How To Teach Your Dog How To Surf

Those who say surfing is just for humans should think again. If you’re asking whether dogs can surf, the answer is ‘yes’. A man’s best friend can be a good surfer. 

Have you heard about the World Dog Surfing Championships? Yes, your dog can now take part in these thrilling competitions, which first took place in California in 2016. 

Regardless of whether you and your dog are up for a competition or just want to spend a day at the beach, this post is all about offering advice and safety tips on how to teach your dog how to surf. 

Steps On Teaching Your Dog How To Surf


If you enjoy catching waves, surfing is a great pastime you can do with your dog. You can train your dog to join in the fun with some good encouragement and a lot of patience.

1. Encourage your dog to enjoy the water.

Because not all dogs enjoy being in the water, be sure yours can swim or enjoy being in the water. You can test this by allowing him/her to swim in a shallow pool or by having it retrieve a toy dropped into the pool. 

If your dog is apprehensive about entering the water, try luring him/her with a toy and rewarding it with a pat on the back or some food treats.

2. Get your dog to have fun with the surfboard

Allow your dog to become accustomed to the feel of the board and being on it. Develop his/her trust by always helping it through the process and allowing it to see you having fun on the surfboard.

3. Placement is everything.   

Dog surfing is a balancing act. Placing your dog too near to the nose or tail will cause the surfboard to flip in either direction. The ideal position is determined by your dog's weight and size. 

The sweet spot is usually around two-thirds of the way from the nose. You can mark the location where your dog is most comfortable. 

4. Ride the wave.

Launch the surfboard perpendicular to a wave and not parallel to it. Stand at the back of the board and hold the tail as you maneuver. Then, when you see the perfect wave, launch the surfboard toward the beach as you push the tail slightly downwards to lift the nose. 

Don’t hold your dog while he/she is on the board, and let it try to balance himself/herself on its own.

Safety Tips Before Launching Your Dog On The Surfboard


Before you launch your dog on the surfboard, consider the following safety precautions:

1. Choose the right surfboard

For beginners, choose a smaller surfboard, like a boogie board or body board, that your dog can easily balance and control. As your dog gets more comfortable and confident, you can switch to longer boards where you can ride in tandem.

Boards with a soft top like foam boards are not ideal, as well as boards made from fiberglass, which can be too slippery for a dog’s paw to grip onto. Try one with a harder surface that can provide good traction.

2. Place a life vest

Always have your dog wear a life vest, as a wave can easily dislodge it from the surfboard. This way, you can easily retrieve your dog as he/she floats.

3. Do not attach a leash to your dog’s surfboard

Tying your dog to the surfboard may cause it to get dragged under the water if it gets knocked over.

4. Stick to shallow waves

Surfing is best enjoyed by your dog near the shore as it moves softly across a shallow wave. It is more difficult for it to balance on a larger wave, and he/she may quickly topple over.

5. Do the stingray shuffle upon hitting the beach.

Stingrays love foraging in shallow, warm waters. Getting stung by one is a common enough incident that can ruin you and your dog’s fun on the beach. 

Scare away stingrays by agitating the sand with your feet or slapping the water with your hands. This is more for your sake than your dog as you guide it through the waves.

6. Make certain that no one is in their way. 

Make sure the path is clear before launching your dog into the surf to avoid any mishaps. Choose a location with fewer people so you can enjoy the waves. 

Training Tips on How To Handle Distractions 

In any sport, focus is the key. But as you know, dogs have senses that are way more sensitive than humans. 

