A few days ago I was in Buford working with a new Home Dog Training client and his English Bulldog named Floyd. As with most English Bulldogs, Floyd’s issues did not focus around high energy, jumping, or rushing the front door. Floyd was always very distracted when walking, would not pay attention, and would never come when called. We focused on these issues and Floyd began to respond to our client’s commands. Needless to say, our client was very happy with what he was seeing.
As with most summer days in North Georgia, it was a pretty warm day. I had started the lesson at about nine in the morning and moved quite quickly to the walking issues. I wanted to get them done before the “heat of the day” really began to set in. I also set up the exercise so that I explained everything we needed to do while we were inside where it was cool and air conditioned. When we went outside, we got right to work and were back inside to continue with other issues within about 30 to 45 minutes.
I explained that I structured the lesson because of the summer weather and Floyd’s tendency to easily overheat. My client thought about that for a second and then exclaimed “Wow, I never thought about that! I never worried about the heat and my dog.” He then asked if I had any tips for him. Floyd was still a puppy and this was his first “Georgia Summer”. I was happy to provide more detail…
As we tell all our clients, now that it is getting into our hot season, we have to be a little watchful when we take our dogs outside to play or for their normal walk. Dehydration and overexertion can easily set in far faster now than in the cooler, winter months. Here are a few, great suggestions to follow for the summer season:
- Focus most of your dog’s “outside activities” during the morning or evening hours. Even at these times, limit their outside time to about 45 minutes. If it is abnormally cool (70 degrees or less) and overcast, you may extend the time to up to 1 hour.
- Although I just told you not to do it, if you can only take your dog out in the “noon day sun”, limit his outside time to no more than 30 minutes.
- Always try to keep your dog in the shade and in a breeze. Staying out of the sun and experiencing air movement will allow him to cool down.
- Make sure your dog walks on the grass and not the sidewalk or street. Remember the old saying “It is so hot you can cook an egg on the sidewalk? Next time you are out in the heat of the day, take your shoes off and walk on the sidewalk and street. That sidewalk or street can be a lot hotter than you would think!
- Get a “doggie canteen” for your dog when you go for a walk. Stop often and give your dog a drink.
- If you see your dog start to slow down, it is time to come inside.
- When you come inside, stay with your dog for 10 to 15 minutes just to make sure he had not become overheated.
Remember the old saying “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun“. If you must, take precautions. If you go out in the hotter times of the day, remember dogs cool off in a different manner than humans. What may seem fine to us could be very hot to them.
Different breeds react differently to the heat of the day. The normal rule of thumb is that dogs with shorter snouts will be at a higher risk to heatstroke than dogs with longer snouts. Breeds like English Bull Dogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Chows, Boxers, and Shih Tzus should be restricted to outside activities in the morning or evening when it is hot.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over sixteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.