The New York summer is so intense that Alfred Hitchcock used it as an uncredited character in both Rear Window and The Seven Year Itch, while Newport and the Hamptons owe their fame to people fleeing the heat and humidity of the city for more temperate climes. These conditions can make it tricky to keep the four-legged residents exercised without being overheated, so we've put together a few handy hints to help out:
Timing is Everything
Go for your long walks in the early morning or late evening. These are the coolest parts of the day, and both you and your dog are likely to be far more comfortable and energetic than under the blazing midday sun.
Arrange indoor, air-conditioned play dates for your dog with a few like-minded pups. A 20-minute session playing with a four-legged friend is a more intense work-out, both physically and mentally, than a much longer walk. You can also practice obedience training indoors, or play fun games like puppy-in-the-middle, hunt-the- treat and many others. This has the dual benefit of working them out and improving their listening and focus skills at the same time.
Dogs regulate their temperature in part through the pads of their feet, and surfaces like cement and asphalt trap heat like an oven. Teaching your dog to wear booties (available in most pet stores) will help keep her cool, happy and protected. If you decide on this action, make sure to desensitize/Counter condition your dog to the booties properly over a few days/weeks time. Put them on slowly using high value rewards and leave them on while your dogs eats dinner or while you do 5 minutes of fun training. Then take them off and repeat again later, so your dog starts to anticipate the food and the fun! Once they are excited about the booties and wearing them happily, you can take them outside for a walk in them!
BYDB - Bring Your Dog's Bottle
Dehydration can be life-threatening, so keep an eye out for excessive drooling, panting, lethargy, pale skin and gums and slack skin - these are all signs that your dog is in dire need of a drink. Always carry water and a collapsible bowl with you on walks.
In addition, never, ever leave your dog unattended in a car; on hot days, the temperature inside (even with the windows cracked) can be more than 20˚F higher than that of the outside air, as demonstrated by veterinarian Dr Ernie Ward (https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=27&v=JbOcCQ-y3OY). Your dog may also become stressed due to the confinement, or overexcited by passers-by, which increases the risk of dehydration.
Does Your Doggy Paddle?
Another great way to cool off is to take your dog swimming, or you might consider taking up the canine sport of Dock Diving, which can be hugely rewarding for both you and your pet. Even if these aren't options for you, though, many dogs enjoy having access to a kiddy's paddling pool to splash about in, and watching your furry friend wallowing luxuriously is very funny indeed!
Physical exercise is of course important, but keeping your pet mentally stimulated is equally vital. We all know that an intense study session can be exhausting and, when temperatures outside soar, working her mind can be just as effective at burning off energy as working her muscles. Making her earn her dinner using puzzle toys such as the Kong Wobbler, playing games like Puppy Ping Pong or working on obedience commands, are excellent ideas. Training classes are also wonderfully stimulating; Shelby Semel Dog Training offers a variety to suit every personality, level and age. Coming Up in June we have Basic Obedience Class, Intermediate Obedience class, Control Unleashed class, Tricks and more! Please browse Shelbydogtraining.com for start dates and Email with any questions! This is a great way to get your summer started!!
By The Shelby Semel Dog Training Team