Lack of focus will make it difficult for your dog to learn how to surf. Now, to keep your dog’s attention from wandering from your commands, here are some tips:

  • After your dog has mastered the art of ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands, begin introducing forms of distractions such as a new squeaky toy. 
  • Show the toy and then command your dog to sit and stay.
  • If your dog gets excited and aims for the toy instead of remaining seated, move the toy a little bit farther and then say your commands again. If your dog obeys, reward it with a treat and then move the toy closer to him/her.
  • Do this exercise 2 to 3x a day for a maximum of 15 minutes each session.
  • Next is to offer other forms of distraction by asking someone to stay by the door while the training is ongoing. If your dog gets distracted by the presence of another person in the room, say your commands. If it obeys and focuses its attention on you, offer a reward treat; if not, move your dog away from the door. Do this process until your doggo masters it. 
  • To move on to the next level, use the same principle in a busy area (e.g., neighborhood park, driveway) and command your dog to sit and stay.
  • As your dog progresses, you can level up the training by going to busier places where there are more distractions. Keep on doing this exercise until your dog learns how to snap back its focus on you despite the many distractions around him/her. 

Final Thoughts 

Surfing is a terrific way to bond with your best friend, but always start with their well-being in mind, regardless of whether they enjoy the activity or not. If they are open to the notion of being in the water, begin slowly to build their confidence. Your dog will be surfing the waves before you know it.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended posts

February 19, 2024
Maine Surf Guide

While there are several wave fields still undiscovered, Maine can still offer some of the best conditions for visiting tourists to catch that perfect wave. In this article, we’ll take a look at why you might want to visit Maine, the best times to surf, and the best places to check out on your next […]

Read More
February 14, 2024
How To Choose the Best Surf Camp in 8 Steps

Surf camps have a certain appeal. They’re ideal places to learn surfing, especially for solo travelers who want to meet people and socialize in a friendly environment. However, surf camps are springing up in every nook and cranny. You’ll find plenty with an ocean at almost every corner of the planet. The increased numbers make […]

Read More
February 12, 2024
Alaska Surf Guide 

If you’re a fan of the outdoors in general and dislike crowds, Alaska might be your go-to place to surf. But with the various hazards and difficulties getting there, it can be a somewhat tedious trip. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all about the wonders and potential dangers of surfing in Alaska.  With its […]

Read More
January 30, 2024
Are Surf Camps Worth It? The Pros and Cons

Surfing is a popular sport, especially with many health fanatics who consider it a great way to keep in shape. If you’re a beginner and want to hone this skill, you might consider joining a surf camp. But, is it worth it? This article will take a deep dive into the essentials of surfing camps […]

Read More
January 30, 2024
Georgia Surf Guide 

If you’re living along the East Coast, it could be a bit difficult to travel across the country to Hawaii or California for that perfect surfing spot. Georgia might not be your first choice when it comes to surfing, but with the warmer waters, beautiful surrounding islands, and stunning wildlife, there are quite a few […]

Read More
January 20, 2024
How Waves Are Formed

Waves, especially ocean waves, are often so common that we never usually think about where they come from or how they’re formed. In this article, you’ll be diving into the specifics of the formation of waves, including the various types of waves and where you may find them.  Depending on the type of wave, there […]

Read More
January 19, 2024
9 Things You Should Know Before Learning How to Surf

Watching surfers riding huge waves certainly inspires us to learn the sport as quickly as possible to impress others, just as we were fascinated. It’s a sport like no other, and the best part is that it gives us a chance to master the ocean, which scares even the best of us. However, remember that […]

Read More
January 15, 2024
7 Weirdest Waves That’ll Blow Your Mind

One of the best things about ocean surfing is that you’ll never know what you’re going to get. It's unpredictable and sometimes too fast or too big for you. Nevertheless, other waves are so wacky and weird that they will level up your excitement in a different way. From massive wipeouts underwater to being thrown […]

Read More
January 7, 2024
12 Best Places for Sandboarding Around the World

With all the sports out there, sandboarding can easily be considered one of the most unique and exciting ones there is to offer. It might be thought that this sport is relatively new, but in reality, it has been around for centuries and is thought to have been started by the Egyptians. Today, it has […]

Read More
1 2 3 14
Find your ideal surfing destination with Surf Spots. Connect with the waves and brace yourself for an experience of a lifetime.



Contact Us


All rights reserved by Surf Spots