Surfing with Your Dog – A Guide for Active Dog Owners
When you want to catch some waves and have a blast with a friend, consider your furry best friend!
Can a dog be taught to surf?
Yes, a dog can be taught to surf. However, please note that some dogs do not make good candidates for this activity because of physical characteristics or they simply are not interested.
Before your pooch begins this activity with their human companion, they should already be great simmers and love water. Be sure there swimming skills are such that they will be able to handle currents and waves and be sure they have no fear of the ocean.
Dog Breeds That are Best for Surfing
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Spanish Water Dogs
- American Water Spaniel
- Labrador Retriever
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- German Shorthaired Pointer
While this may appear to be a short list, there are still many other breeds that make great surfers.
Unfortunately, older dogs, young pups and a pooch who has a health issue will need to be left out of this activity due to the risk of potential injuries to their overall health. This doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the water and play time with their favorite human companion.
Teaching Your Dog to Surf
As with every activity, your dog should have basic commands mastered at this point. While we all slip up from time to time, your dog should have a good grasp of what is expected of them during your adventure outings.
To train them to surf, first you will want to have their surfboard in your home. You will want to allow them to explore it thoroughly. Let them lay on it, sit on it, play with toys on it, whatever they want to do. Except eat it of course.
You will want to maintain a rule of only giving them a specific treat they really enjoy while on the board. This will reinforce the idea that being on the surfboard is good.
After you have done this, take them out in some shallow waters, maybe a pool and let them see that it is safe to stand on. Let your fur baby do this as you push the board around the pool, giving treats for staying on the board and make it fun.
After some extensive but repetitive practice with this you can then take your dog and their surfboard out into the ocean whitewash. They can practice balance and falling in these shallow and gentler water. You should support them under the belly and have the other hand on the back of the board. This allows for added security during this learning stage. As they are going over the wave you hand on the back of the board pushes down to help them up over the wave.
You will want your dog to be standing on the back of the board while you move the board to keep up speed with the wave, then gently let them coast the wave and have some fun.
Some dogs may not enjoy this and may decide they would rather play in the sand, if this is the case then don’t force them. Other dogs will want to get right back on again, some might paddle around a bit and then have another go.
Most dogs will want to head to the front of the board which will cause a wave to rush over them. With repeated practice you can get them to stay where they belong.
Items That you Will Need to Bring Along on a Surfing Adventure
- Lots of fresh drinking water, a bowl
- Treats and food
- Canine flotation device
- A leash and collar
- Poop bags
- Doggie sunscreen
- A dog first aid kit
- A comb or brush and towels
- Some toys
- An umbrella for the beach
Helpful Hints for Keeping Your Dog Safe while Surfing
- Never let them drink the salty ocean water.
- Always have them in their flotation device when in the water
- Make sure they are wearing sunscreen
- Hydrate often to prevent dehydration
- Give frequent rest breaks and time for water and a little snack.
- Don’t tie the line to your dog, they should be able to jump off or swim away when they want
Before Surfing with Your Pooch
Make sure they love the water, are good swimmers and want to participate in this activity.
Ensure that they are well rested, hydrated and free of injuries.
Check to make sure that their flotation device is working properly.
During Your Adventure - Look, Surfing Dog!
- Always keep your eyes on your dog.
- Reapply sunscreen as needed.
- Offer periodic breaks for rest, hydration and snacks.
- Keep an eye out for accidents, injuries and other issues.
- Ensure there is plenty of space, so they don’t crowd anyone else and cause injuries.
After Surfing - Take Care of Your Wet Fury Friend
- Rinse the saltwater off their fur.
- Dry them off thoroughly and check for injuries and other issues.
- Dry and clean ears to prevent infections.
- Eat some yummy snack, see below for some great recipes
A Word About Selecting a Surfboard for Your Dog
Having the right equipment always makes fun adventures easier to enjoy. When your pooch participates this becomes very important since most of the equipment that they need is for safety reasons.
There are surfboards that are specially designed just for dogs that work better than a regular surfboard. If you do not use one of these boards another great option is the foam board, which is a soft top board that allows them to grip and balance better. They are also great because if the dog falls and gets hit with it, these boards don’t hurt as bad as a regular surfboard does.
You will want to start with a long board at the beginning of their journey to
becoming a surfing expert.
A Word About Jellyfish
The ocean offers both beauty and dangers to humans as well as dogs. When you take your dog along on a surfing adventure in the ocean you will want to remember there can be jellyfish.
A jellyfish sting can be a horrible experience for anyone, dogs included. Once jellyfish are dead that isn’t the end of their stinging abilities, they can sting for weeks after. To be safe do not let your dog go near jellyfish.
It should also be noted that dogs have been known to eat jellyfish as well, so keeping a watch on what your dog ingests while surfing or playing on the beach is important.
Signs that a jellyfish sting or poisoning has happened to your dog include excessive drooling, vomiting, licking the area, swelling, trouble breathing, lethargy, pain and itching.
If you should see any of these signs in your dog while visiting the ocean inspect them. If they have been stung, remove the remaining tentacles without touching them, don’t rub the area, then rinse with ocean water and take them to a veterinarian immediately.
Bonus – Celebrity Surfing Dogs
Dogs play an important role in our everyday lives as companions and helpers that make our lives more enjoyable and easier.
These dogs are sponsored and compete in surfing competitions with their owners where they help raise funds for charities. Check them out at Surf Dog Championships when you get a chance.
- Ricochet the Golden Retriever
- Abbie the Australian Kelpie
- Dozer the English Bulldog
- Sugar the Surfing Rescue Dog
- Kalani the Golden Retriever
- Faith the Pitbull
- Bono the Brazilian Dog
- Kona the German Shepherd Mix
Surfing takes water play to the next level for you and your dog. When you’re riding high on the waves with your best friend you won’t want the fun to stop. Who knows, maybe if you and your pooch are awesome, you can join the ranks of celebrity surfers!
So, grab that board and head out before the summer is over!