Did you know that there is a surfing world championships for dogs? When I first heard about this I thought it sounded like a barking idea! However, after a recent trip to the beach with my friend’s dog, I am beginning to see the light!
Scared of Waves
Little Darcey had never seen a wave before and was scared of the breakers despite the fact that she enjoys swimming in our local lakes and rivers. She clearly loves the water and swims well so I am sure that, over time, she will learn to love the sea. I couldn’t help thinking about investing in a surf board for her and then I remembered those world championships!
This year’s event will take place in California 5 August and will attract a host of surfing pooches. One of the enthusiastic competitors will be Abbie, last year’s winner. The talented surfer is a rescue dog who had ended end in the hands of the Humane Society after being found on the side of the road. Abbie holds the world record for the longest waved surfed by a canine.
Teaching Your Dog
If you think that your dog could be a budding surfer, here’s the experts’ best advice on introducing your pooch to riding those waves:
- It is essential that your dog can swim before they learn to surf. Even the finest surfing canines fall off the board occasionally and if your dog doesn’t feel comfortable in the water, they are not going to enjoy surfing.
- Safety should always come first. World record Holder Abbie wears a bespoke wetsuit. Your dog should at least be fitted with a life jacket.
- Don’t force your pet to surf. If they really don’t want to do it, surfing will simply upset your pooch and could put them off water for good. Some dogs may take time to get used to surfing, you may have to be patient.
- Keep practising with your dog and keep the surfboard hidden away at home so your dog gets excited and ready for action when you get it out.
- Serve your dog meals on the board so they learn to feel at home on it and reward them with treats when they stay on the board during practice. Never get angry at them or punish them for failing.
- Dogs can become very distracted by the other dogs and the people on the beach. This can lead to them jumping off the board to play. Distraction training may be required if your pooch is to focus on learning to surf.
- Use verbal cues and commands and these must include a command to get off the board. Many dogs surf backwards so they can see their owners so a command to stay on the board could prove useful.
- Make sure that every session is great fun. The main reasons for teaching your dog to surf should be to entertain your dog and to enjoy quality time together.
- Remember, just because you enjoy surfing, don’t assume your dog does! Enjoy yourself but don’t force the issue…Even some adults who enjoy swimming don’t enjoy surfing!
If your dog is already a surfer, send us your pictures and videos! We would love to hear about the champion surfers that we serve here at Time for Paws!