When it comes to living life along the coast, dog owners from around the world are constantly looking for fun and new activities to take part in with their canine companions. From competitive sports like agility, dock diving, or frisbee, the beach can present some great opportunities to both practice skills and reinforce the bond between owner and pup. If you’re looking for something a little more “tubular”, however, there is a modern trend of training dogs to be more active in the ocean waves. The art of dog surfing is on the rise!
Training your dog to surf is no easy feat, especially when you’re starting with an impressionable, and possibly nervous, puppy. While it may be easier to encourage a puppy to face his fears, it can also take a tremendous amount of work and patience to build his confidence enough to settle comfortably on that surfboard. But don’t worry, because it’s definitely not impossible! Hundreds of dogs and puppies every year take their first steps on a wobbly surfboard in the midst of the blue waters.
Surfing is a bit of a daunting task for any puppy, especially due to the amount of concentration, trust, and balance that is necessary to stay rooted on that board while being tossed around in the water. That’s not to say that the activity can’t be fun, but it will undoubtedly take some time for your puppy to build up the courage and confidence to face the waves head on.
You’ll want to start your puppy’s surf training as soon as he receives all of his vaccinations and a clean bill of health from the vet. Do make sure that your puppy isn’t overly skittish or nervous. Surfing isn’t for every pup, but it can be a great pastime for some! Some puppies may learn more quickly than others, but ultimately, prepare to set aside two to four months for yours to get the basics down and feel comfortable around the water.
The two most important tools for teaching your puppy to surf is a surfboard (or a body board, or another sort of flat, long object), in order for him to get used to standing on it, and a doggy life jacket or vest for safety! While most puppies are born with the instinct to swim, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re strong enough to fight the ocean currents. Caution and safety is always the number one thing to remember when having your dog in and around the water. Another thing to note is that not every puppy is ready for surfing. If yours is exhibiting some nervous traits, be patient and try not to push.