teaching my dog to surf

How I’m Teaching My Dog to Surf!

It’s time for something a little different around here on CrazyDogMama – so I’m gonna tell you all about how I’m teaching my dog to surf! That’s right, little Jack the Cairn Terrier got his paws wet at only 8 weeks old, and I thought it would be fun to document his journey in learning to Hang 10 (or Hang 16 in his case), starting from the very beginning! I’ve included a ton of short little videos so you can share the experience with us. I hope you enjoy.

You’ve read the story about how we got Jack (if you haven’t, you can read about it here!), so now onto how he’s spent the first 7 months of his (spoiled rotten) life! Jack came to live with us last May as a wee little thang, and because we have a pool, it was priority #1 to teach him how to swim and find his way out right away to avoid any horrific events! And that’s how it started…

We didn’t have a plan to teach him complicated water sports, it just kind of happened because as it turns out, not only does he LOVE the water, but he has natural SKILLZ! This took me by total and utter surprise because my previous 2 Cairn Terriers (Louie & Maggie) absolutely hated the water and panicked whenever immersed. It seems bigger dogs are more the water-lovers. But Jack, he is special. He is such a happy and fun little guy who is curious and fearless about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G, and therefore is up for any and all challenges. Cairn Terriers are spunky and smart (some more than others) and they need constant stimulation or they get destructive. This surfing thing has been a Godsend as far as keeping him occupied and away from my expensive shoes. 🙂

At first, we would place Jack on the first step in the pool and let him get used to the water, then we started trying to coax him in using various tactics. He was tentative, but intrigued. Not too afraid, which was an excellent sign! At the grocery store one day, Dale spotted some cheap Styrofoam Boogie Boards on sale for 10 bucks and suggested we get one for Jack. Honestly I thought it was cute, but would probably be a waste of money. I reluctantly agreed. Immediately after we brought it home, my smart man (he gets all the credit for this training, by the way) put it on the floor excitedly telling Jack that it was “his”, and dangled the board ‘leash’ in front him. Here’s what happened:


Was that amazing or what??? I was such a proud CrazyDogMama! So that was it, we knew this was gonna be Jack’s thing. He was just so excited and our hearts melted all over the place. I thought for sure that he would just start chewing on it – end of the story. I was so happy to be wrong! Dale says he is the ‘smartest dog in the world’, and, well…I don’t know about that, he eats his own poo and bangs his head on the sliding glass door pretty much every day like an R-tard, BUT he is smart little sucker when it comes to some things.

teaching my dog to surf

We got him used to the board being in the pool next, and not inside the house. He would walk all around the edges and look at it, wagging his tail and stretching his body way over to inspect it, then looking up at us for approval.

teaching my dog to surf

teaching my dog to surf

This was the cutest thing – he would lay with the cord. Bonding, I guess. 😉

teaching my dog to surf

It wasn’t long before he started laying on top of it, taking naps in the sun.

teaching my dog to surf

Next was putting him on the board IN the pool. He did SO GREAT! It was like this natural progression with no stress, no fuss. Looking more and more like a surfer dude!

teaching my dog to surf

Time to get to work! Dale was awesome with him – playing with him in the pool, pushing and pulling him on the board in all directions. Jack has this obsession with splashing water (the pool, the hose, the sprinklers, the rain…), so it wasn’t hard to keep him interested and having a good time. You can’t see it real well in the photo above, but his Grandma got him a skull & crossbones charm for his collar because Jack’s a total BADASS. Kind of like Captain Jack Sparrow!


I love how he is so damn calm. Like it’s no biggie. Time to kick it up a notch! Dale wanted to get him jumping onto the board by himself instead of us picking him up and placing him on top of it every time, so we got the idea to put his dinner on the board for motivation!


Success!! I think this is the about the point where the neighbors wanted to kill us (for reals), but it was the only way!


It took a few weeks, but now he doesn’t need food/treats to get on the board, he WANTS to get on it!! It’s play time! He’s actually kinda-sorta surfing now! Both Dale and I practiced pulling the board around with him on it every single day so that it became routine like taking a walk. But he still wouldn’t jump onto to it unless we held it up to the side of the pool…until one day, he just did it. Here is the very first unassisted launch:


This was a big day! Jack finally jumped onto the board ALL BY HIMSELF!! What a good boy!! Is that not the coolest thing ever??? I wasn’t expecting him to do it that soon, but he did it!! I was serious about the splashing water thing – the hose was the ticket for this big step.


We got more and more aggressive with the pulling movements so that he would learn balance, and not be afraid to jump into the water from the board, or to completely wipe out. 😀  I was worried that he would lose interest if things got real, but again, I was WRONG!


You might think we are mean here, cannon-balling him like that, but out in the ocean there is NO MERCY! He has to be prepared! It was fricking funny, too, I must say. The last thing was working on his swimming skills and water stamina. We used his newest obsession for this feat, the BALL. Jack is absolutely relentless when it comes to the g**damned ball.


We all gotta get water up our nose at some point, right? Hahahaha. Poor little guy was sucking water on that one.

More cowbell BALL! (Just a little SNL humor for you…)


His balance is just amazing, isn’t it?  I couldn’t do that!  He’s ready for the dog beach, now, but we have to wait until Spring because it’s too cold now. The last thing is getting him used to a life jacket (aw, mom!) and buying him a real surf board! He has outgrown his boogie board – he is over 20 pounds now! When we started, he was barely 5 pounds. Santa just might bring him a big-boy board!!

teaching my dog to surf

Do I really have to wear this stupid thing? (OMG, that look…)

teaching my dog to surf

Deal with it, fuzzy-butt! 😀

So what do you think of little surfer Jack? I am looking forward to getting him out there in the big, bad ocean, but I have to admit it makes me nervous. We will only do small waves of course, but I think Jack has a VERY bright future! Prepare for the next dog-surfing wonder!

This post was inspired by Jack of course, but also by our new friends over at puppyspot.com! Check them out when you have a chance – they are a great resource! They have a no-puppy-mill promise, so if you want to train your own surfin’ puppy, give them a go!

Until next time, y’all have a great weekend! Woof! Woof! Woof!

Related Articles

1 Comment

  • Cathy December 03, 2016 10.17 am

    He’s just too cute!!! Woof!


Leave a Comment

About the Author

Hi, I’m Cheryl, a.k.a. "CrazyDogMama". Welcome to my blog! Anything and everything goes here - seriously. I'm a super laid-back, non-traditional, 40-something introverted writer. My language can get a little colorful, I love horror movies, I pretty much live on coffee, chocolate and cigarettes and I'm not above writing about uncomfortable subjects. So, if you're good with that, take a look around and get to know me! Even if you're not, I try my best to entertain and offer up good advice occasionally, so hopefully there is a little something here for everyone.

This is my life.


Subscribe to CrazyDogMama!