For my son’s 7th birthday we bought him a skateboard. Little did I know what trouble we were letting ourselves in for; it turns out we have a dog who barks at skateboards, and acts very aggressive towards the noise.
I have no idea where this fear and anxiety comes from, so decided to research it and see how to desensitize a dog to skateboards. You can read all I found out, and how we fixed the aggression problem and barking.
Why do dogs hate skateboards? Dogs bark at skateboards and hate them due to their chase response. This instinct causes dogs to raise their defence mechanism. It’s the noise of the skateboard wheels rattling over concrete that can trigger the dog into thinking there’s a threat approach.
The bottom line is; the sound of a skateboard when it approaches your dog sounds terrifying. The noise can irritate a dog’s sensitive hearing, as the wheels will rattle and make sounds that are very unusual to dogs.
Why does my dog hate skateboards so much?
Here’s some more detail on the phenomonen, based on what we saw with our dog’s aggression towards skateboards, and also what I found online from other owners.
From what I can gather, it’s not at all unusual at all for dogs to hate the sound of skateboards. The mere sight and sound of one can send them into a barking frenzy, or pure fear and anxiety, manifesting itself in shaking.
Now obviously, if you have a dog who hates skateboarders it will become a problem if they try to lunge or growl at a rider. You might even start to not want to take yoru dog out if you think there’s the possibility of chance encounter with a skateboard.
Knowing that your dog has aggression towards a person or item means that you have the responsibility to nip it in the bud as soon as you can.
This is especially the case if there is a risk that your dog will end up biting someone simply because they do not understand what is going on.
A bit further down you can get tips on how we went about desensitizing our dog to skateboards.
Why dogs bark at skateboards so much?
One of the most common reasons why dogs do not like skateboards and will bark at them is due to a natural instinct they have to chase. If something is moving quickly towards or away from them, it’s a trigger.
Just like you see your dog chasing a squirrel or wanting to run after a stick you throw, their desire to chase moving objects is very strong. It’s a predatory response derived from their wolf ancestry.
Handy Hint: If you have a dog with a high prey drive, every day walking can be very exhausting. Here’s how you can walk your high prey drive dog better with 5 tips… alternatively here are dog breeds with low prey drives.
Certain dogs are more likely to chase after skateboards because their specific breed has been historically bred for hunting or stalking. Other breeds of dogs may be more scared, which could also result in barking, lunging, or cowering in fear.
Another reason for a dog your dog might become anxious or aggressive around skateboards is due to how loud they are. The wheels tend to make a clickety-clack noise on the sidewalk, getting louder as the rider approaches you.
Dogs have very sensitive hearing, so it is not a pleasant sound for them. The dog can get confused and upset and try to bark at the skateboard to make it go away.
And lastly, your dog could even believe that you are under attack when they see a skateboarder coming towards you. Typically, a human’s reaction might be to tense a little bit, especially if you weren’t expecting a rider to be so close to you.
Your dog will pick up on this and view the situation as dangerous. He may lunge after the skateboarder in an attempt to protect you.
After all, it’s probably quite freaky for a dog to see a human speeding towards them on wheesl like that
How to desensitize a dog to skateboards
It didn’t take us long to cure our dogs skateboard phobia and aggressive barking. We quickly understood that as our dog wasreacting negatively to skateboards, we had to fix it quick… there are lots of kids in our neighborhood who ride them… and we know that dogs rarely get tired of barking!
It doesn’t bear thinking about to have this type of aggression not brough into check.
The best way to desensitize your dog to skateboards is to show them they are not scary. I know this sounds simple, but honestly, it’s no big deal you just need patience.
You should buy or borrow a skateboard and leave it in your home, maybe in the corner of the living room. We already had one for our son, but you can buy a cheap one on Amazon.
The aim here is to get your dog get used to the idea of having it there, and then try making it seem more appealing. Treats come in very handy for this!
Start by giving the dog treats when they are simply in the same room as the skateboard. Then lay the treats closer and closer until they are directly on top of the skateboard.
If your dog feels comfortable eating treats off it, it is a very good sign. Your dog will eventually come to associate the skateboard as being a good thing.
In addition to this, you could enlist the help of a skateboarder who you know personally. Ask them to ride slowly towards you and your dog when you are out for a walk.
When the person skates past you, tell your dog to sit and stay. If they do so calmly, reward them with treats and petting. If they make a fuss, do not reward them at all.
Once you have done this a few times, you can try the same technique while walking by skateboarders that you don’t know. Your dog will soon understand that they are to sit quietly and allow the rider to pass by.
If your dog is having a hard time getting used to skateboards and won’t stop barking, you may need to try a different approach. The dog is mainly reacting to the sound of the skateboard, so that is what you need to teach them to get over.
Try playing the sound of skateboard wheels hitting the pavement from a computer or phone. You can find sound effects like this on YouTube.
Play the sounds very quietly, to avoid terrifying the dog. If the dog hears the sounds and does not react, reward them with treats and praise. Then you can increase the volume slightly until it is at a more realistic level of what they would be hearing outside.
If they start to react, show them the device and let them sniff it. Then tell them to sit. Make sure to act very calmly and do not make any sudden noises or movements while your dog is in training.
How to stop dog aggression towards skateboarders
Dogs should be trained out of bad behavior as soon as possible so that it does not become a bigger problem in the future. Yelling when your pet goes after skateboarders is counter-intuitive in this situation, as it will simply confuse the dog even more.
Instead, it is better to issue a strict ‘NO’ or ‘leave it’. Then pull them away so that they cannot see the rider anymore.
The only way for your dog to stop being aggressive towards skateboarders is if they are near them quite frequently. Take the dog to a skate park and start watching from afar.
Start from as far away as your dog is comfortable with. Once they obey the ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands, give them treats. Occasionally, the two of you can move a little closer to where the action is.
As soon as your dog shows signs of aggression, stop giving her treats and move back to the last area they were calm in.
Handy Hint: Dogs who hate skateboards are also the type of animal who might end up chasing cars. Here’s what car chasing means and how you can stop it.
Signs of anxiety in dogs
It can be difficult to tell the difference between aggression and fear or anxiety in dogs. While some dogs are aggressive towards skateboarders, others are simply afraid. Some common signs of anxiety in dogs include:
- Shaking (especially around certain people or items).
- Whining or howling.
- Barking excessively.
- Dilated pupils.
- Tucked tails between the legs.
- Shedding of hair for no obvious reason.
- Licking paws excessively.
When a dog is anxious about something, skateboards, in this case, it is important not to make the problem any worse. If you yell or hit them you are showing the dog that this is a scary situation, and they will become more stressed than ever before.
This anxious behavior may have stemmed from a very early memory in the dog’s life. Or perhaps the dog was kept isolated and alone, which resulted in a fear of other people, animals, and unexpected noises.
When dogs are not exercised enough when they are young, they tend to grow up and develop noise sensitivity and separation anxiety. If your dog was neglected by other people when they were young, they will have a more difficult time thriving.
However, giving them some extra time, attention and love might be just the thing they need to rise above their tough beginnings and start again.
Using the tips above we managed to desenstiize our dog to skateboards in just 7 days. I hope it helps for you, and as you can see in these photos he’s no longer scared of them and doesn’t bark at them anymore.
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