Tonight, as an extra special treat, Monique Williams of ShadowMe Dog Training has graciously agreed to share some of her tricks for making summer fun (and safe!) for our furry family members. Indy is a recent graduate of her Best Friends 101 class, and I don’t know what I would have done without her! Enjoy!
Summer is in full-swing here in the South—school has been out for over a month now and every single parent of a school-aged child has already heard the dreaded words, “I’m bored!” Even my dogs seem to be uttering those dreaded words as well—the Smooth Collie puppies (now nearly 3 years old, but perpetual pups to me, their human mom) seem to be cruising the house and yard looking for mischief. My human teenagers are easy to occupy—tell them to call a friend, send them to the pool, or suggest that they clean their room and TaDa! The summer induced boredom quickly disappears! But what to do for the canine kids?
Summer enrichment activities for our canine kids can be as much fun for us as for them. A filled kiddy pool is the answer to my Border Collie’s dreams. He loves watching soccer balls and tennis balls floating by in the water. The pool is also handy for cleaning off balls which have gotten too dirty for even his mouth. Finally, when he gets too hot from herding his soccer ball under the canopy of backyard trees, he flops fully into the pool himself, napping with his head resting on the edge.
If your dog has never tried a kiddy pool before, pique his interest by playing in it yourself when you fill it the first time. Laughing and carrying on as if you have never had a better time may be enough for him to try it for himself. Try floating a few of his favorite toys in the pool as an added enticement. Remember bobbing for apples when you were a kid? The canine version is bobbing for hotdogs—your pooch will thank you for it!
The Smooth Collie siblings are largely uninterested in the kiddy pool. At most, they incorporate it as an obstacle in their high-speed chase games. They endlessly chase butterflies through the yard by day, moving on to chase the fireflies at dusk. Boredom busters for them (when the butterflies don’t cooperate…) include kibble searches through the yard…I scatter a cup or two of kibble mixed with a few other favorite treats through the grassy part of the yard. The nose-work search for kibble lasts long after the last morsel has been found and they enter the house exhausted and with a certain primal satisfaction after hunting for their food.
Ten years-old this month, Bandit is the Rough Collie elder statesman of the group. He would never consider getting his carefully groomed white paws wet or muddy in the pool—or worse, look like he was playing with the Border Collie. A little too stiff now to participate in the fly-by’s of the smoothie siblings, he now acts as the playground monitor, standing safely to the side of their improvised racetrack, barking his warnings to stop having so much fun.
Even though his body shows the unmistakable signs of his mature years, his mind is still as sharp as ever and he too appreciates some of the fun activities summer can provide. Bandit’s favorite summer treat is a giant block of ice—not any block of ice, but a lovingly prepared block filled with doggie delights. Premier Pet Products offers what to Bandit is sheer canine summer delight—the Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker. http://www.kooldogz.com/
With a deep bucket and specially designed stainless steel stand, the Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker is a summer home run for almost any dog. Fill the bucket with water and your dog’s favorite treats for hours of canine fun. Bandit’s favorite recipe is absolute doggie decadence:
Low-Sodium Beef or Chicken Bouillon—enough to give the ice just a bit of color and flavor
Dollops of Peanut Butter
Dollops of Evo canned dog food
MilkBone Original Treats (the ones that look like miniature hotdogs—referred to as “Doggie Crack” at our house)
The Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker stand is staked into a shady spot in our yard—conveniently located near several windows for the humans’ viewing pleasure. When unmolded onto the stand, Bandit’s favorite Ice Treat Recipe honestly looks horrible and inedible by human standards, but it is literally pooch Nirvana. Bandit will stand for hours over his prize, licking the ice and chewing through particularly tasty sections. The other pups are not allowed to share in this bounty with him, so our recommendation is to purchase more than one Ice Treat Maker if you are a multiple dog household. Lower calorie versions of Bandit’s favorite treat might include other goodies such as sliced apples, bananas, spoonfuls of canned pumpkin, or even kongs, tennis balls, and other chew toys—anything your dog loves really.
Take some time this summer to enjoy all the season has to offer you and your canine family members--run through the sprinklers with the pooches, splash in the kiddy pool and bob for hotdogs, or sit down with a frozen summer concoction while your pooch enjoys a frozen treat made especially for him!
A very special THANK YOU to Monique Williams of ShadowMe Dog Training for taking the time to share these great tips with us! For more about Monique and her dog training classes visit her website here. If you enjoyed her tips, please leave a comment below!
Until the next time…I’ll be shopping for a kiddie pool for Indy!