm water
Start by bringing your dog to some flat and calm water like a pond, lake or even a swimming pool.
Step
2
Play with water toys
Start by getting him excited about the water and swimming. You can purchase floating dog toys or even use a handy stick. Throw the toys out far enough that he needs to swim for them. This way he becomes a strong swimmer.
Step
3
Introduce the surfboard
Introduce the surfboard on the sand first. Sit on the board and ask your dog to join you. Make sure he is comfortable getting on and off the board.
Step
4
Bring him to the water
After putting on his life jacket, bring your dog and board to a shallow part of the water. Help your dog get on the board and let him find his center of balance. Smaller dogs usually prefer the front while bigger dogs like the center and the back.
Step
5
Practice paddling
Once he is comfortable on the board, join him and begin to paddle around. Tell him to sit and stay and don't let him jump off. Keep reassuring him and boosting his confidence.
Step
6
Head to the beach
Once your dog is comfortable on flat water, you can head to the beach and start to catch small waves.
Recommend training method?

The Playtime Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Teach him to love the ocean
Start by spending lots of time at the beach. Take long walks, throw sticks and balls for him to chase into the ocean, and make ocean time the ultimate play place.
Step
2
Teach your dog to swim
Once your dog knows the beach is the place to be and he has no fear of the ocean, start to swim with him. After you've put his life jacket on, jump out into the waves and call him to you. Swim together and give him lots of praise. Make sure you don't stay out there too long. Let him build up his endurance.
Step
3
Introduce the surfboard to beach play
Start to bring the surfboard to the beach with you. Play games around the board, ask him to sit on it and give him treats. Then ask him to stay. Make the surfboard into a fun and interesting toy.
Step
4
Ride the board on the sand
Tell him to sit and stay on the board and begin to drag it across the sand by the ankle strap. Get him used to being on a moving board. Always continue play when you stop so he thinks it's still a game.
Step
5
Put the board in the water
Put the surfboard into the shallow water and ask him to get on. Begin to push the board into deeper water.
Step
6
Paddle out
Once he's comfortable, make sure he has his life jacket on and get on the board yourself. You can start to paddle out with him on the board.
Step
7
Catch your first wave
Now that your dog is comfortable paddling out with you, you can catch your first wave. All your preparation and playtime will pay off when you two ride your first wave together.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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