Click and Cool: Karen Pryor’s Tips for Summer Fun with Your Pet

Filed in

Finally—summertime and summer weather! Enjoy the relaxed pace and the increased opportunities for being outdoors, but don’t forget to keep your pets comfortable and safe in the changing conditions.

Summer safety

There are many sensible ideas for keeping pets safe in the summer. You’ll want to consider:

Summer dog in sunglasses
  • Heat
    Be sure to monitor the outdoor temperature and the indoor temperature (homes, cars), and watch out for hot pavements, too. Early or late in the day is the best time for a stroll with your pet when the temps are scorching. To cool down fast, try a water game or toys like Nina Ottosson’s Dog Magic puzzle, which can be filled with a mixture of treats and water and then frozen. If you are lucky enough to cool down near the water, try Float & Fetch Bumper Toys or an Aqua KONG.
  • Travel safety
    How about a Car Safe Harness for those trips to your favorite vacation spots? Whether it’s a cross-country tour or a quick jaunt to the town park, be sure to buckle up your pet for every trip.
  • Medication lapses
    Don’t let looser schedules lead to slips with your pet’s medications. Stay up-to-date with routine vaccines, flea and tick prevention, and other individualized prescriptions. For added protection against ticks and flying bugs, try an Insect Shield Bandanna, too!
  • Yard-care products
    Especially if you want to Train Your Dog to Say in Your Yard, think ahead before deciding how to beautify your property. Gardening and lawn-maintenance products can be dangerous, even, fatal, for pets.
  • Storms or scary moments
    Anticipate summer thunderstorms and fireworks displays—and your dog’s potential fright—by having on hand a Thundershirt. This novel wraparound garment calms dogs, providing a sense of safety and comfort in the event of loud storms or sparklers, or when other anxiety-inducing events occur.
  • Animals in the wild
    Other animals will be more visible in the good weather. Train respectful behavior; don’t let your dog chase or harass birds or squirrels. At the same time, watch out for predatory animals that could pose a danger to your own pet.
  • Humans in the wild!
    Two-legged creatures will also be out strolling and exploring the many recreational options available in summer. Knowledge about dog-bite prevention will provide confidence and peace of mind when you encounter small children (or more aggressive dogs). A recent interview with Joan Orr, Taking a Bite Out of Dog Bites, provides useful information and further resources.

Summer school?

The sunny weather, and longer days, can create the ideal opportunity to move forward with clicker training. Are there any particular behaviors or tricks you have been hoping to train? Here’s your chance to Click Your Cat to Better Behavior, Teach Your Dog Left and Right, or, even, What? Train a Rabbit?.

How about taking up a brand-new sport? Start Running with Your Dog, try the new sport of K9 Nose Work, or introduce your dog, and yourself, to agility. Learning to go between, over, and under obstacles, and improving any and all communication skills, are valuable lessons for all of us in any season!

Merry months

For children especially, summer vacation is the long-awaited prize. At any age, reward yourself and your pet with some new toys and treats. Plan trips to the park and beach and take along new outdoor toys. (These outdoor sites are often perfect locations to start training that strong recall you need!) The store features many new playthings. Try an exciting treat dispenser, a new lightweight leash, or a toss toy like the Orbitron, a Frequent Flyer Fetch Toy, or the intriguing Turnup.

Karen Pryor’s idea of Summer Fun is gardening, studying the ways that animals play, or Summer Dreaming about the different manifestations of beauty—in any season. Whatever your favorite seasonal pastimes, make summer 2011 the best ever for your pets!