Dogs that are exposed to a variety of situations tend to have less anxiety and can be less timid.
- Buy a kiddie pool and invite friends over for a pooch pool party (and barbecue for the humans).
- Find a restaurant with a dog-friendly patio, bring a book and order a summer drink. You’ll be amazed at all the people who will stop to say hello and pet Fluffy; it’s a great way to meet people!
- Organize a trial hike appropriate for your dog’s fitness level and breed. Be cautious not to go in the heat of the day and be sure to bring a doggie water receptacle for breaks.
- Take your dog camping with you, bonus points for letting them sleep in the tent!
- Go to a lake or other safe body of water for an afternoon of swimming. Many breeds other than retrievers love the water, see if your dog is one of them! Consider a canine lifejacket if you’re boating with your dog.
- Look into local canine dog shows, contests or field trials that you and your best friend could enter. You might train with a Frisbee or for agility, or even just regular obedience training. This is a great way to bond with your pet and teach them some impressive new tricks.
- If you have a mild-mannered and gentle dog, look into local hospitals or nursing homes to see if there is a need for a therapy dog. A visit from a friendly furry pet is sure to bring a smile to less fortunate or ill people.
- For small dogs, a bike pull trailer meant for children can be easily converted to accommodate dogs, allowing you to take the littlest family members along for leisurely summer bike rides. Be sure your pet is safely harnessed in so they can’t leap out and always avoid roadways with dogs.
- Check out the local dog park. Always ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations when frequenting high dog-trafficked areas.
- Take a scenic car ride with the windows (partially) down. If your dog loves to stick her head out the window, consider getting her “doggles,” which are canine goggles designed to protect eyes and shield from the sun as well.
It’s proven that people who include their dogs in their everyday lives tend to forge better bonds and longer lasting friendships with them. Dogs that are exposed to a variety of situations tend to have less anxiety and can be less timid. By getting outdoors and including your furry ‘children’ in family outings this summer you’ll be sure to make lasting memories while also helping your dog to be the best companion possible.
Ann Platt is owner of Pets Are Inn, an award-winning pet lodging business in Edina.