Summer just began, but you and your dog are already bored. Your dog has already played with their favorite toys, and they’re tired of fetch. With the warm weather, it’s the perfect time to take your dog outside and try something new. Try these fun dog sports and activities this summer!
If your dog loves to race ahead on their leash, they’ll be great at canicross – it’s like dog sledding without the sled. You’ll just need a sturdy harness, a bungee leash and a waist belt. This allows your dog to lead you, while the bungee leash absorbs any shock. Teach your dog commands, “left, right, stop, and slow down” so you can easily navigate trails together. You may be able to find a local canicross group, or you can run with friends.
A flirt pole is essentially a long stick attached to a string with a toy at the end of it. It’s a great way to play with energetic dogs. By dragging a toy along the ground, you can activate your dog’s play drive. It’s not difficult to make a homemade flirt pole with any long stick, toy and string, but you can also purchase a professional flirt pole if your dog needs something more sturdy.
Every dog can participate in agility; it’s not just for Border Collies. Even very small dogs can go through most obstacles, and dogs who are less active can go through a modified course. You can find a local agility class to join, and even sign up for competitions. However, it’s just as fun to create your own obstacle course in your backyard for your dog to practice agility.
Teaching your dog to balance on objects helps them develop core strength and body awareness. You can use FitPAWS Paw Pods or any safe, stable items around your house. Aim to touch your dog as little as possible during balance training; they’ll learn more easily if they’re able to balance at their own pace, and some dogs find it stressful to be placed into different positions.
Dock diving is becoming a popular sport in the dog world; you may have seen it online or on TV. The owner throws a toy off the dock, and their dog jumps in, competing for the longest jump. Some dogs can jump over 30 feet! You can go to a dock diving facility like Dallas Air Dogs to practice and watch other dogs dive.
Nosework is more of a sport than an activity, but it’s still lots of fun. It’s similar to training used with drug detection dogs. You can teach your dog to detect a scent, or just hide treats for them to find. Start indoors with few distractions, then try it outdoors to see if your dog can find scents over long distances.
Quick Tips For Summer Dog Sports:
- Prevent water intoxication. Dogs can drink too much water when they’re hot and thirsty, so only give them a few sips at a time, refreshing them every hour. Watch for excess water drinking at lakes and in pools.
- Let your dog rest on a cooling pad.
- Watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: reddened gums and tongue, excessive panting, unresponsiveness. Help your dog cool off before they get too hot.
- Not all dogs like water and not all are good at swimming. You may need to buy your dog a life jacket to keep them from drowning in a pool, ocean or lake.
What fun activities do you have planned for your dog this summer?