Surf dogs: train and teach your best friend the art of wave riding | Photo: Shutterstock

The number of surf dogs is growing fast. Want to teach your dog to become a surfer? Discover our tips and advice and train your dog to surf waves.

Watching other dogs surfing can be fun and entertaining, but there are a few things you must know before teaching your dog to ride waves.

First, you need to make sure your canine friend enjoys being in the water. Not all dogs have a natural desire to be in the water, and it is quite easy to understand why.

Then, your best friend should know how to swim. Remember that swimming is not a natural skill dogs have.

Some dog breeds love water and are excellent swimmers, but others simply cannot move or survive in the water.

The Papillon, the Chinese Crested, the Pekingese, the Greyhound, the Pug, the Shih Tzu, the Maltese, the Bichon Frise, the Yorkshire Terrier, and the Chihuahua don't usually get along with water.

Finally, discover if your four-legged pals are naturally interested in following you to the surf.

If they do, introduce them to the surfboard before paddling out. With time, they'll understand where to stand and how to ride out of a wave.

Dog surfing: some dog breeds love water and waves | Photo: Shutterstock

Important Reminder

Some dogs are even the first to grab the board and bark until their owners decide that the surf's up.

However, according to "The Dog's Guide to Surfing," there are still a few reasons why surfing is harder for dogs:

  1. Dogs can't paddle the board out on their own;
  2. Dogs can't launch the boards on their own;
  3. Dogs have more air to get wet and heavy than humans;
  4. Dogs can't wear a wetsuit to keep their bodies warm;
  5. Dogs' toes don't curl like ours, so they don't have the same ability to grip the board or to help with balance;
  6. Dogs don't see where they're going as well as humans can;
  7. Dogs get bored if they're alone on a board for too long;

If you want your hound to become an accomplished surfing dog, you need to train him. Training is the key to success, but make sure it is fun for your best friend.

Dogs learn quickly but don't rush the surf learning process.

Introduce your dog to surfboards on dry land before transitioning to the ocean - food and positive reinforcement can work together to boost your dog's performance.

Remember that a dog will never be a man or a woman, so don't try to teach him tricks that they will never do.

So, where should the puppy be placed on the surfboard?

Dog Surf Training Tips

When riding a wave, you and your dog should find a good balance on the board.

Unless the waves are small and your best friend is extremely light, the nose of the surfboard should be avoided.

Therefore, the best placements for your dog are immediately above the tail and two-thirds up on the surfboard.

If you want to go surfing with your dog, always pick a longboard or funboard in the 7-to-9-foot range.

When taking your dog to surf, keep in mind that are many hazards in and out of the water.

Stay away from rocks, reef breaks, and marine fauna. Large waves should be avoided, and surf leashes are not a good idea for dogs.

If you feel that your buddy is rapidly becoming hesitant and tired, he is probably getting cold - take a break and feed him.

Finally, lifejackets can help, but the hound should feel comfortable enough with it.

Let's recap:

  1. Introduce your dog to the surfboard;
  2. Praise the dog when he is on the board;
  3. Teach your dog to stay on the surfboard;
  4. Keep your dog focused on surfing;
  5. Get your dog used to board movement;
  6. Get your dog used to a lifejacket;
  7. Build confidence in the water;
  8. Practice what he learned in the ocean or lake;
  9. Teach your dog the correct positioning on the board with clicker training;

The most famous surfers dogs in the world are Ricochet (Golden Retriever), Abbie (Australian Kelpie, Dozer (English Bulldog), Antonio (Spaniel Mix), Betsy (English Bulldog), Kalani (Golden Retriever), Faith (Pit Bull), Haole Boy (Labrador), Bono (Labrador), Beans (Whippet), Gidget (Pug), Kona Kai (Labradoodle), and Kona (German Shepherd Mix).

If you have questions and concerns, watch a few surf dog videos, and contact the canine owners.

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