9 Summer Activities for Fido – Sports to Help Keep Your Dog in Top Shape

Summer is a favorable season for spending time in the great outdoors! But, it can flash away like a day without having spent time with your furry friend. Most times, it a gamble to choose the type of activity that will keep Fido happy and exercised at the same time. However, play is a vitally important element in a dog’s development. So, while choosing activities can be quite a challenge, it can get easier if you understand your dog well. You can tell what it likes doing and incorporate that into other outdoor activities. The following are nine cool activities to help keep Fido in top form this summer.

Couple camping with dog

Bring your family pet along with you on your adventures.

1. Canine Agility

Dog agility training is both challenging and fun for both Fido and the owner. It certainly is one of the most fulfilling activities that you can do with buddy this summer. Not to mention that it's a great exercise for both you and your dog.

Your dog will face several challenges including tunnels, A-frames, weave poles, see-saws, jumps, and pet walks. All of this can be a little rough on the joints, so we strongly advise your dog is in good shape from the outset. This sport is great for high-energy dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds and any dog that enjoys a good run. You can join clubs that do these sports or simply set one in your backyard with one of the many ready-to-use obstacle training equipment which can be purchased in your local pet supply shop or through Amazon. 

A word of caution, the training while a great bonding experience will require time and patience and both the dog and the handler should be in good shape. If you're ready for some healthy outdoor fun with a competitive edge with your pupster, then canine agility might be perfect for the two of you. Check out some cool DIY agility equipment for your backyard here

2. Swimming

The summer sun can be quite overwhelming for dogs as it is for humans. One of the activities you can enjoy with your dog is soaking up in the lake or a pool to cool down the hot flashes. It’s another great way to exercise your dog without any trauma to the joints. It can be overwhelming for your dog if it has not been in a pool before. But, it is the perfect time to train your pup to play in the water. If you don’t have access to a swimming pool check out a local river or lake.

Make it extra fun and bring along the toys your dog uses at home, a water Frisbee and pack some treat as a reward for a great playtime. For your furry friend, swimming or rather playing in the water might come across as just playtime. But, it is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise and enjoy a splash. Be sure to consider a dog jacket if you are not sure of the dog’s response if it is the first time swimming.

3. Disc Dog Competition

If you have a good throwing arm and your best friend catches a Frisbee like nobody’s business, then why not consider entering him into a disc dog competition. Disc dog is not your usual game of Frisbee in the park. The sport of disc dog takes place all over the US and is well-known for their dazzling freestyle and choreographed routines.

Any dog breed can participate, purebred or not, although natural retrievers among other breeds can dominate this sport. All you need to get started in this exciting sport, is a flat open space and a disc that isn’t too hard or too brittle and is easy to clean since accumulated debris and dirt can wear down your dog’s teeth over time.

4. Walking

One of the easiest, least expensive ways to exercise Fido that’s also easy on your dog’s joints is walking. It is also a learning experience for a new puppy as it strolls around new environments and begins to socialize. Walking and running also helps to develop, exercise your dog's mind and burn their energy.  It’s best to take walks with your dog in the morning or late afternoons when the sun is bearable. An hour away from home walking in a park is enough to keep your dog in the right shape during the summer. However, you could try to incorporate playtime between walks, so it gets interesting for your pup.

If your dog is comfortable with faster walks, you could consider cycling. This will ensure you keep up with speed and make it fun for your dog. As long as you have the right cycling leash for your dog, you do not have to worry about your super-active dog keeping up with you!

5. Dog Jumping

Do you recall flying leaps from a wooden dock into the lake during the hot summer months? It was fun, was it not? And now this sport is no longer just for humans. Dock diving or jumping is another great sport activity for dogs who love the water. First off, the dog needs to swim and to love it! If your dog likes to swim, retrieve a toy and return it and do it all over again - you got yourself the perfect dock diving dog.

In dock diving competition, handlers throw a toy off a dock to entice dog diving competitors to leap as far as they can with distance being measured where the tail meets water before they land with a big splash.  Competitions are open to all dogs including small breeds. Your dog needs to be properly socialized in order to deal with loud noises, other dogs and crowds of people.  

According to Rocky Mountain Dock Dogs, you got to "be patient and keep it positive! Some dogs “get” Big Air in no time while others need more encouragement. As with any training, keep sessions short and positive and always reward and praise your dog for a job well done."  Start by getting your buddy used to swimming in a pool by bringing them regularly for water-based playtime and throw their favorite toy and get them to retrieve it- just like the super fun water sport game called Fetch It! 

To get involved check out the nearby dock diving events that happen almost every weekend during the summer season and get started!

6. Camping

If you are planning a family camping trip, it is the perfect time to tag your best friend along. This requires a little planning to ensure the safety and comfort of the buddy away from home. But, it is doable with the right accessories and a bit of training.

Remember to pack the toys, dog bites, feeding items and other essentials for your dog during camping. Also, be sure to check with the vet to get an update on the vaccination and a go-ahead to camp with your dog. If your dog tends to wander off, you may have to bring a crate to ensure safety while outdoors. Check out our detailed guide on camping and backpacking with your dog.

7. Flyball

Another great summer activity for high-drive dogs are flyball competitions. This active sport can be high-energy and high-speed so make sure your buddy is in top shape. In flyball, you have teams of four dogs, one dog from each team runs down a course, launches over hurdles to a flyball device and steps on a panel that triggers the device to release a tennis ball. The ball must be carried back to the handlers over the hurdles that the dog navigated to acquire it. Once it completes the course, the next dog on the team is released, and the first four-dog relay team to complete the course is the winner.

Diane Dargay, whose dog Travis, a Gordon Setter that regularly participates in flyball competitions warns "Aggressive dogs are not tolerated and the judge has the right to eject a dog that shows any aggression toward another dog."

To start training your dog for flyball competitions you’ll need a good bit of space to practice in and a ball launcher. Make sure your buddy is also comfortable in a crate since there will be plenty of idle time between runs.

8. Dog-Friendly Beach Walks

Well, this is an excellent combination of running and enjoying the water. Your buddy will most likely enjoy burying in the sand, waiting for the waves and running across the beach the entire time. The experience will not only open up new environments for learning but also keep your dog in great shape.

With the hot, humid weather, the beach will be a perfect spot to cool down in the water. You could carry some of your dog's favorite toys to play. Also, do not forget to pack dog treats as well as enough cool drinking water. Remember it is a fun-filled activity, and Fido will need to hydrate more.

Other considerations will have to be ensuring your pupster has sun protection to prevent burns. Also, ensure you check with the beach regulations to pick dog-friendly beaches. Be careful about choppy waters and keep an eye on your furry friend.

9. Hiking

Taking the dog along to a short hike during the summer can be a way to help keep fit. Discover hiking trails around your neighborhood and take your best friend with you. You should check the trail's regulations to be sure your dog is safe to take on the hike. One point to note is ensuring you have essentials that the dog will need for the hike. This includes leashes, tags, enough food, a dog sleeping bag and water.

It’s summertime and the outdoors calls for both two legged and four-legged creatures alike! And what is a better time than this to engage your pet in new sport? Not only is it a great bonding experience, these nine cool activities will help enhance mental stimulation and communication for your pet. Find pet-friendly trails near you here. Here’s to wishing you and your four-legged companion a sporting-good summer!

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