Are Surfing Dogs Really Happy… or Horrified?
- If you’ve ever wondered if those dogs you see surfing the waves off the California coast or elsewhere are actually enjoying themselves, you’re not alone.
- According to surfing dog instructors and owners, only pets who like being in the water and show aptitude for the sport are trainable. Dogs who fear or dislike the water can’t be trained to surf.
- Safety is of principal importance for canine surfers. Dogs should be healthy enough to participate in such a physically demanding activity — often in cold ocean temperatures — and they should always wear life vests while in the water.
By Dr. Becker
Most of us have seen videos or pictures of dogs surfing. Have you ever wondered if the dogs are really having fun, or just hanging on for dear life until they reach dry ground?
It’s hard to read every doggy expression, but it’s easy to imagine not every pup on a surfboard is enjoying himself.
However, according to the folks who train canines to surf, the dogs actually like the sport:
"You only attempt surfing with dogs that really love the beach and water," says Rob Kuty, animal trainer at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego. "Dogs who fear or dislike either are almost impossible to train to surf, so you won’t find those dogs at these types of competitions."
Kuty conducts surf clinics for dogs during the summer months in the waters off San Diego.
How Dogs Learn to Surf
The first step in teaching a dog to surf is desensitizing her to the board. This involves getting her accustomed to standing on the board while it’s on the sand. Liberal praise is given while a dog is on the board, which tends to reinforce the behavior. Dogs off their boards are ignored.
So the desensitization phase of the training is about not only getting the dogs comfortable on their surfboards, but also positively reinforcing the behavior.
Once a pup is at ease standing on a surfboard on the sand, the next step is to put him on it out in the water. The trainer holds the board with his four-legged student standing on it so the dog can begin to experience the feel of being on the water.
According to Kuty, this is the time when most dogs display their individual approach to surfing. Some like to face forward on the board, others face backwards, some position themselves sideways, and many bulldogs (a breed that isn’t known for its swimming prowess, by the way) prefer to lie down on the board.
In Kuty’s experience, “… the dogs that do a lot of surfing are water and beach loving beings who have developed a positive association with their boards and have found a comfortable way to hang ten."
If a dog shows an aptitude for being on a surfboard in the water and is healthy, she’s a good candidate to enjoy the sport, according to Kuty. This makes perfect sense, because let’s face it … no matter how much your dog may want to please you, it would not be an easy task to “force” an unwilling canine to surf. There are many things an unenthusiastic dog can be compelled to do, but riding the ocean waves on a surfboard isn’t one of them.
Believe it or not, there are surfing competitions for canines. The dogs are judged on the length of their ride, their confidence level, and fashion. “Fashion” apparently refers not only to the dogs’ surfing attire, but also to the way they move on their boards.
Safety Must Always Be the Priority
Dog surfers should always wear life vests while hanging ten.
And they should be checked out by a veterinarian ahead of time to insure they are healthy enough to participate in a physically demanding activity that often takes place in cold water.
Owners and trainers of surfing dogs should take care not to allow them to overexert themselves.
August 16, 2012 - Posted by justonemorepet | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets, responsible pet ownership | activities with pets, animals fears, Dr. Becker, pet anxiety, pet safety, pet stress, surfing animals, surfing dogs
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!
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