Surfing is a great sport for dogs who love water. According to cynologists and dog owners who have dealt with surfing dogs, animals perceive this sport as entertainment. But at the same time, they develop attention and concentration, because while standing on the board they also need to look around, stand in a certain position.
The human-dog interaction that occurs during training builds trust between owner and pet. Also, the owner learns to better understand his pet.
Surfing with dogs is not available for everyone or everywhere, because not all beaches are suitable for this. This sport is very popular in California and Florida (USA), and in Australia, where large-scale events are held with the participation of dogs of different breeds and sizes. In competition, animals are judged for skill, confidence, length of run, and costume.
The sporting task in surfing is to keep the dog on the board as long as possible and to be able to swim on it to the shore.
You don’t have to do it professionally, you can just have fun with your dog at the sea or lake, where you can find waves.
Dog surfing equipment
You should choose a surfboard with a soft surface (from expanded polystyrene), since it is easier for the animal to cling to its claws and maintain balance on the soft foam surface. The board should be slightly curved and not flat. Surf should be selected taking into account whether the pet will ride alone or together with the owner, then you need a board that is longer in size.
While in the water, the pet must be in a life jacket.
How to teach your dog to surf
It is recommended that you begin your dog’s surfing training with a boogie board that is smaller and lighter than a standard surfboard. Of course, before training, the dog must be accustomed to water and must be able to swim.
Having prepared the necessary equipment, you need to give the pet the opportunity to get acquainted with this on the shore, to sniff it, let it stand on the board. This stage, although it seems boring, is important. The dog should associate sport with something enjoyable, so you can master this stage at home or directly on the beach, giving your pet a treat while sitting or standing on the surf. In this case, food should be placed in the right place, securing the correct position of the pet on the board.
In order for the dog to stand up on the board on its own, you need to carefully sit there and pet the animal. Then move a certain distance from the surf, calling the dog. After a few minutes, call your pet and motivate him to get up on the surf. When the dog completes this task, you need to pet him and give him a treat. Soon, the pet will understand that if it stands on the board, it will receive a treat and affection from its owner. Positive associations will help you achieve the results you want.
The next step is to accustom the pet to the command, according to which it will remain on the board, and not jump off if distracted by something or simply not wanting to continue moving without the owner.
Balance can be practiced at home. Simply by placing a pillow under the surf, but no need to build bulky structures. It is important that the board is not stable, but there is no risk of the dog falling or injuring the animal in any way.
The next step in teaching your dog to surf is to find a shallow place with little or no waves, such as a calm lake, an inflatable pool. It’s important to take care of your pet’s safety. It is imperative to use a life jacket, to which the dog must be trained separately.
Then the board should be kept in shallow water and your dog may immediately climb onto the surf, or it may take time. When the dog comes up and puts its front paws on the surf, with your free hand supporting the dog under the belly, gently lift it onto the board, remembering to say the command “Up” and immediately give the dog a treat. This stage is practiced until the pet independently begins to climb the surf on command.
When the dog is in position on the surf, the board should be gently pushed, holding it with your hand. As the animal gets used to the new conditions, the board begins to shake slightly. In this case, you need to praise the animal and give a treat.
In the future, you will need the help of another person who will enter the water, stopping at some distance from the board. Pull the surf towards the helper who catches the surf with the dog on it. At this point, the pet should be encouraged. After that, you should gradually move on to training on small waves. And only after that you can start conquering more waves.
The main stage of training is that the pet must learn to keep balance on the surf on the water. Moreover, in the process of training, dogs who are keen on entertainment choose a comfortable position for themselves. Some dogs conquer the waves while standing, while others prefer to sit on the board.
The process of teaching your dog to surf can take a different amount of time depending on the dog’s interest. Some of the training steps can even be skipped when the dog jumps on the board in the water with great interest. But if your pet isn’t showing interest in the activity, you shouldn’t force your dog to surf.
The first sessions should only take a few minutes a day. You should not overload the animal or rush to move from stage to stage. In the process of learning, a connection of actions is built. If the dog has a negative experience, the training will slow down, or the animal may completely lose interest in this sport.
Always reward your dog for doing the right thing. Dog surfing should always be fun and enjoyable.