Just when you thought teaching your dog “stay” was impressive, wait until you hear about this new, hip trend in the dog community that involves skateboards and safety equipment.

More and more dog owners are taking their dogs to a different kind of training class where they learn how to skateboard. It sounds silly at first, but after talking with the professionals, it turns out that it can be very beneficial for your furry best friend, especially if your dog hasn’t responded well to obedience training in the past.

Melissa Viera, owner and operator of MJ’s Pet Training Academy in Acushnet, proudly hosts training classes for dogs and their owners on how to cruise the pavement.

“In the dog community, it’s not as rare as you might think,” Viera said. “First of all, it’s a fun activity, but the idea is to teach people that if you can teach a dog how to skate, you can teach a dog a common command.”

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Viera sees a huge benefit between dog and owner relationship during these out-of-the-box training sessions. Their bond becomes stronger, and it’s a way to get people thinking differently about training an animal. Obedience training is often perceived as tedious and overwhelming. Adding a skateboard to the mix tends to lighten up the mood.

Eric Letendre of Eric Letendre’s Dog Training School in Westport agreed that there are benefits to teaching your dog new and exciting tricks.

“You’ll see a lot of people teach (dogs) how to skateboard and they’ll do it together, or they’ll surfboard together, or motorcycle together," Letendre said. "It’s a bonding experience."

Letendre explained to me that teaching a new skill to a dog can really help with their confidence.

"If they are fearful in nature or uncomfortable at times, learning a skill like this will really help build some confidence," he said.

Sometimes it takes a different approach to teaching your dog new skills, and if they are having a tough time in obedience class, maybe it’s time to head to the skate shop and try something new.

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