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Fetch The Sun's Outdoor Dog Adventures: Surfing with Your Dog

Two dogs riding a wave on a surfboard at Dog Beach

Taking your dog surfing is an incredible activity to experience with your pup. From the first steps of getting your dog comfortable in the water to conquering the surf - this is a great adventure for you and your dog! Surfing with dogs can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it requires patience and practice to ensure you both stay safe out on the waves. In this article, we'll be sharing some top tips and tricks to help you get your pup ready for the surf!

Getting in the water with your dog is an inherently risky activity that has the potential to result in serious injury or death. We take no responsibility for any safety risks or issues arising from participating in activities discussed in this article and recommend consulting a qualified veterinarian before starting any activity with your pet. You should always practice water sports safety measures, closely monitor your pet during all activities, and never leave your pet unsupervised in or near water. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and we recommend seeking professional advice from a qualified veterinarian before engaging in any activity with your pet. We are not liable for any injury or death that results from following the advice described in this article.

Benefits of Surfing with Your Dog

A couple, holding a surfboard and walking their dogs at Del Mar Dog Beach.

Surfing with your dog is an activity that has a variety of benefits. It can be a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, while also providing them with an amazing experience in such an enriched environment. Dog-friendly beaches offer one of the most perfect playgrounds for your dog to socialize with other dogs and people while soaking up the sun.

For dogs, activities like surfing can provide more than just fun and entertainment - it can give them a burst of newfound self-confidence. Trying something new introduces them to different experiences that aren't limited to regular habits or daily routines. Learning dog tricks outside of their normal realm shows them just how capable they are.

Some health benefits also go along with dog surfing. Hopping on that board can boost your dog's cardio health, along with strengthening their body muscles. Plus, think of the fun you will have together when playing in the waves together! What better way to enjoy quality time outdoors?

Preparation for Surfing with Your Dog

Before you head out to the beach, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. First of all, make sure that your dog is comfortable around water, as getting them accustomed to the waves is important. You can start by introducing them to a shallow body of water, such as a pool or lake, and gradually work up to deeper waters.

Another important part of preparation is having the proper safety equipment. A life jacket designed specifically for dogs is an invaluable piece of gear that not only provides buoyancy but also ensures your pup's safety. A leash or harness is also essential, as it will give you control over your pup while they’re on the board and keep them from straying away. See the next section for dog surfboard selection.

Make sure your pup is up to date on vaccinations, especially if heading to a dog beach with lots of other dogs. Finally, it's important to be aware of the surf conditions for the day. If there are larger waves present, it may be best to wait until another day or a different beach where the waves are more gentle.

Essential Gear for Surfing with Your Dog

  • Surfboard modified for your pup (see below)

  • Food, treats, and water

  • Sunblock

  • Blankets and/or towels

  • Dog lifejacket

  • Dog ID

  • Poop bags

  • Leash and harness

  • Camera to catch your pup shredding

Tips & Tricks for Dog Surfing Success

Miniature Pinscher sitting on dog beach with sunglasses on top of his head with a surfboard in the background

Now that you and your pup are all set to go, here are a few tips to keep in mind while out at the beach. Start small by practicing on beach break, or smaller waves breaking closer to shore. This is a great way to start your pup on their surfing journey. It's also important not to force them onto the waves, and instead let them get used to it at their own pace.

Once your dog is comfortable in the water, you can move on from the beach break and try out some of the waves breaking further out. It's important to understand the importance of patience. It's normal for your pup to be hesitant in the beginning, so take it slow and let them get used to the waves at their own pace.

Your dog surfboard selection will depend on how big or small your dog is. For example, I use a round nose, soft top 5' 8" surfboard that is 19" wide and 2.75" thick for Snoopy, our 14lb Jack Russell/Chihuahua. The bigger your dog, the larger board you'll want to select. Regardless of the size, it's a best practice to go with a soft top board. Fiberglass/resin boards are slippery and too hard for dogs, and the dog can get a good grip with their paws on the soft top.

Training Tips for Surfing with Your Dog

Training is an important part of achieving success with dog surfing. Start by teaching your pup basic commands such as sit, stay and come. These will be essential for controlling them while they are on the board and in the water.

An important part of dog surfing training is getting your pup used to the board itself. Get them comfortable with it on land first and then gradually progress into the water. If your pup is food-motivated, you can also use treats to help reinforce getting on the surfboard.

Once they're in the water, start slow and take small waves while staying close to shore - eventually, you can progress to bigger waves. If possible, bring a friend for support and take turns catching waves. Don't forget to reward your pup with plenty of love, treats, and positive reinforcement!

Pittbull surfing on a wave on a green dog surfboard

Try Surfing with Your Dog Today!

Surfing with your dog is an unforgettable experience that you and your pup are sure to enjoy together! With patience, practice and proper preparation, you'll be conquering the waves and enjoying every moment of it. So get out there, have fun and make lasting memories with your pup! Don't forget to take lots of pictures - you never know what kind of amazingly radical moments will be captured during your surfing adventure! Give it a try today and share your story with us by tagging #Fetchthesun on Instagram.

Learn More About Surfing with Your Dog

Check out our guide to taking your dog swimming to get some tips on how to get your pup more comfortable in the water.

Local to San Diego? Check out our blogs on: Del Mar Dog Beach

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Watch our quick clip on Del Mar Dog Beach:

Check Out Our Adventure Guide for More!

Miniature Golden Retriever wearing an olive drab dog running shirt

We hope you enjoyed our Adventure Guide on Surfing with Your Dog. Check out even more fun, outdoor activities you can do with your dog at our Fetch The Sun Adventure Guide homepage.

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