Summer is on its way, at least in some parts of the country, and as we start to meet in larger groups outdoors, and travel further afield, we are all looking forward to adventures with our canine companions.
But how do we make sure we all have lots of fun outside, while still staying safe and being on our best behaviour? We all know the treats are for all the good boys and girls...
As more people move around the country, park and hills, walks will be a lot busier than before. And that’s exciting, just think of all the new people, dogs, smells... It’s a sensory overload for our puppy pals. So if you let your dog off-lead, it’s really important their recall skills are good so they can avoid passing bikes, give space to non-doggy people, nervous dogs, and aren’t unwelcome guests at a stranger’s family picnic.
Some of our dogs absolutely love saying hello to strangers, and lots of people love that too. But even if a passerby is keen on their attention they might not want a trendy, new, muddy paw design on their jeans, or they may prefer your pup doesn’t plant a big smooch on the face of their newborn.
Make sure the person your dog is approaching wants to say hi and be able to recall your dog back quickly if the new found friendship isn’t mutual or your pup gets a little too close for comfort. Be sure to work on your dog greeting people with all four paws on the ground for starters, and professional training sessions can help with how to best make friends.
Making doggy buddies is the best thing ever for lots of pups, but some are less keen. Be mindful of dogs on leads or with ‘give me space’ jackets, collars or ribbons, as they might be a little nervous around your pup, and they may not want to play today. Even dogs that love other pups can get overwhelmed by large groups of dogs or people, so as walks get busier, make sure your dog is comfortable and put them on lead, or change route if needed.
Some dogs can get pretty excited when they find a picnic. All this food laid out on the ground, just here, for me to enjoy? No pup, sadly it’s not yours! But as their nose leads them straight towards a plate of pork pies, that’s when you find out how good their recall is!
If you have concerns about your dog helping themselves to a round of sandwiches, keeping them on a lead can be a good plan, while you spend more time practising their recall at quieter times or in less busy areas. If you’re having your own picnic, enrichment toys can be a great way to entertain your pup while you enjoy a relaxing bite of lunch.
Whether online or in-person, training classes can be a great way to develop and improve recall and meeting new people skills, as well as many more top tips.
When the weather heats up, always try to remember our dogs are wearing fur coats, have bare feet and they can’t sweat, so it’s fair to say they find the hot weather much harder than we do!
Dogs with shorter faces can get warm quicker than those with longer noses, but just because your dog has a longer face doesn’t mean they’re immune to heatstroke. Keep your dog cool by giving them plenty of cool water, sitting in the shade, keeping exercise levels low and avoiding going out in the hottest part of the day.
A lot of dogs love lying in the sun or chasing the ball for hours even if they’re too hot so it’s important to recognise the signs of them being too warm. Check out our vet advice for information on keeping your dog safe in the heat.
We’re all looking forward to lots of outside fun this summertime with our dog. To make walks relaxing and enjoyable, good recall skills and use of the lead can really reduce the stress levels. We can imagine it already, breathing in the fresh air, lying on a picnic blanket, sun in the sky, listening to the birds in the tree and our dog chomping on a sausage rol… oh wait, no, drop it… time to get training!