Skateboarding With Your Dog
By Azure Long, ABCDT
Many people love exercising with their dogs. Thanks to seeing skateboarding dogs on TV, many pet owners now 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 skateboard. Natural-born skaters, such as Bulldogs and Jack Russells, catch on quite easily while the ones who hate it will try chewing the board 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 him physically and mentally.
How to Train Your Dog to Skateboard
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 the board 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 skateboard doesn’t move when your dog steps on it. You can do this by either putting the board on carpet or locking the wheels. Once his paws touch the board, mark the behavior and reinforce with praise and treats. Ensure 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 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 onto the board, you can add a cue word, such as “skate,” “step” or any word you choose. Just be consistent. Make sure he understands stepping on the board is what you’re 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’re trying to accomplish.
With enough practice, and by making this a fun activity for your dog, he should be skateboarding in no time. Make sure all of the dog 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.