Summer Training Tips for Hot Weather
Training in Hot Weather
In our last newsletter, we provided ideas for training in rainy or cold weather. Many of those ideas work for hot weather too, so here are a few things to remember.
How hot is too hot? Most references on training in hot weather indicate that if it’s 90 degrees or above, it’s too hot to walk your dog outside. In the hot summer months, it’s best to walk early in the morning and later in the evening and always carry water for you and your dog. Likewise, pavement (asphalt, cement, etc.) can easily burn a dog’s paws. If it’s too hot for you to touch it, it’s past being too hot for your pup! See below a way to train your dog to wear booties.
What is heatstroke? If a dog overheats (temp. above 106), it can get heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include sweating, drooling, rapid heartbeat, wobbly walking, dark red gums, and vomiting. If you notice your dog is not doing well outside, move it to a shady place or inside. Offer cool water to drink and sponge cool water all over the body, multiple times, to slowly cool it off. Note: cool water, NOT ice cold. And call your vet immediately!
My dog is cranky: A raised cot for your dog is best for sleeping in the heat. It also turns out that many dogs act differently in the hot months as opposed to temperate weather. They can get cranky, eat less, and generally not be your cheerful friend. Think about those things you can do inside to protect your pup from the heat and still have fun. Continue to groom them regularly, keeping an eye out for foxtails, insect bites, and the like. And continue to train inside, just like you did in rainy weather. Tricks, obedience, more tricks!
Teach your dog to wear booties, to protect those paws! A few simple things I learned the first time I failed to teach one of my dogs to wear booties (yes, he kicked all four of them off in the very hot parking lot of the hospital where we volunteered and never wore them again).
- If you are ordering online, take the measurements carefully so you get the right size.
- When they arrive, let your dog sniff them and get to know them.
Name them! I taught my service dog Dexter to wear his booties successfully (no chasing them in the parking lot!) and used the cue “let’s put on your Booties!” I still use it every time!
- When you first put them on, get on the floor with your dog and be gentle. It takes a while to get a technique that works for you both.
- Help your dog up if needed and walk a few steps using high value treats to encourage walking.
- Once the dog’s walking, take it on a fast walk through the house, down and back all the hallways, into rooms, up and down stairs. Make it fun, and praise, praise, praise. Do this several times so your dog gets the hang of it, and you will be happy you’ve made life more comfortable for you both when coming and going from therapy, facility, and service dog work.
Here’s an article on training in summer from Arizona Dog Sports!