Written by Melissa Viera
I think we are all excited for summer after this long winter! Like most dogs, my dog Riley prefers to be included in the fun. He especially likes to come along for ice cream, and get a chance to cool off in the ocean. I always keep some frozen Kongs and similar toys stuffed in the freezer so he can enjoy them in the warmer months. One of his favorite summer games is bobbing for biscuits!
Summer is especially fun for dog owners because it is a great time for involving your dog in many of the summer cookouts, outings and activities. The training list below was created with summer in mind. Along with the basic obedience skills, these simple skills can be very useful for summertime.
1. Muddy paws? Practice handling and wiping your dog’s paws while they are in a calm standing position. They can learn to stand still and even enjoy having their paws cleaned. No more muddy battles at the door!
2. If you plan on bringing your dog along for picnics and family cookouts teaching them to settle on a mat will be a useful skill. When your dog needs some down-time they can relax on their mat. Sometimes I also call mats “focus stations” because it can bring an excited or distracted dog back to a calm focused state.
3. Has anyone in your family ever dropped a plate of food at the family cook-out? Of course food ends up on the ground sometimes! Teach a leave-it with your dog to prevent them from picking up food they shouldn't have.
4. Now is the time to improve, or brush up on your dog’s greeting habits. Instead of jumping up to say hello teach your dog to sit. When they want attention they must first sit politely. Your friends and family will appreciate it!
5. Checking your dog daily for ticks, parasites, burrs, and sticks is especially important as the weather warms up, and they spend more time playing outside. Practice having calm time with your dog and teaching them to lie in a relaxed position on their sides. This cuts down on the time you spend combing and checking their coat.
What types of activities will you do with your dog this summer?