What is it about summer? As winter draws to an icy close and spring streaks by in a haze of cold rain, I dream about summer: Reading on the patio with an ice-cold glass of lemonade, while the boys wrestle in the freshly-mowed grass. Long dog walks through town, through the park, and weekend afternoon hikes. Sitting outside the farmer’s market, sipping iced tea, while the boys play with the other dogs. Ah, bliss.
Then summer finally arrives, and… how did it get so HOT?! We can’t take long walks through town because it’s so humid, Lucas overheats in about 5 minutes. Afternoon hikes? Forget it! We’ll all have sunstroke before we reach the trail head. And the farmer’s market? That blacktop is unforgiving on the pads of their feet. Not to mention the sudden, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that have been sneaking up on us, knocking out the power, and flooding our backyard.
So, turns out summer isn’t as blissful as I always imagine during the depths of winter. Stuck inside with heat advisories and flash-flood warnings, how do you keep your dog busy, entertained, and exercised? Here are 10 ways I’ve been trying to beat the heat with Emmett and Lucas:
- Hide-and-seek: I send the boys to their beds and tell them to “wait.” Then I run and hide somewhere in the house. I yell out, “Find me!” and they sprint around the house, each trying to be the first one to get to me.
- Interactive toys: Kong, Busy Buddy, Buster Cube… they’re all getting a work-out this summer!
- Short early-morning or late-evening walks. Where we are, it’s actually light out until about 9:15 pm. Even though it’s still hot and humid then, it’s not as hot and humid, so short, 15-minute walks take it out of them.
- Ice cream!
- Snuggle with your pups to watch a dog-friendly movie. I recently had the opportunity to watch a preview copy of “You Lucky Dog,” a Hallmark Channel original movie staring Natasha Henstridge. It’s the story of a woman who moves back to her small town after her mother’s funeral. She tries to help her brother run the family farm by adopting a Border Collie named Lucky to work the sheep. In typical Hallmark-movie fashion, the story is a heartwarming tale that is definitely family-friendly. It premiers this Saturday, June 26 at 8 p.m on the Hallmark Channel.
- Teach a new trick or behavior. We’ve been working on taking turns. I put Emmett on his bed and say, “Lucas’ turn!” Then I work on simple sits, downs, stands, etc. with Lucas for a minute. Then I send Lucas to his bed and say, “Emmett’s turn!” and do a few repetitions. They’re normally so pushy and jealous with each other that I’m hoping this can help overcome that!
- Get creative, and make a postcard to End BSL! (Hehe! Had to sneak that one in!)
- Give your dog a massage.
- Unless your dogs are terrified of the sprinklers like mine are, setting up sprinklers or a kiddie pool can be a fun way for you and your dog to cool off!
- Soak plush toys or ropes in water and pop them in the freezer for a couple hours. Once they’re frozen, they take on new life as a cold, refreshing toy!
Any other ideas? What do you do with your dogs when it gets too hot or too stormy to be outside?