FF450: The Daredevil Within - Building Confidence Through Skateboarding

Instructor: Donna Hill

Course Details

Is your dog afraid of skateboards? Wants to chase them? Barks at them? Or, does your dog need to improve balance, muscle tone and body condition? Are you looking for an activity that is fun and challenging for your confident dog? Then this course is perfect for your dog!

We'll work through desensitizing your dog to the sight and sound of skateboards and then start interacting with a moving one. We'll teach him how to flip one over, and get on one from both a stationary position and while it is moving. Your dog will not only be able to be comfortable and focus on you when one passes by, but we'll teach him to jog beside one (with you or a friend riding it) and even be able to ride on one down a hill! More advanced dogs will learn to push the skateboard to keep it going on a flat surface, how to do a simple jump to build confidence (yup, curb jumping at its finest), doing a set of a few stairs and leaning into turns to avoid objects in their path. Your dog will be hotdogging on a skateboard before long!

Learn to bring out the inner daredevil in your dog!

Check out the class promotional video!


All dogs sports are risky. Some more than others. By signing up for this class, you assume all risk to yourself and your dog. Overweight dogs need to be thinned down before participating to prevent ACL tears and other related injuries. 

Please let me know if your fearful dog has any history of knee or hip issues and we can choose the specific activities for him to avoid injury so he can still learn to be comfortable around them.


Next session starts: August 1, 2017
Registration starts: July 22, 2017
Registration ends: August 15, 2017

Registration begins at 10:30am PDT

Enrollment limits: 10 gold, 25 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level spot you can sign up any time during the registration period.

For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.


Week 1
Lecture 1: Desensitization and Counter Conditioning
Lecture 2: Body Language for Stress/fear
Desensitizing dog to board sound and movement 
Handler skills of board: for safety and fun

Week 2
Lecture 1: Preparing the Skateboard for use
Lecture 2: Scouting locations
Lecture 3: Paw Targeting
Preparing fearful dogs for riding the skateboard
Get on the board: Paw Targets
Staying on the board
Push starts 

Week 3
Lecture 1: Safety and Conditioning Dogs
Lecture 2: Recovering from falling off, hitting objects etc
Lecture 3: Keep going signal
Lecture 4: Familiarizing to new locations
Adding Duration to riding the skateboard
Adding verbal cue
Running mount
Changing direction, front to back 

Week 4
Lecture 1: Intermittent Reinforcement
Lecture 2: Adding Distance between you and the dog on board
Lecture 3: Chaining behaviors
Taking Bumps and Curbs
Riding down a short set of stairs
Running mount

Week 5
Lecture 1: Preparing the Board Part 2
Lecture 2: Shifting weight to change direction of movement
Changing sides
Adding distance to send outs
More Chaining Behaviors together

Week 6
Lecture 1: Where to go From Here: Developing Creativity
Tricks with the Board
At the Skateboard Park

Prerequisites and Equipment

Prerequisite skills:

  • informal stand stay or wait
  • nose target to hand
  • front and rear paw targets (Body Awareness Through Targeting)
  • shaping experience helpful

Optional but helpful for fearful dogs: 
tug on cue (dog will tug a rope you are holding etc)


  • clicker
  • treat pouch (waist one that stays locked open is recommended)
  • treats of suitable value for training location
  • ball or tug toy etc as rewards during breaks
  • child’s pull toy (large plastic car or truck the noisier the better)
  • 2 x 6 foot leashes (ideally of different colours)
  • H-body harness with a front clip (not the no-pull type as we don’t want to constrict the dog’s movement in any way)

    Here's  a video showing it (the second harness that is red is the one). Both my dogs wear this now.
  • long light line (for distance work in public places where dog must be on leash)
  • skateboard of suitable size for dog (there are 3 lengths) 17", 26" and 29" (longboard) The skateboard needs to be at least as long as your dog and about the same width in any shape. (wider and rboader is better for stability). No special brand, type needed. Check Freecycle, garage sales and second hand stores to find one that fits your dog. We will talk about different wheels in class so get what you can get to start. You can always get new wheels later.
  • access to a large indoor/outdoor area with flat smooth surface at least 10 feet wide and 20 feet long (wide hallway, room, driveway etc) but not too smooth like a garage floor (too slick). Ideally without breaks or deep cracks.
  • carpet or grass to start
  • wobble board 4 feet x 4 feet with ball underneath or peanut balance or skateboard with loose trucks
  • adjustable wrench or socket wrench set
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • flat board 4-6” wide by 8 to 12” long, half inch thick
  • wood or plastic dowel or felt pen about 3/4 to 1 inch diameter, about same length as board width (4-6 inches)

Optional for sensitive dogs or if you don't have easy access to ramps:

various sizes of boards to make simple ramps -minimum 4 feet long but ideally longer, a variety of thicknesses from half inch to two inches thick (not particle board if you might get it wet outdoors, but can use it if kept dry)

laminate counter top material, hardboard or thin sheet metal piece at least 2 feet by 8 inches (longer is better-ideally 4 feet) and about 1/8 to 3/8 thickness-skateboard needs to roll easily over the edge)

Course Testimonials

Brand New Course August 2015

Please refer to the instructor bio page for sample testimonials from other courses they have taught.