If you want to know how to teach your dog to skateboard, you need to understand how to use positive reinforcement on your dog, while breaking the behavior down into manageable steps. Clicker training is an ideal way to train dogs to do tricks. Even if you've never done it, or never even heard of it, I encourage you to make the leap for a trick like this. You'll get better, faster results and a build a bond with your dog.
To teach your dog to skateboard, you will need:
- Treats cut into small pieces about the size of a bean
- Familiarize yourself with clicker basics. If you've never clicker trained visit a clicker training web site. Use the clicker to train a few basic commands, like sit and down, to master your skills.
- Start with a board. You first want to teach your dog how to place its feet on something like a skateboard, but without any risk of movement. Lay out a board or something similar. Click and treat for any interaction. Then begin to increase your demands. Click for one paw actually on the board, then two paws. Once you've reliably got it putting two front paws on the board you can add a cue. Say the cue, for example "ride it," immediately before the dog puts its paws on the board.
- Move on to a non-moving skateboard. Place a towel on the floor and place the skateboard on top of it, so it won't roll. Since this is a new object don't say your command yet. Let the dog put its front feet on the board on its own. Once it does that you can add the command the next time. Practice until you have reliability.
- Now you're ready to roll. Flip the skateboard over. You may want to start this phase on carpet so the skateboard doesn't take off as fast. Click and treat for any movement of the board. Keep upping the ante slowly until your dog is riding.
Tips: Pay attention to what direction your dog approaches the board from. Just like with human riders, you may have a goofy-footed dog. For taller dogs try a longboard. Some larger dogs may never be comfortable with all four feet on the board. But a dog pushing around a skateboard with two feet on will still be an impressive trick. Keep sessions short and fun.
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