Have you ever wondered how to train an English Bulldog to ride a skateboard? The short answer is, "Very carefully!" The naturally outgoing nature of Bulldogs makes them great candidates for skateboarding. It doesn't hurt that they have such a low center of gravity.
Is Your Bulldog a Good Candidate for Skateboard Training?
You may have seen one of those amazing videos that features a Bully having a terrific time riding a skateboard all on his own. In the video below, Otto the famous skateboarding bulldog shows off his impressive skills. It's obvious that he loves what he's doing. However, not every English Bulldog is willing or able to be trained to ride a board. It's important that you respect your dog's natural aptitude, abilities and personal health. You'll need to work slowly and decide if this is something your dog really wants to do, regardless of how much you'd like him to ride. Once you've figured that out, you can proceed if it seems like the right thing to do.
Basics of How to Train an English Bulldog to Ride a Skateboard
If you decide to move forward with training your English Bulldog to ride a skateboard, follow these basis steps:
Choosing the Right Skateboard
Dogs can be injured while riding a skateboard just like any other athlete, so it's important that you choose the right kind of board to provide the most stability. For dogs, a flat skateboard without the flip at the end is the right choice because the board won't flip up as much when your dog steps on that area.
Getting Your Pet Accustomed to the Board
One of the first and most important steps to training a Bulldog to ride a skateboard is to get him used to the board. The best way to do this is by placing the board on a fluffy quilt in your pet's living space. This will keep the board from rolling and allow your pet to step on it or even sit on it if he chooses. You can further the process by coaxing your dog to the board with a treat and giving him an "up" command. Reward him with praise when he touches the board with his paws and especially if he climbs onto the board to receive the treat. You want your dog to associate the board with good things happening to him when he touches it.
Moving Outside to Grass
Once your dog seems comfortable touching the board or climbing on it, it's time to move to the next stage. Take the skateboard outside on the grass and coax your dog to put his paw on it by using the same treat and "up" command followed by praise when he obliges you. The skateboard will move a bit on the grass, but it won't be as free rolling as it would on the pavement. Go slowly at this stage because the movement is bound to surprise your dog a bit.
It's important to spend as much time as needed to get your dog used to that slight movement. Once he is routinely putting his front paw on the board, you can begin holding the treat slightly out of reach so your dog feels compelled to push forward a bit to reach it. At this time, repeat the command to "push." This is the basic way to teach him to push off on the board by himself. Praise him well for each small success. This clearly shows him what you want from him. You can gradually extend the length he pushes the board by keeping the treat just out of reach so he has to move forward more.
Progressing to the Pavement
Do not progress to training on pavement until your dog seems very comfortable working on the grass, and avoid unlevel surfaces. This is the training stage where your dog is most likely to sustain an injury, so stick close to him in case he needs your help. This is also the point where you'll finally be able to judge whether or not your pet is destined to become a full skateboard rider. If he likes the movement, he may naturally climb aboard for a short ride. Praise him well and keep the entire training session fun and upbeat. Before long, your dog should look forward to these sessions and will likely take over operating his skateboard on his own. With time and practice, your dog may become as impressive as Tillman the skateboarding dog (pictured below), who was featured in a 2007 iPhone commercial series.
Tailor Your Dog's Training
Those are the basics of how to train an English Bulldog to ride a skateboard. What you need to keep in mind is that no single training technique is going to work for each and every dog. As you work with your pet, pay attention to what's working for you, and look for alternative ways to teach your dog if you get stuck at a particular stage. If you can keep the entire experience fun and rewarding, your dog is more likely to learn to ride.