We’ve now reached the best time of the year (at least, according to many dog owners) — summer, when the days are long and lazy, and the nights are warm and mild. Summer is a great time for you to enjoy any number of fun activities with your furry best friend; below are just a few ideas that will keep both you and your pup busy during this light, loose and lively time of year.
State parks, national forests and local hiking trails can offer a great outdoor activity with the benefit of exercise for you and your dog. A change of scents, sounds and scenery will likely be most welcome — both for you and your canine companion — and there are several online resources you can use to locate the more than 2,000 trails, parks and forests in the U.S. and Canada that are dog-friendly. One is HikeWithYourDog.com, which lets you search by state or province.
Remember that not every dog is built for long, arduous hikes; it’s best to start with shorter distances and gradually work your way up to longer ones as your dog becomes more conditioned. Make sure your pup has up-to-date ID tags and that his or her vaccinations are current. And don’t forget to pack plenty of water, a dog bowl, poop bags and a dog first-aid kit.
On warm summer nights, there’s nothing better than sitting outside on a blanket watching something cinematic on a big screen as you and your pup enjoy snacks and beverages. Thousands of local communities across the country have movie nights in parks and concert venues; check your local listings to see what’s playing and when, and if it’s dog-friendly (many movie nights are).
Get out of town for the weekend, and take your pup with you! Previous blogs on the Performance K9 Training website have discussed going on vacation with your dog and how to find a hotel that’s pet-friendly. A change of scenery isn’t just good for you; it will do a world of good for your furry friend too! Just remember that, as with hiking, you should make sure your pup’s vaccinations are up-to-date and remember to pack necessary supplies, including a dog first-aid kit.
Every year, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is gaining in popularity, and there’s no reason why you can’t bring your pup with you as you take part in this athletic summer activity that lets both of you enjoy the water together. SUP can be practiced in bays, lakes or rivers, and no matter what size or shape your dog is, most will fit on your paddle board. There are some great videos and tutorials out on the web for paddle boarding with your teetering tail-wagger (be sure he or she has a life vest!).
For those dog owners who don’t want to get so physically active, there are many bodies of water — lakes, rivers, streams, ocean and ponds — where you can rent a boat that you and your canine companion can sail, steer or just ride in as you ply waters large or small. In many cases, all you need is a valid driver’s license to do so — of course, it’s always a good idea to take a boating safety course in advance and be familiar with navigation rules before you set out. GoPetFriendly.com has a list of resources broken out by states that let you rent both powered and non-powered boats. And remember, don’t forget your dog’s life vest.
Speaking of boats, a long time ago, certain dog owners discovered how excited pooches can become when they get close to bodies of water. In fact, the phenomenon of dogs running, jumping and diving off docks has even evolved into its own sport; dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes compete to see which one can leap the longest or the highest into a pool or other body of water from a dock or other raised platform. There are now three national organizations that list and promote dock diving events in the U.S.: UltimateAirDog.net, SplashDogs.com and DockDogs.com.
Hit the Beach
What better way to treat your dog to the water than by taking him or her to the beach? While not every beach is dog-friendly, many are on certain days of the week or times of the year. Just remember that before you take your dog to a beach, he or she should be obedience-trained (see below) and be on point with their recall command. Why? Because there are usually many people (and often other dogs), and if your dog is extra-curious or easily distracted, this could become an issue.
Stop at Starbucks or Other Cafés
Cafés — both indoor and outdoor — can be great places for you and your pup to chill out, relax and get a refreshing drink — java for you and water for your pup. Most cafés are happy to provide a bowl of fresh water for fido; Starbucks even has a drink that’s called a Puppichino — it’s on the menu, and it’s free for all dogs!
Polish Up Obedience Skills
Even if your dog is well-behaved, it doesn’t hurt to polish up his or her obedience skills. More people and animals outside in the summer mean many more diversions, which can potentially lead to trouble for your pup. Make sure your dog is well-trained in leash etiquette, recall and other basics, so he or she is ready for the busy season ahead!
Even the most-occupied pet parent typically wouldn’t object to meeting a like-minded pet parent — especially one or several that are local. Meet-up websites, such as MeetUp.com and specific regional-focused sites (many of which can be found on Google), have multiple groups that are dog- or pet-oriented; there are likely several in your area.
Need Help With Dog Training?
If you are a pet parent that has a pup that needs some-fine tuning with dog training, do reach out to a professional dog trainer which specializes with those challenges. Performance K9 Training has helped thousands of pet parents with obedience skills and behavioral issues. Contact us today to lean more!