Activities For Large Dogs On Hot Days

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Introduction

As the weather warms up and summertime heat waves hit, exercising outside isn't something you or your dog may enjoy much.  However, your dog is unable to tell you they're had enough of the heat, and you must be vigilant about your dog's health and safety.  You may be tempted to stay indoors in the air conditioning, watching television when the temperatures rise to blisteringly high ranges, but just like you, your dog still needs their daily dose of activity.  The good news is, you can still have fun and exercise your dog with some heat-safe activities during the hot summer months.  Even large dogs, who are often more susceptible to heat-related conditions and illness, can have their fair share of fun in and out of the sun.

Indoor Training

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Hot Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Trainer items (optional)
Activity description

You've checked the forecast and even go so far as to stick your head out the door, and you realize no one will be happy in that heat.  Deciding to stay indoors during hot days is perfectly fine, and you can work on training activities indoors instead. Your goal on hot days should be to keep your indoor-bound dog happy and engaged because boredom might lead to bad behaviors, anxiety, or depression.  Training activities are easy and free since you probably already have treats on hand.  You may want to use training devices, if you have them, like hand clickers, but these are not necessary.  Simple tricks are also a good way to engage your dog and prevent boredom.  

Step
1
Get off the couch
You see your dog is getting restless or perhaps they are sleeping far more than normal. It's always best to stay ahead of their boredom and anxiety by engaging their minds, so it's time to get off the couch and have some fun with your dog. Make sure you have some treats on hand and gauge your dog's willingness to train with you. If they are not receptive to trick and reinforcement training, you might have to settle for some other indoor activities.
Step
2
Choose your training
Once you've decided to engage your dog's mind, you should have a pretty good idea of the lessons you want to practice. Space inside might be limited so stationary training, like sit, shake, ears up, or something along those lines might be the best choices. You can also work on reinforcing good behaviors, like not reacting to the doorbell.
Step
3
Have fun and know when to quit
Dog training should never feel tedious, though sometimes it might when your dog is particularly hard-headed. Some dogs make it clear they are not feeling a training session, but most dogs will show signs of fatigue after 20 to 30 minutes. You need to entice your pooch to engage in training activities through soothing tones and treats. Treats are the most important part of training because you want to reinforce the correct behavior and teach your dog what you want. Your dog only wants to please you, so be patient and enjoy your time with them. Also, learn to recognize your dog's mental fatigue levels and end your training at the appropriate time. You can always return to the training session later.
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Frozen Treats

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Hot Day
Cheap
Easy
5 - 10 min
Items needed
Frozen pupsicle containers
Pupsicle recipe
Activity description
You and the kids both love frozen treats on hot sunny days so why not give your dog that same delight?  The difference is, you're not going to give your furry friend a sweet treat made for people, but a "pupsicle" treat made especially for your large dog.  You can find pupsicle trays at many pet stores, or you can buy a frozen puzzle toy that does the same thing.  If you want to create something quickly, you can use a single serve yogurt cup too.  For this activity, you will need 24 to wait 24 hours before the frozen treat is fully ready and it's best if you let your dog enjoy this treat in the shade of a tree outside rather than in your living room.  There are many pupsicle recipes available online that use common ingredients, such as chicken or beef stock, carrots, yogurt, or peanut butter.  You know your dog's tastes well enough to choose the recipe that's best, or you can experiment with different ones to find your dog's favorite treat.
Step
1
Find a pupsicle recipe
Pupsicle recipes can vary from semi-sweet flavors that use bananas and peanut butter to savory flavors with chicken stock and carrots. Find a recipe that you think your dog will enjoy and locate a large enough tray. You can find pupsicle trays for large dogs in most pet stores but you can always improvise with single-serve yogurt cups too. Smaller icecube trays might be too small for your large dog who will gobble down these treats. You want your dog to take their time and enjoy the game.
Step
2
Make your pupsicles the day before
Before this activity can begin, you have to make the treats. Freezing larger containers takes more time, so give your pupsicles 24 hours to freeze through completely. Unlike people popsicles, you don't want to add a stick to these pupsicles. Sticks are potentially hazardous and serve no purpose. Once ready, you can give your dog their tasty treat outside.
Step
3
Find some shade and enjoy
After 24 hours of preparation, your dog's pupsicles are ready to be enjoyed. Bring your dog outside and if it's not too terribly hot, play with them outside for a few minutes to get their heart rate up and engage their minds; but don't overdo it in the heat. Once your dog is ready to settle down to the treat, grab it out of the freezer and set your dog up in a shady area outside. Your dog will immediately settle in to unlock and savor the goodness you prepared for them.
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Pool Splashing

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Hot Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Kiddie pool
Fresh water
Water-safe pet toys
Activity description

It is hot outside, and your dog is itching to play, or nature is calling.  Instead of ignoring your hound's needs, take them outside and let them run around for a few minutes while you fill up your dog's wading pool.  Wading pools, or kiddie pools, are relatively inexpensive and you can find them at most home improvement stores or box retailers around summertime.  Get a small one and designate it as the dog's pool.  You never want to fill the pool up too high and always supervise your dog while they are playing in the pool. Pool time activities are great for hot, sunny days but try to avoid the very hottest parts of the day between noon and 3:00 p.m.  Aside from the kiddie pool, you will also need access to cool, fresh water to fill the pool and some of your dog's favorite water-safe toys.  This is a cooling activity that should have your dog excited, especially if your big dog is a water dog.  

Step
1
Prepare your pool
You can find kiddie pools fairly cheap at most hardware stores or retail box stores. When you want to have some fun in the sun with your large dog, start by bringing them outside to run around a little bit while you fill the kiddie pool with fresh, cool water. The outdoor activity will raise your dog's heart rate and they may be more likely to splash around.
Step
2
Invite your dog to splash
If pool time is old hat to your dog, they will quickly jump inside and start splashing around. However, some dogs may be leery of the kiddie pool. Never force your dog into the pool. You can splash around a little yourself or play with your dog's favorite water-safe toys in the pool to entice your pooch to jump in the water. You don't want your dog to think this is the dreaded bath time. Instead, you want your dog to voluntarily jump in and cool down.
Step
3
Drain and dry off time
After about 15 minutes of splashing around, take your dog out of the pool. You want to get them out before you start draining the pool, just in case the activity frightens your dog. Using a fresh towel, gently towel dry your pooch and prevent them from rolling around in the grass or dirt. If you notice your dog is shivering before the 15 minutes is up, get them out of the pool sooner. You want your dog to be dry enough to go back inside. This will prevent your dog from getting the furniture wet as well as feeling too cold, once back inside.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hide-and-go-seek Inside

Hide-and-go-seek is a fun game for many dogs.  It might be easier if you have a second or third person to help your dog "count" while you go hide though.

Take a Walk Inside

Your house might not be big enough to get a good walk in with your large dog, but most pet stores are big enough to explore.  These stores encourage pet visits, and they are usually air-conditioned.

Conclusion

Hot days and large dog don't go well together, especially if your dog has a shorter nose and snout.  The good news is, there are plenty of fun activities that you can still do outside, provided you monitor your large dog's heat and exhaustion levels.  If outdoor activities are an absolute no-go, there are still plenty of indoor activities you can do to keep your hound happy and engaged.