Summer musings on dog safety, activities, heat, bonding

Abby Bird


Summer musings on dog safety, activities, heat, bonding

As the summer gradually moves toward its final month I find myself musing about many things, not all related.

Lost dogs. It seems to me that during the summer there are many more postings for lost dogs.

Accidents certainly can happen to all of us, but my concerns center around the following:

• kids are home and they have not been taught how to guard against the dog following them out the door;

• dogs are left with sitters, either in their home or your own, and they are not always aware of the dog's escape behaviors;

• dogs are outside more often and escape from yards;

• visitors to the area bring their dogs and the dogs are unfamiliar with their surroundings and take off;

• too many dogs are allowed off leash that shouldn't be;

• dogs getting scared of noises and try to run away.

Many of the dogs that get lost have no ID or no microchip, which makes it harder to find their home if they do get found. Simply said, more precautions need to be taken during the summer.

Activities. If you are blessed to live here, there are so many activities that you might enjoy with your dog - the Linear Trail in Bluffton, boating and the sandbar on the May River, the beaches in the early morning or evening when you are allowed to have dogs there, hiking in the western part of the State, public or private dog parks.

However, please be aware your dog can overheat quickly even at the beach and certainly if they are active outside. Cool mats, water and shade are essential.

Too much activity, even if they want to continue, can cause them to have heat stroke. Too much time in the water, and they might drink or inhale water, which can make them sick.

Check the heat put out by the sidewalks, and if too hot for you it is too hot for their pads. Walk in the early morning or the cooler part of the evening.

Let dogs play in a small kiddie pool in the yard if they like.

Bonding and training. The summer is a fabulous bonding time for families and their dogs. Some even adopt or get new dogs and pups during the summer, since they have more time to spend with them.

Training is more than just about teaching your dog to be well behaved and well mannered. It is truly about how the dog responds to each family member in terms of whether the dog listens to each person equally.

Having your dog learn from you cements the bond you have. Contrary to what you might think, bonding isn't just about love; it's about the entirety of your relationship and the respect your dog shows you.

Take some time this summer to thoughtfully consider your dog's safety and needs, and you should have a full and long-lasting life together.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. AlphaDogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com