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Dogpacking 101: Getting Started

Skateboarding Basics for Dogs: 6 Easy Steps to Get Started

Want your dog to become a ‘pawfessional’ skateboarder? Start with these easy first steps, and soon your furry friend will be cruising down the boardwalk!

by Krista Halling DVM CCRP DACVS

Teaching your dog to skateboard can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. It’s a trick that not only looks fun but most importantly provides mental and physical stimulation for your furry friend. This beginner’s guide will walk you through the initial steps to get your dog comfortable on a skateboard and rolling in no time.

  1. Choose the Right Skateboard

Before you begin training, it’s essential to have the right equipment.

Sizing: Select a skateboard that is sturdy and the right size for your dog. Smaller dogs may do better with a child-sized skateboard, while medium to large dogs need an adult skateboard. A good rule of paw 🐶🐾 is to choose a board that is 1-2 inches wider than your dog’s natural stance and a bit longer than your dog’s body.

Features: The ideal skateboard also has good grip tape to prevent your dog’s paws from slipping, and high quality wheels with bearings that roll smoothly.

  1. Get Your Dog Comfortable with the Skateboard

The first step is to introduce your dog to the skateboard in a positive and non-threatening way. Place the skateboard on a flat, non-slip surface where it won’t roll away, such as a grass lawn. Let your dog sniff and explore the skateboard. Reward them with treats and praise for any interaction with the board, no matter how small. In time, your dog should be comfortable hanging around the skateboard.

Tip: Use high-value treats that your dog loves to make the experience positive.

  1. Teach Your Dog to Place Their Paws on the Skateboard

Once your dog is comfortable around the skateboard, encourage them to place their front paws on it. You can do this by holding a treat above the skateboard, guiding them to put their paws on the board to reach the treat. I achieved this by standing over the rear of the skateboard with a foot on each side of it and used a treat to guide River to walk under my legs and onto the board.

Reward your dog as soon as their paws touch the skateboard. Practice this step until your dog confidently places their paws on the skateboard without hesitation.

Tip: Be patient and keep the training sessions short and fun to avoid frustration.

  1. Building Confidence on the Skateboard

With your dog now comfortable placing their paws on the skateboard, it’s time to build their confidence. Encourage your dog to stand on the skateboard with all four paws. Start by gently holding the skateboard steady to prevent it from moving. This too is useful to do on a level grass lawn. Reward your dog with treats and praise for standing on the skateboard.

Gradually reduce the amount of support you give to the skateboard, allowing it to move slightly. This helps your dog get used to the sensation of the skateboard moving under their paws.

  1. Introduce Movement

Now that your dog is comfortable standing on the skateboard, it’s time to introduce movement. Begin by gently pushing the skateboard while your dog is standing on it. Start with very small movements and gradually increase the distance as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Always reward your dog with treats and praise for staying on the skateboard while it moves. This positive reinforcement will help them associate the movement with something enjoyable.

Tip: Practice on a smooth, flat surface to make the initial movements easier for your dog to handle.

  1. Encourage Your Dog to Push the Skateboard

The final step in this beginner’s guide is to encourage your dog to push the skateboard with their paws. This step can be challenging and may take some time for your dog to master. Place a treat just out of reach on the skateboard and encourage your dog to push the board to get the treat. River and I are at this stage now, where she is just starting to learn to push the board toward a treat.

Reward any attempt your dog makes to push the skateboard. Gradually, they will learn that pushing the skateboard can be a fun and rewarding activity.

Teaching your dog to skateboard is a process that requires patience, consistency, and lots of positive reinforcement. Remember to keep training sessions short and fun, always ending on a positive note. With time and practice, your dog will gain confidence and enjoy their new skateboarding skills.

Celebrate each small victory along the way, and enjoy the journey of learning something new together. Happy skateboarding! 🛹🐶💕

About the author

Krista Halling is a veterinarian board-certified with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and co-founder of Dogpacking.com.

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