Longer summer days means your dog will be more active and also require that you spend a little extra time with them. Playing games with your dog is a great way to share quality time and also a healthy way to tire them out! Very little space is needed to enjoy some fun time during these sweltering days. As promised in our previous blog, we’ve compiled a list of five things you can do together to wile away the long summer months.
Keep in mind that early mornings and closer to dusk are the best times of the day to play. Playing during cooler hours reduces the risk of heat stroke or sun burn for both you and your pup. (Follow this link to our blog on Sun Safety and Heat Awareness for Pets for hot weather tips.)
Digging helps relieve boredom for most dogs. Make or purchase a children’s sandbox (with a lid) and fill it with clean sand for some extra special play time. Add plastic balls and favorite squeaky toys and the two of you can have lots of fun in the sun! Use the box to partially bury toys and command your dog to fetch by name, or throw balls into the box from a distance and command them to retrieve the ball. Retrieval games are stimulating for your dog and can help improve behavior issues. You may need to supervise your dog to make sure it doesn’t use the play box as a litter box - but with direction, this should easily become a great pastime!
Tug Of War
Playing tug of war with your dog helps relieve aggression and provides a training opportunity for them to learn commands such as “drop it” or “let go.” We suggest having a toy or toys specifically designated for this activity so all toys do not become subject to being pulled away from you. Options range from dog ropes to Kong Tug Toys made of durable stretching rubber.
Bubble-Blowing Dog Toy
Do we ever outgrow the enjoyment of blowing bubbles? You can now purchase sturdy dog-safe bubble solutions to sit and blow bubbles for your pup to pop! Or if you’d rather sit back and sip your lemonade while watching the fun, you can buy a bacon-flavored-bubble machine to do the work for you!
Monkey in the Middle
This classic game that you played as a kid can also be played with your pup. Place your dog between you and a friend while you throw a ball back and forth. Toss the ball at a moderate speed and height above your dog’s head, but not too high that it becomes frustrating for them to catch. Challenge your dog but also let him win often! This is great agility and coordination training. Remember to praise your dog for its successes!
Chairs, plastic cones, paper boxes…anything can be used to make an indoor or outdoor agility course! The more shape options you have, the better the course! Use treats to motivate your dog through the course or over your obstacles. If your dog is slow to get the idea, put a leash on it so you can gently guide it until he learns what you want from her. Remember to give your dog treats and/or lots of praise when it accomplishes a task! If your dog is a water-baby, you can add a sprinkler hose as part of the outdoor course!
At the end of your play time, reward your dog for a day well spent with a frozen doggie treat! You can serve your dog a pre-frozen Classic Kong that’s been filled with wet dog food or pumpkin; serve a small bowl of frozen blueberries and strawberries or watermelon; or prepare an ice-tray with no-salt chicken broth and give your dog an ice cube treat!