Enjoying The Dog Days of Summer!

by Emily Freeman and Rachel Taunton // June 2018

Summer is coming! It might not always be obvious as the great British weather treats us to a variety of downpours and gusty days, but the temperature is steadily increasing and lovely warm days are just around the corner. This means more opportunities for fun and frolics outside with your hound! Here are some of our favourite activities.

Scout and Boo love a picnic on the beach!

Picnics and BBQs

Everyone (including your furry friend) loves an alfresco meal! Why not pack up the hamper and head down to a dog-friendly beach or park? To prevent any sausage rolls mysteriously going walkabout, try making your dog a frozen stuffed Kong to keep them busy and their snout out of the sandwiches. Simply grab a Kong, line the inside with peanut butter (make sure it is the original type – sugar-free foods with sweeteners are dangerous to dogs), pop in some biscuits, fruit and cheese and top up with weak gravy. Then freeze. Your dog will stay occupied and entertained leaving you to enjoy your burger in peace! For a more advanced non-nabbing technique come to Dog School and learn a “leave it” cue to let your dog know that the cheesecake is strictly human pudding only and that they’ll get something equally delicious instead. Be sure to clear up carefully after your BBQs – you don’t want to end up at the vets thanks to an opportunistic snaffling of a chicken bone or corn on the cob!

Honey cools her paws and enjoys the breeze

Staying cool, calm and collected

The sun’s out, you’ve grabbed your hat, shades and sun cream and you and Fido are ready for a day of catching some rays. Or are you? Remember that your dog is only able to sweat through their paws and has to pant to cool themselves down. Owners of dogs with short noses will need to be extra careful as these pooches find it harder to cool down and may overheat. However, never fear! You can still enjoy the lovely weather with a small amount of forethought. Make sure you walk your favourite furry friend during the cooler hours of the day, allow rest breaks and provide water regularly. If the pavement is too hot for you to stand on barefoot for ten seconds then it is too hot to go dog walking – how about playing a game of Hide and Seek in the house instead until it cools down? While you’re out and about, make the most of chances to cool off – do some team paddling in the sea, share a moment in the shade under a tree or treat you and your dog to an iced drink. Lots of dogs love snuffling and crunching on ice cubes!

Make use of the better weather to do some recall practice!

Outdoor activities

Now’s the perfect chance to try that new canine sport you’ve been thinking about. Many agility and training classes make the most of the better weather to train outside, allowing you both to get some sweet-smelling fresh air while training in a new environment. Dog School trains outside whenever possible in the summer, and often runs specialised workshops on key aspects of training so give your local Dog School a shout and try something new! If none of that floats your boat or you want a more chilled out bonding session with your mutt then check out the group dog walks in your area. For dogs that are already confident and friendly with dogs and people, these make a lovely opportunity for your dog to make some new doggy friends and have a runaround and for you to chat to other like-minded owners.

Feeling Zen

Sometimes we all just need to get away from it all, and that goes for your dog too. It’s lovely for your dog to see their canine chums in the park, but how about setting the alarm, getting up early and heading somewhere different to enjoy a sunrise together? After watching the sun come up your dog will get some new smells to sniff, you’ll get to practice their training in a new and novel environment, with no one else around to disturb you, and you’ll get to feel smug about being so productive before breakfast time!

Plan the paw-fect pooch friendly holiday for you both to enjoy!

Home from home

Going on holiday? Your dog can go too! Many B & Bs and holiday homes allow well-behaved dogs to stay, so take a look at www.dogstrust.org.uk/shopping/our-partners/welcome-cottages/ to see thousands of lovely cottages that will let your dog stay for free! If you’re a country resident, try a beach trip. Or as a city dweller, why not head for the hills for some invigorating new hiking opportunities. Variety is the spice of life after all.  To avoid stomach upsets take a good supply of your dog’s regular food with you, as well as their bed so they feel at home. If you’re driving, stop regularly to check your dog is not getting too hot. You’re on holiday, so slow the pace down and pop in a drink and a leg stretch and remember to never leave your dog in the car. Hot days, hot dogs and hot cars do not mix! Most of all though, enjoy your break – new walks and downtime will give you the chance to remember why you got a dog in the first place!

We hope you all have a fabulous summer with your dogs, but if you need any extra tips to make sure you’re getting the best out of the summer fun with your dog we have classes for all ages, sizes and types of dogs, and Dog School would love to help you help your dog!