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Outdoor Adventures—with Food!

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Excerpted from Making the Most of Mealtime by KPA CTP Rebecca Lynch

What are your dog’s favorite activities? For many dogs, the favorites are spending time outdoors and mealtime! Why not combine these canine pastimes and offer your dog mental stimulation on hot lazy summer days?

When the temperatures soar, cool off your off with a treat-dispensing “pupsicle!” Fill a small plastic bucket with water and throw in bits of meat, treats, KONGS stuffed with peanut butter, or canned or raw food. Freeze until solid, pop the frozen block out of the container, and place it outside on a cookie sheet. Your dog will enjoy chewing and licking the ice, discovering tasty treats and toys as the ice melts. Depending on the size of the ice block and the heat of the day, this treat can provide hours of fun for your pup!

If your dog enjoys treat-dispensing toys inside, he will love them outside as well. Many toys are durable enough for outdoor play. Grass, trees, rocks, and other elements of nature can provide a more challenging surface to play on than your carpet or wood floors.

Another great way to feed your dog outside is to tap into his wild side. Dogs are a predator species, and predators spend time in the wild hunting for food. Dogs instinctively enjoy seeking food, one of the reasons why dogs respond so well to clicker training. They have found a way to seek food from humans. While a backyard can be a boring place, you can easily organize a treasure hunt! Scatter your dog’s entire meal across the yard (kibble works best, of course). Your dog will spend hours looking for every morsel. Food tossing is a great way to give a dog an alternative to barking, fence running, digging, and chewing your lawn furniture.

Your dog loves to eat, and loves to find ways to find food. When you move beyond the bowl and bring feeding outdoors, your dog can enjoy the best of both worlds!