Lee from Philly emailed me about her bulldog Bertha who is learning to skateboard. Bertha is only three and one-half months old.
Click on an image to view in details with captions.
Margaret in her Halloween costume.
We went to our daughter’s place last night to give out Halloween candy. Living in the country we get few if any kids coming to our door. In keeping with the spirit we dressed Margaret up. You can see how excited she was over the whole affair. She loved greeting the kids.
Today we passed another small step in teaching Margaret, my bulldog, to skateboard. Steps to date:
Step 1: Get over fear of the board
Now I am not talking about standing all four paws on the board, just two. Margaret was afraid of the skateboard so first I sat on a step with the skateboard beside me. The board was leaning on my leg. All I wanted her to was put her front paws on the board while eating. By letting her confront the board sideways while stabilized to me, her desire for food overcame her fear.
Step 2: Standing on the board
For this I sat on a step with the board between my legs and my feet stabilizing the the board.
Step 3: Basic gliding
Step 4: Pulling the board
Now she has to stabilizer herself while the board moves.
Now for the new step:
Step 5: Getting on the board without me holding it
I break getting on a skateboard into two smaller tasks. Tonight Margaret got on the board resting on a rug. The rug is pretty flat so it will move but not as easily. It also helped that it was her supper and she was hungry. I will repeat this a few times then move to a hard surface.
The next step is getting Margaret used to being pulled. One interesting thing is that she finds it easier to sit rather than stand. Sitting does not require as much balance. She still needs the board stabilized to get on. Also, I am trying to figure out how to teach her to propel herself.
On Saturday, we took Margaret to the Uxbridge Skateboard park. She had never seen anyone skateboard before that afternoon. One of the boys skated for her. While at first intimidated, Margaret enjoyed running with Steven and seemed to think it was a fun game.
This morning was another milestone. Last night we were not prepared for Margaret to climb on the board so willingly. This morning Dorothea videoed the feeding. I cut out the minute of eating, highlighting the mount and then giving her a ride.
She still needed the board held as she has not grasped the concept of getting on the board carefully. Also on the last push, you can see I pushed her too hard so she did not maintain her balance.
Tonight we made a major breakthrough. I fixed Margaret’s supper as usual, grabbed the skateboard and sat on the back deck with the board in front of me. Margaret walked out and right onto the board to eat. No coaching or helping her on.
Later I offered some snacks, and she let me push/pull the board about 3 feet each way with her on it. This went on for several minutes. I think she actually enjoyed it.
This weekend I am taking her to a local skatepark so that she can see others in action. My goal is to see if she will let me push her around on the board.
Tonight I took it a tiny step forward. Once Margaret was on the board, I slid the board out so that she would stand in the correct position. I prevented the board from moving front to back but she had to distribute her weight. She still needs help getting the back paws on but once in place I can move the board back and forward a few inches without her jumping off.
Ever since I saw a bulldog skateboard on TV, I have wanted to teach my bulldog, Margaret, to ride. Yesterday my wife and I went to WalMart to purchase a board. The unit I bought was $50 and the best of the basic boards they carried. I picked this board for several reasons:
The cashier asked if the board was for our grandchild. “No,” we replied, “it’s for our dog.” I am not sure she believed me.
I searched the web and found a few sites with basic instruction. Margaret was not interested in the board when I brought it in. Frankly, she was afraid of it. My logic was to use food as an incentive. Margaret will do anything for food.
My basic approach is:
First, I sat on the floor with the board sideways beside me and fed her treats. I placed the treats so that she had to move closer and eventually place her front paws on the board. Next morning she walked right up to the board and stood sideways on it to eat.
Next was to get her to stand 2 paws on the board properly. Getting on a skateboard is not trivial. The board wants to roll. At first I put the board against the step and used my legs to block access to the food unless she climbed on.
I linked my feet around the board to prevent movement. Margaret climbed on with two paws, and my wife lifted her back feet on. With the board stabilized, she ate supper. I was eventually able to get her to stand on it while I moved her a bit back and forth.
I will do a few more meals like this getting her used to climbing on, while securing it less and less.