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Summer Activities to Enjoy With Your Dog

30/06/2014

Summer is just around the corner and there are more great activities than ever to enjoy with your dog. Exercise has many benefits for dogs and owners alike and the warmer weather makes it easy and enjoyable to get out in the fresh air together. Gone are the wet, gloomy days of winter, when neither of you particularly wanted to leave the house for that all important walk. There’s something for everyone, whether you fancy making new friends as well as trying a new activity, or simply want to find something new to make the most of spending quality time with your canine buddy, there’s a dog activity out there for you.

Dog Agility Class

Canicross – Also called CaniX, this is an increasingly popular sport for dog owners to enjoy with their dogs. The essence lies in training your dog to pull at the lead whilst you run behind and it can be experienced individually or as a competitive sport at events, which makes it a great opportunity to socialise with your dog too. It is recommended that dogs wear a special harness for the sport to differentiate between being allowed to pull on the lead whilst running and needing to stay at heel on a normal outing. Similarly owners often wear a waist belt to attach the lead to, which reduces strain on arms, shoulders and neck from holding the lead. The lead itself contains sections of bungee cord to absorb any jerkiness.

Bikejoring РRelated to Canicross, bikejoring  (see the CaniX link above) is another dryland, dog mushing activity (also called harnessing or pulling activity), which have evolved from the winter activities in snowier climes of dogsledding and skijoring, and is therefore a great one to try in the summer months. Offering good exercise for both owner and dog it relies on a certain amount of training and a good, trusting, owner-dog relationship. Again, it can be practised individually or competitively in the company of others. Alternative modes of transport for the owner include scooters and rollerblades.

Flyball Dog Competition

Rally obedience – A relatively new sport to the UK, rally obedience (or rally-O) was started in the US by Charles Kramer 10 years ago. It is a sport based on obedience skills, but involves a course with signs at intervals instructing the owner-dog team in what the dog needs to perform before they can move on. All competitors start with the same number of points and lose points along the way for not performing the tricks and also for harsh handling and correction. It provides a huge amount of mental stimulation for dogs, which is just as important as physical exercise, and reinforces a close bond between owner and dog.

piknik3

Flygility – A combination of the popular flyball and agility classes, flygility is a great way to socialise with your dog, which also provides physical and mental exercise for both of you.

Geocaching – The increasingly popular sport of geocaching is often described as a giant, outdoors game of hide and seek. Participants navigate to GPS coordinates and then try to find a geocache hidden there. The container holds a logbook and sometimes an item, which can be taken as long as you leave something of equal or greater value. It isn’t necessary to have a GPS unit to join in, you can download a GPS App for a phone. Geocaching is fun enjoyed as a group, but can also be enjoyed as a solo competitor, allowing you to get out and about to explore your local area and further afield with your dog.

Courtesy: Michael McCullough

These are just a few of the many activities that dog owners all over the world can take part in. There are many places to go to find out about dog activity groups. The Kennel Club is a good place to start and holds a comprehensive list of dog societies and groups. You can also find out by searching online, inquiring on dog forums, at the veterinary surgery and at local dog charity centres.

It is important to remember to take plenty of water for both of you when exercising and see your vet if your dog is limping or showing a reluctance to jump up. Ensuring that your dog eats a nutritionally balanced dog food that is specifically tailored to sporting dogs, such as Gilbertson & Page’s Heritage or Dr John range, is particularly important. A dog food containing extracts to maintain bone, joint and ligament health will be beneficial for any dog undertaking high levels of physical exercise.

The message is really that there’s no excuse for not getting out during the summer months and giving your dog lots of exercise and mental stimulation. The hardest thing is simply choosing what to do from the myriad of new canine activities that keep emerging.