Jennifer McCarthy, Healthy Spot’s official dog trainer, is our SPOTlight guest blogger this month. Jennifer McCarthy specializes in training dogs and helping dog owners “learn to live with their dogs in peace and harmony with nature”. She hosts training sessions at all of our locations. As you plan how to spend the last week of summer, Jennifer shares her tips for having fun and training your pup to surf:
Summer is a great time to try out new adventures with your dog and in Southern California why not try surfing?! I love to surf and it’s something that I’ve taught my dogs to do and they love it too.
Preparation is very important when teaching your dog to surf. First, you will need a 9-10-foot foam surfboard and a life vest for your pup. Before heading to the beach, you should always check the tide. Tides going from high to low are best and mid-tide are perfect. To begin, you will also want small and gentle waves no more than 1-2 ft high. You can always check the waves on surfline.com.
Once you get to the beach, try to find a cove that is sheltered and protected if possible. While you’re on the beach, practice getting your dog on the board in the sand before moving to the water. They should stay in the middle of the board.
When you’re ready to take things into the water, practice paddling around so that your dog gets used to the feeling of being on the board in the water. (Keep in mind that, if your dog does not like swimming, surfing might not be the best activity for him or her).
Finally, once you spot a good wave, get your dog onto the board facing the beach. Put him or her into the down position and push them into the wave. Once you push your dog out onto the wave, keep in mind that he or she might jump off and that this is okay in the beginning. The most important thing to remember is that they should remain in the down position or stand and ride the wave, but that it might take a bit of practice to get there. Just the experience of being out in the ocean and teaching them something new is a great bonding experience for you both.
It is my hope that this will help you to get out there and create some great memories with your dog before summer ends!
- Jennifer McCarthy
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