By Toni Gibson-Mark, PetSafe Training & Behavior Education Specialist
The sun is shining and it’s time to get outside! Being outside is one of the best things about the summer, and it’s definitely the favorite time of year for many of our pets! Dogs are often so excited to get outside and romp around in the warm weather too.
Being outside with our pets can be a really rewarding and fun-filled experience! When you’re outside with your dog, first make sure that you are in a safe area, especially if your dog will be off-leash. Is the area fenced in? Could other dogs or people approach you? You will want to assess these factors before determining what types of outdoor activities you want to take part in with your pet. Once you’ve got a safe area, there are so many things you can do outdoors with your dog!
Bring your dog to the dog park! The dog park is usually very busy in the summertime, so it’s a great time for your dog to meet and play with new friends! When you go to the dog park, make sure your dog is comfortable and plays well with others. Also, make sure that you are comfortable with the other dogs there. For some great additional information about dog parks, visit the Animal Behavior Associates, Inc. website on dog park etiquette: http://www.animalbehaviorassociates.com/dog_park_etiquette.htm
If dog parks aren’t your thing but you still want to be outside, consider doing a 5K or dog walk with your dog. Many local rescues hold fundraisers where you can take your dog for a long walk. It’s a great opportunity to socialize AND help an animal rescue!
Training your dog to do new tricks or new sports is a popular activity in the summertime. You can purchase inexpensive agility equipment or develop your own! Training your dog to walk through weavepoles or jump through a hoop using positive reinforcement training methods can be really rewarding and fun for you and your pet.
Take your dog for a swim! Some dogs LOVE to doggy paddle around a pool, lake, or ocean. Before swimming for the first time, make sure your dog is comfortable with the water. If they aren’t overly comfortable at first, let them take their time getting accustomed to the water so that they are able to enjoy it throughout their whole life.
Contact your local ice cream shops to see if they are dog-friendly. Many will have ice cream for pups during the summer. If they do, bring the whole family for ice cream—including your dog! The cool treat will be great for everyone.
There are lots of fun activities for our pets during the warm months. Make it a goal to get outside to enjoy some of these moments!