WORDS & PHOTOS Marcus Bandy
For this week’s Action Now column I’m here to discuss one of my more recent passions: Dogboarding. Simply put, dogboarding is a shrednasty interspecies bonding activity betwixt us humanoids and our canid companions, it provides quality exercise for our four legged friendos, It’s a shitload of fun, and it is a zero-emissions form of green transportation—all good stuff for sure! Anyway, my pup’s name is Colbee, he’s an Australian Cattle Dog, just under five months old, and I’ve been working with him since his 7th week of age so that we can better enjoy ripping around together and so he feels calm and confident just lounging, watching a quality shred session in general. It’s been a lot of work thus far but worth every minute. Without further ado, I’d like to share a few techniques that I’ve learned via the process of skating with my dog and also share some of the pictures I shot of Colbee and I dogboarding around our hood this morning. Please enjoy.
The following are a few of the dogboarding techniques I’ve learned along the way:
– As mentioned, I started Colbee off with skateboards very young. I familiarized him with skateboards and the sounds of skateboards since the day I brought him home. I taught him to understand that the skateboard is associated with fun and food. I did this by feeding him on a skateboard’s grip tape and giving him treats on deck while it’s upside down too, and while he ate I’d spin the wheels a bit. My wife came up with the idea of having him stand with two feet on the board in order to receive a treat—we still do that.
– I suggest starting with soft wheels on your board so it’s quieter in general. I did this when feeding and later when riding together with him as well. Now that he’s used to the softer sound of the soft wheels I have slowly introduced him to hard wheels under the same circumstance, but unless I have to I always use soft wheels for skating with him. That being said, if your ultimate destination is a street or park session with friends then simply bring a set of hard wheels and change ’em out once you get there. Dogs have super-mega-frequency hearing and they feel way more comfortable and less nervous with the quieter sound of soft wheels.
– Never rewarding your dog for attacking the board or agressively/nervously barking at it. This is tough, especially if you have a generally nervous dog, if he’s never seen one before, or if loud noises scares him in general. The goal is to get your pup comfortable and calm around a skateboard and the sound of a skateboard. It takes time. See #1 and don’t rush it. You dog is smart, he’ll come around when he’s ready.
– Just so ya know, I do not really let Colbee actually pull me much and I always let him set the pace. At five months he’s still growing. I do not suggest letting your dog pull full-force until he’s a year or more. That said, it’s best to talk with your vet for their professional opinion. Plus, actually pushing with him is fun anyway, and shows him that you are not lazy.
– Definitely use a harness ( I use a Kong harness. It’s killer), not just a neck collar. This is pretty straight forward as a body harness better distributes the tension across the dog’s body rather than just on his neck. Let a homie breath, yo!
– I always keep a portable water bowl (most pet stores and REI carry ’em) with me as it’s easy to get water most of the time, but not a container to put it in. Dogs cannot sweat, and riding with ya will get thhim heated and thirsty quick, especially if it’s hot out. If he’s panting a lot, stop and give the dude a swig of fresh water—he’ll appreciate it.
– Short and sweet is good. Watch your dog carefully and only work him as much as he wants so that he always associates it with fun. As he learns and strengthens, he’ll go longer and faster. Be careful not to over work his nails and or foot pads too. Again, it’s all about building stamina.
– I have also recently started bringing Colbee to the local skatepark after a good run and tethering him in the shade near the park. That way he’s pretty tuckered out and more prone to lay down and allow himself to relax, and get used to the sound of you and others skating on your own. The goal is to be able to bring him to a session or a skate mission without him getting too excited. Working him out beforehand allows him to understand that there’s a time to ride and a time to simply sit back and peep the session. That said, if you do not exersise your pooch first and simply just tie him up while you and the homies have a rip, don’t expect him to be stoked–your dude is a rider now and is gonna want to join in so if he’s ready to ride he’ll just bark and get all excited and cause a ruckus. Believe me, I’ve learned this from experience. The more ya work with him the more you’ll better understand his moods and needs.
– Keep your leash-guiding and commands simple, and consistent. If your dog is confused he’ll get frustrated and ignore you. Mine did that until I figured this all out.
– Be a really good footbraker. It’s mandatory. If you cannot comfortably slow to a stop via footbraking quick-trigger-style you are putting both your dog and yourself in grave danger.
– No fast moves. You must NEVER run into your dog, so take your time, build technique to avoid issues before they arise, and keep your third-eye open wide in search of cats, stray dogs, cars, and big cracks or potholes.
-Bring treats and intermittenly dole them out to reward the behavior you are looking for. For example: not chasing other dogs or cats, for sitting relaxed next to you on corners or stop lights, and when stopped and calmly looking at you for your guidance.
Anyway, each dog is different and these are just my insights from working with Colbee over the past few months. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m having so much fun dogboarding that I wanted to share from my experiences thus far. The idea here is to get you skating more and hanging with your doggie-moster too. I am quite aware that some dogs will never be down for skating with ya, but the majority of them are down and can definitely learn to love it—it’s always worth a try. Thanks again for checking out my latest Action Now column. I’m looking forward to hearing any and all of your experiences with your dogs, and your feedback on what I’ve shared above. Tonight’s live-streaming discussion of this column begins at 5pmPST on Periscope. Peep the details below. From Colbee and I to you: Ride Onward!
– Marcus Bandy
Also, please make sure to spread the word about this and add any comments ya have below in the comment section so that we can discuss them on-air tonight once we go live. Shredlove and thanks for checking out Wheelbase Magazine and my column!
I just want to reiterate that the comments and ideas presented above are published with the sole purpose to create dialogue, not as instruction. If any of these ideas get your panties in a bunch please first: relax, and then pluck and place said undergarments in a more comfortable position and let’s have a heathy skater-to-skater chat. The live streaming Periscope discussion for this week’s Action Now column begins at 5PM PST tonight (2/11/2016).