Friday Fun: Summer Yard Play

Summers are made for lots of fun outside play!  However, depending upon where you live, it may or may not be a good thing to be outside much.  Here in East Tennessee, our summers are very hot and very humid!  We always have to concern ourselves with the heat index, so that we can keep our furry friends safe!

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Dogs have a very inefficient cooling system.  They sweat from their paws and by panting, and that’s it.  So if they are on hot pavement, it’s going to feel a whole lot like sitting in 95 degree temperatures with a fan on you blowing hot air. You’re not going to feel very cool, and neither do your dogs!

A good solution to that is providing some water fun for your dogs!  You can easily find hard shell little kids wading pools for your dogs to give them a fun watering hole!  In my area, they typically cost less than $20.00, so it’s really affordable summer fun!  Ice cubes float, as well as tennis balls, and some other toys.  My Corgis really loved playing in their swimming pool! My guess is your kids will have all kinds of fun enjoying the pool with their dogs!

Some dogs enjoy playing in an old fashioned lawn sprinkler as well.  Our Corgis would bite the water or jump over the sprinkler with the biggest smiles on their faces! Another similar suggestion is just using a garden hose for your dogs to play with you.  One of my clients exercises his German Shepherd by shooting water in his yard for his dog to chase!  Of course, he makes sure to douse her and let her bite the water, which keeps her cool and gives her extra fun.

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Wouldn’t you know it, but Rugby is definitely a land lover.  He wants nothing at all to do with water unless he’s drinking it from a bowl.  When we got him a swimming pool, his eyes lit up and we just knew he would love it.  Not at all.  He simply thought it was the most amazing water bowl he had ever seen!

So, as per usual, I always have to put on my thinking cap when it comes to Rugby!  I play some of our favorite inside games…outside.  We can play “Find the Cookie” or “The Shell Game” on the patio, and it feels like a whole new game since the environment is so very different.  It also has some interesting competing smells for Rugby too!

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But what about doing an Easter egg hunt with your dog? You can use the traditional plastic eggs that open up to hide treats or kibble.  These can be hidden in your yard or on the patio when your dog isn’t looking, and you can send him out to find eggs!  One word of caution for you!  Be sure that your dog doesn’t eat any part of the plastic egg!  When I’ve done this with Rugby, he’s been very good about just getting the egg open to get the goodies inside, and is ready to move on to the next egg.  The great thing about these types of games, is that they involve thinking and problem solving, so you’re actually burning some mental energy when it’s really too warm to do much physical exercise with your dogs.

So try something new this weekend, and get outside with your dogs and enjoy a game or two with them!

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