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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Skateboarding dog rolls into students’ hearts

Hero%2C+a+Shiba+Inu%2C+sits+on+a+skateboard.+Hero+is+a+skating+boarding+dog+who+can+be+seen+around+NIUs+campus.+%28Brandon+Clark+%7C+Northern+Star%29
Brandon Clark
Hero, a Shiba Inu, sits on a skateboard. Hero is a skating boarding dog who can be seen around NIU’s campus. (Brandon Clark | Northern Star)

DeKALB – If you’ve second-guessed your sanity after seeing a small dog rolling down Lucinda Avenue, you can cancel your psych evaluation – it’s no hallucination. It’s Hero, the skateboarding dog. 

Hero’s owner, Gin Chiu, is an NIU graduate who adopted Hero from Taiwan in July. Chiu started training Hero to ride a skateboard only a month ago after the plucky pup began hopping on Chiu’s e-scooter for rides.

“He was always wanting to ride with me,” Chiu said. “After he started trying to get on a skateboard with me, I decided to buy him his own.” 

Training a dog to skateboard might sound daunting, but Chiu said training her furry friend is easier than it looks, which can be seen on Hero’s Instagram.

“I just use Hero’s food to get him to ride the board,” Chiu said. “The first time, I just got him to touch the board with his paw and rewarded him with praise and a treat. Once he knows touching the board is good, getting him to move is not difficult.”

Once on the board, Chiu presents a treat in front of Hero just out of his reach. Almost instinctively and without hesitation, Hero stays on the board and begins to push himself forward with his back paw.

“What a good boy,” Chiu praises. “I don’t have to give him treats to do this anymore, but they’re still good to get him to do what I want. Dogs don’t have the language to communicate with us, but they understand food.” 

Skateboarding isn’t Hero’s only trick. Chiu has also taught Hero to sit, beg, jump through her arms and even give a high five.

Hero is a three-year-old Shiba Inu, a breed of Japanese hunting dog and one of the original six dog breeds native to Japan according to the American Kennel Club.

Chiu said she has no plans to make Hero a commercial success; and for now, she is happy to let Hero draw a crowd wherever he rolls. 

 

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