The World Surf Dog Competition returns to the Bay Area for the third year, bringing with it a sea of dogs that can hang ten and a few that will be wiped out.
This event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on the coast in Pacifica just outside of San Francisco. Dogs and their owners can compete not just for fun, but proceeds from the event will go to canine, surfing and environmental charities, according to organizers.
The competition, hosted by TasteTVis open to amateurs who want to ride the waves with some of the best dog surfers in the world.
[NATL-BAY GALLERY]Hang in there 20: Dogs ride the waves of Pacifica in the annual surf contest
Here are some of their tips that you can use to motivate your dog to surf:
- Swim before you surf: “Make sure your dog can swim!” Uy said. Even his world record holder dog Abbie falls off the board. Uy insisted on making sure the conditions are safe and your dog can handle the wave.
- Safety first: Uy dresses his dog in a wetsuit designed especially for Abbie. But Judy Fridono, dog trainer and owner of famed surfer dog Ricochet, said most people looking to surf with their dogs “are people who go out multiple times a summer.” Most active surfer dogs wear at least one dog life vest during the ride.
- Do not force: Many owners can sense whether their dog is having fun or not. Coach Fridono pointed out that the most important rule for her is: “If they really don’t want to surf, then find something else that you both like.” While some dogs are their first time surfing the water like Abbie, others take a little longer to learn, so patience and small steps may be required.
- Train at home It is practice makes perfect! “Getting your dog to surf is really up to each dog,” Fridono said. However, she suggests putting the surfboard away when you’re not training so your dog gets excited every time.
- Food and treats By serving treats and meals on the surfboard, the trainer said, you reinforce your dog’s behavior on the board, rather than getting off it.
- Distraction training: “A lot of dogs get very distracted by everything that’s going on, so they tend to jump off the board to play, go after a ball, sniff another dog…” The trainer said to complete basic distraction trainers to prepare your dog to crowded beaches.
- Use verbal cues: “Use a word to free your dog from being on the board, like ‘release’.” Many dogs surf backwards so they can keep an eye on their owner. The trainer suggests using a word to help your dog understand that he needs to stay on the board even when you’re behind him.
- Say “cheese: Your dog has a special talent and people will notice! Prepare your dog for the social media fame that may follow.
- Enjoy! Every trainer and owner has pointed out that the greatest part of surfing with dogs is spending more time with the dog. Make sure it’s fun for you and your furry friend!