Expert Of The Month
Ricochet has been surfing for four years and specializes in surfing with special-needs kids and people with disabilities. She's raised almost $150,000 for various human/animal charities, and her videos on YouTube have over four million views.
Q: The other day I saw a small group of people who actually had their dogs riding waves on surfboards! I didn't get the chance to ask them how they did it—but maybe you could tell me—how do I teach my dog how to surf?—Jake Miller
A: Some dogs will jump on a board and surf the first time out. But most jump off the board because of the movement. Here are five steps to get your dog out in the surf.
1. Introduce your dog to a surfboard before you get to the beach. Get him/her used to it by feeding their meals on it. You want them to associate the surfboard with good things.
2. Get a pillow or wobble board, and place it under the surfboard so there is some movement when the dog gets on. This will get him/her used to the movement of the board.
3. Putting the board in a pool, or calm water like a bay, is a great first surf experience for the dog.
4. Move on to small waves in the ocean. There will be a lot of distractions at the beach where your dog is used to going to play, so their mind may not be on surfing. You can practice distractions at home (see the "teach your dog to surf" post on surfdogricochet.com for how to do this).
5. Once your dog is comfortable in the water, you can begin taking them out further, but take baby steps. You don’t want your dog to have a bad experience. The whole idea is to spend fun, quality time, bonding with your dog.
6. Make sure your dog wears a life vest! Safety first. And foam boards are the best for dogs because they can grip it better.
7. If your dog doesn't want to surf, don't force him.
For more info, go to facebook.com/SurfDogRicochet.