Photo by Casey Dean, San Diego Pet Magazine
Whoever said you can only have fun with your dog on land has never tried surfing with their dog. Some dogs don't want any part of it and others love it.
It's great for their balance and strength; and fun to watch. It's also a great workout for the human. If your dog is already used to swimming in the waves—they may be ready to try surfing. If not, you may want to get them used to the waves first by taking them out slowly, throwing the ball for them and just getting them used to the water.
More: How to Paddle Out on Your Surfboard
There are a few things that you should know before you try taking your dog out on a board.
1. Salt Water can Dehydrate Your Dog
Make sure you have plenty of fresh water available for when Fido is done hanging 10. Don't allow them to be in the water for extended periods of time. Give them little breaks in between playing in the water so that they don't get a tummy ache. They may get diarrhea from the sand and salt water.
2. Canine Floatation Device
Don't take them out in the surf without a Canine Floatation Device (life-vest) that fits correctly. When they fall off the board, even though they may be a good swimmer, they may get tumbled or get into a rip current. Please be prepared. Do not go out into the ocean in conditions you're not comfortable in.
More: Pop Up Better When Surfing
3. What Board to Use
Only use a Soft top (foam board) or a special dog surf board for dog surfing. The dogs can grip much better on them and if it hits them it won't hurt so bad. Also, you may want to start with a long board as it is easier to balance on. You can rent boards at your local surf shop-just make sure that Fido doesn't bite a hole in it! You might also try a boogie board for the very small dogs.
More: Choosing the Right Surfboard
4. Get Fido Used to the Board
Start on sand or at home first. At home, feed him on the board. Only give him treats when he gets on the board. The idea is to get them to want to be on the board. Show them that it is not going to hurt them—let them jump on it, walk on it, lay on it and just get used to it. Then take it out in the very shallow water and let them see that it is safe to stand on.