How to Snowboard With Dogsby Todd Bowerman
The steep hills and fast speeds of a black diamond slope are not safe for your canine companion, but that does not mean you cannot teach him to enjoy charging across a flat snowy plain or through a tight forest path with you in tow. Much like teaching a dog to pull you on a skateboard or rollerblades, teaching a dog to pull you on your snowboard gives him a fun way to release some energy that is different from the norm.
Familiarize your pup with the snowboard by equipping it while you are sitting down with the dog in tow. Reward the dog with a treat when he comes near so he develops a positive association to the snowboard.
Help the dog get used to his new harness by having him wear it around the house. Ensure that you are using a harness designed for pulling, as normal harnesses will be uncomfortable for the dog when used for pulling. In fact, many harnesses are made specifically to discourage pulling. Get a harness made for "harnessing" to a trailing device such as a sled or snowboard.
Attach a leash to the harness and place something light on the other end. An empty sled, a trashcan lid or any light object that slides well on snow will work. Have your dog pull the item around your yard, and reward him with treats.
Teach the dog to go and stop on command by walking with him and saying “stop” or “go” as you stop and go. Practice this on normal walks with your pup on leash. Once he has a grasp on "stop" and "go," teach "left" and "right" by cueing him as you turn on walks.
Suit your dog up in his harness and attach a leash. Hold the end of the leash and stand on your snowboard. Give your dog the "go" command, and practice different cues. Work in short training sessions and reward your dog for each successfully executed command.
Practice snowboarding with your dog in the yard, where you will both be safe. You should not attempt to snowboard with your dog outside your yard until he reliably follows all directional commands.
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- Pulling harness
- Dog treats
- The easiest way to teach a dog the mechanics of pulling is running him with a group of experienced sled dogs.
- Safety should be your first priority in any advanced dog training. Do not put yourself or your dog in dangerous situations, do not attempt to hit a trail until commands are solid, and pack plenty of water and food for your outings.