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Enjoying The Warm Summer Months With Your DogIt’s the time of year when most of us aren’t hunting but, we’re still enjoying the outdoors whether we are camping, hiking, swimming or just relaxing outside. Our sporting dogs enjoy this time of year and pick up on the enthusiasm that most of us have for the Summer months. When planning your activities it is nice to be able to include your dog. If you make it a priority to include him, he will be well rounded and less of a burden each time he is included. Although training during the warmer months is certainly important and should not be left out, enjoying your dog and growing your relationship is worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to the trust and companionship you can develop making him a better hunter when the season rolls around.
Learn From Other’s Mistakes
It is often too late once you are on vacation to train for certain situations. For example, we decided to take our six month old GSP to the lake for the weekend. The house where we were staying isn’t dog friendly on the inside but, outside is fine. Our dog had never slept outside. He sleeps in his kennel every night but, never has he slept outside in his kennel. The change in scenery was a bit daunting to him. He isn’t usually a nuisance barker but, he sure was on this trip! We did happen to have a bark collar with us and it did it’s job but, we put it on the temperament learning mode and at one point it got to the highest level of correction before he learned. Even though it did actually work, being a guest and trying it for the first time probably wasn’t the best idea.
Using a bark collar can save you from getting kicked out of a campground or other vacation spot. A dog doesn’t understand that a vacation is all about discovering new places, sites and sounds, he just knows that something is different and he needs to communicate that with you. Sometimes there are noises or other dogs and animals that he doesn’t encounter on a daily basis and it surprises you when he reacts by barking uncontrollably. Also, if he isn’t used to being kenneled or tied up then there is a great possibility that he will bark much more than usual.
Off Leash Hiking
One of our favorite pastimes is hiking. Hiking is great exercise for you and your dog. If you are able to hike in an area that allows your dog to be off leash then it is a great idea to use an e-collar to maintain some control over your dog and the distance he is allowed to roam. Even in areas where your dog is allowed to be off leash can be daunting when you approach another hiker with or without a dog and you have no way of asserting any control. Training for off leash hiking is one of the easiest summer activities in which to train simply by walking your dog around your yard or house using the “come” or “here” command. Simply enforce the command with the collar. Your dog will usually catch on in no time. One of our favorite systems for off leash hiking is the Sportdog Field Trainer 425 it is simple to use and gives you enough bang for your buck. The Field Trainer 425 is a compact user friendly system and you can choose between 7 stimulation levels or choose to use the vibration alone. Both the collar and the transmitter are waterproof just in case either you or your dog need to take a swim to cool off.
Be Aware of The Heat
When the temperatures are on the rise you should keep your eyes open for signs that your dog is overheating. Even at temperatures of 65 degrees your dog can overheat even though you may feel like the air is cool enough your dog works harder than you do. He covers 3 to 4 times more distance in a walk than you do. Your dog doesn’t know when to quit, unlike you, he doesn’t know the symptoms and depends on you to make sure he stays cooled down. If you notice that your dog is panting excessively it is paramount that you get him cooled down immediately. Take him to the shade and give him water to drink. If your dog gets to the point of wobbling or seizures there is a really good chance that he won’t make it through.Your best bet is to cool him off quickly by either putting him in water or pouring water over him. You must take overheating seriously because an overheated dog can die pretty quickly if not cooled down fast enough.
Keep in mind that your dog needs even more hydration than you do. Just because you can go on a long walk without water doesn’t mean that he can. Not only does his body do more work than yours he doesn’t know how to tell you that he has reached the point of thirst or exhaustion and most sport dogs won’t stop working on their own.
Including your dog in your Summer activities has some of the best bonding benefits as long as you stay prepared and aware of what his body needs. Allowing him to be a part of the family will have great rewards when hunting season rolls around. Not only will he have a closer relationship with you, he will also remain in good shape and won’t lose his muscle and endurance.