Dog Surfing Tips. Time To Hit The Beach


Dog Surfing

Summer is right around the corner and many of us are hitting the gym to get ready for the beach.

dog surfingYour canine, on the other hand, is not going to care one bit how she looks in a bikini but if she is crazy about swimming then dog surfing may be a cool activity to consider for your dog.

One of the most fun-to-watch dog sporting events is probably “Dog Surfing.” It is amazing to see these dogs riding the waves on a surfboard, a skim board, or a body board.  Dog surfing has been documented as far back as 1920. It may come as no surprise that California and Florida are the two top states for this sport.  Dog Surfing is performed in competition, either with the dog surfing alone or with a person.

Dog Surfing Competitions

Dog Surfing competitions are judged by the dog’s comfort level on the board, the length of the ride, and the size of the wave. Imperial Beach in California hosts the Loews Coronado Bay Surf Dog Competition.  This competition is one of the largest in the United States.   It was first held in 2006, and in 2011 over 50 dogs competed.  The competition on Imperial Beach includes categories for small dogs, large dogs, and one for tandem dogs.  The Tandem category involves more than one dog surfing on a board at one time.  Other competitions are held in Huntington Beach, California, San Diego, California, and Wellington, Florida.

Training A Dog To Surf

Training a dog to surf will take a fair amount of time.  You first need to know if your dog is a water loving dog. You may want to first check out Wagbrag’s tips on How to Train Your Dog to Swim.  Does it jump readily into the water after a toy?  If so, your dog might just be a surfer.  There are several types of surfboards from which to choose.  There are dog surfboards that have additional safety features and soft traction throughout the board for added stability.  Make sure you use a hard surfboard and not one made of Styrofoam as a dog might chew through Styrofoam.  Get the dog used to being around it.  Keep the training slow so you build the dog’s trust in what is happening.  Here are a few tips:

  • Start small.
  • Begin introducing the board to your dog on the sand, then in a pool or small body of water to see how well your dog balances on the board.
  • Place toys on the board and encourage your dog to be on the board with you by its side.

Surfing With Your Dog

When your dog is familiar with the board, it’s time to progress to the beach.  Before attempting to surf with your dog you must ensure that the dog is a strong swimmer.  Being in the water exerts a lot of energy and waves can be rough. Always make sure your dog is wearing a floatation device.  Keeping your dog safe and injury free should be your first concern.  Begin introducing your dog to the open water by paddling around on the board together, just paddling.  Stay behind the dog while on the board.  When your dog is comfortable with this activity, try a small wave.  The wave should be no more than a foot high.  Keep in mind that even the dogs who are champion surfers rarely try a wave bigger than four feet.

Surfing will build balance and coordination in your dog.  Keep practicing and you and your best friend should be hanging ten in no time!

Photo: Thinkstock

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