- Dog surfing instructors say that dogs who dislike the water are not trained for competition.
- So long as safety is observed and dogs show enthusiasm, experts think the sport is cool for canines.
- When trained, dogs are first "desensitized" to the boards used.
Dog surfing trainers say the dogs are actually enjoying themselves as they take to the board.
"You only attempt surfing with dogs that really love the beach and water," explained Rob Kuty, the official animal trainer at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego. "Dogs who fear or dislike either are almost impossible to train to surf, so you won't find those dogs at these types of competitions."
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Kuty works with such dogs at the center's Surf Clinics conducted in June, July and August. Participants can then compete in the annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon fundraiser for the center that is held each year.
Kuty begins by "desensitizing the dogs to the board," which consists of getting them comfortable standing on the surfboards, when still on the sand, and then reinforcing "how great it is to stand on the boards by praising them when they are on the board and ignoring the dogs when they are off the boards."