With some training, your dog can stay calm around skateboards. (Picture Credit: Westend61/Getty Images)
“How can I keep my dog calm around skateboards?” It’s a frequently asked question among dog parents. Many dogs go wild — barking, lunging, pulling on their leash — at the sound or sight of a skateboarder.
That can be stressful for you, your dog, and the unfortunate skater who is just rolling by. Worse, it can become a safety issue if you can’t keep your dog under control.
Quickly moving bicyclists, skaters, and runners can trigger a natural chase response in dogs. Skateboards not only move quickly, but they also make loud noises. Your dog could be alarmed, and their response is their way of keeping the noisy, scary thing away.
So how can you get your dog to remain calm around skateboards? Here are a few tips.
Train The Fear Away
If you have a friend with a skateboard, you can desensitize your dog to the sight and sound.
Discover how far away from a skateboard your dog needs to be in order to show no reaction to it at all. That’s where you want to be with your dog when your friend skates past you.
When you first see the skateboard and the dog isn’t reacting, feed them treats. If the dog is reacting, you are still too close.
Continue to feed your dog treats until the skateboarder is out of sight, and then stop feeding. Practice this many times in a row.
Move a little bit closer and do it again. Continue to move a little closer and feed treats as long as your dog isn’t reacting.
If you try to approach too close, too quickly, the dog will react. You’ll need to move back again to the point where they don’t react, and start again. If moving forward twelve inches sparks a reaction, try moving just a couple of inches instead.
Your dog is the one who will determine how quickly you can progress. Take it slow. You don’t want the dog to react.
Take It To The Streets
(Picture Credit: Pekic/Getty Images)
You can also be prepared and carry treats with you on walks.
Begin giving treats before your dog has a full-blown reaction to a skateboard, and feed continuously while the skateboard goes by.
Train your dog to focus on and take directions from you when something’s “not right” in their environment. They should look to you for cues on how to react, so project calmness and confidence to your pet.