Tip of the Month

2/25/2013 Skateboarding With Your Dog

Teach Your Dog To Skateboard

Teach your puppy to ride a skateboard!

A lot of people love exercising with their dogs. And thanks to seeing skateboarding dogs on TV, many owners might wonder if their dogs could learn to do the same. Here are some easy steps to teach your dog to skateboard.

Some dogs will either love or hate the board. Natural-born skaters, such as bulldogs and Jack Russells, catch on quite easily, while the ones that hate it will try chewing it up. However with enough practice, any dog can learn how to skateboard.

Teaching your dog tricks and obedience cues actually helps make him smarter while providing sheer entertainment. It also relieves stress and helps physically and mentally.

  • Step 1: LURE: Make sure the treats you use are Grade A treats and something your dog absolutely loves. First, get your dog used to the board by leaving it out for him. Let him smell it and get excited about it. Once he’s used to it, it will be easier to get him to climb up on it. Make sure the board doesn’t move when your dog steps on it; either put it on carpet or lock the wheels. Once his paws touch the board, mark the behavior and reinforce with praise and treats. Make sure it’s always a positive experience; otherwise it can create stress and fear in your dog.

  • Step 2: REINFORCEMENT: Walk over to the board; if your dog climbs up on the board, mark the behavior as “good” and reward lavishly with treats. The quicker the reward comes, the quicker he’ll repeat the behavior.

  • Step 3: CUE WORD: Once your dog gets used to climbing up onto the board, you can add a cue word “skate” or “step” or any word you choose, just be consistent. Make sure he understands stepping on the board is what you are marking.

  • Step 4: MOVEMENT: Start slowly rolling the skateboard and praise your dog lavishly for staying on the board and remaining calm. Give him a treat when he rides a small distance and gets off. You could even attach an O-ring hook to the front of the board, loop a string or rope to it, and pull your dog a small distance. Remember to praise and treat the behavior. If at any point he has trouble or gets scared, go back to the previous step he excelled at.

  • Step 5: THE TRICKY PART: The hardest part will be getting him to push the board on his own. Your dog needs to understand he gets rewarded for being on the skateboard as well as the movement of the board. Once he is on the board with all four paws, take one of his paws and put it on the ground. He should push off as he tries to get his paw back on the board. Lots of praise will help reinforce the behaviors you are trying to accomplish.

With enough practice, and by making this a fun activity for your dog, he should be skating in no time. Make sure all of the training is extremely positive, and you and your dog will have a blast regardless of whether he becomes a pro skater or just gives you both a ton of laughs in the meantime.

By Azure Long, ABCDT

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