Summer is perfect for outdoor fun. If your dog can join in, so much the better. There are plenty of activities to try, from old standbys like fetch to more adventurous pursuits like hiking and hiking. Consider your dog’s personality, activity level and interests to make sure you find the perfect match. If you’re looking for some inspiration, the following list is sure to include some ideas that both you and your dog will enjoy.
Have a pet portrait session
Summer provides a beautiful backdrop for a pet portrait session. You can even enlist the help of a friend and take a picture with your dog. Avoid the harsh shadows of midday and set your camera or phone to continuous shooting so you don’t miss a thing. The trick to capturing your dog’s best expression is to make sure they enjoy the experience. Go to familiar places and entice their interest with treats and toys.
Make Frozen Dog Treats
Help your dog cool down in the heat with frozen treats. An easy trick is to take a toy that can be filled with treats, such as the classic Kong, and freeze it once it’s filled. Another simple treat is frozen fruit pieces, such as watermelon cubes. You can also use unsalted chicken broth to make ice cubes. Finally, be more adventurous and try a recipe for a snack or soft serve.
Try scent work
Scent work is all about getting your dog to do what they do best – smell. All you need is a DIY starter kit with some essential oils, jars and cotton swabs. Then, with a few simple lessons, you’re ready to start playing in your backyard or at the park. For an informal version of the game, hide snacks around the yard or scatter roughage on the lawn and let your dog sniff the goodies.
Enjoy a picnic
If you can’t find a dog-friendly restaurant on your patio, try a picnic. Bring a big enough blanket for you and your dog, and don’t forget to pack some dog-safe treats that your pup can share. Don’t prepare onions for your dog. If you take a long walk ahead of time or otherwise exercise your dog, they are more likely to relax while you eat.
Host a puppy party
If your dog has some friends in the neighborhood, try hosting a puppy party. This is a chance for the dog to play and the owner to socialize. Make sure there are enough toys to walk around with, and if you grill or serve food to the owner, make sure unsafe items, such as chicken bones or onion slices, are out of the dog’s reach. To add extra size, include a used toy exchange. Each owner can bring a toy that their dog no longer uses.
Take a dog training class
Some training schools offer outdoor obedience classes during the summer. Not only can you enjoy the weather, but you can add a lot of distractions to your training. Or, if you’re looking for a whole new way to play with your dog, consider trying a dog sport, such as agility, dock diving or Frisbee dog. As you learn to work together as a team, you and your dog will build your bond.
Playing Bobbing for Kibble
Playing in the water is a great way to keep your dog cool. You can play through the sprinklers, rinse them off, or let them paddle on the beach. Another fun game is bobbing for coarse ground food. Fill a kiddie pool with a few inches of water and add a handful of coarse ground food or other treats, such as apple slices. Let your dog jump in and retrieve the snack.
Go for a swim
Take your dog to a lake, river or beach and let them swim. Play together in the water or throw a floating toy for them to fetch. Be sure to always supervise your dog and provide plenty of fresh water to discourage them from drinking while swimming. Not all dogs are natural creatures of the water, so teach your dog to swim and provide a life jacket to boost their confidence.
Consider Taking your dog on a boat ride. They can join you on a motorboat, canoe, kayak, or even a stand-up paddleboard. Be sure to put your dog in a life jacket and do some simple training in shallow water beforehand. For everyone’s safety, you want to make sure your dog is calm and comfortable on the boat.
Set up a backyard agility course
Set up your own backyard obstacle course just for fun or to build agility skills at home. You can purchase some kits, or you can DIY some simple obstacles out of PVC pipe and some wood. Just be sure to keep the obstacles low to ensure safety and let your dog go at his own pace.
Go to the dog park
Many dogs love the excitement of a dog park. If you want to make sure your pup has the right playmate, schedule a date with an owner and dog you already know. If you are there alone, observe the interaction between the other dogs before you let go of the leash. It’s important that the experience be positive, not overwhelming.
Create some paw art
Let your dog express their inner artist with paw painting. All your dog’s masterpiece needs is some non-toxic washable paint and a large piece of paper. Dip your dog’s paws into the paint, then encourage them to walk through the paper art as they go. When you’re happy with the results, give your dog an outdoor bath.
Whichever activity you decide to try, remember that dogs can easily overheat in the summer. Stick to cooler days or early mornings/early evenings when the sun is not as strong. And provide plenty of opportunities to drink and rest.