Spring has arrived! Maybe you’ve noticed your pup dragging a bit on walks to sniff a little longer – let her! New life is awakening daily, welcoming adventurous noses to engage the brain and explore the smells of the season. Along with the blooms, mud and other smells that come with the season, the open-access to the backyard marks spring for our dogs. Even if we aren’t quite pool-ready, she is ready to romp in the water and spend her days in the open air and sunshine. Water is a great way to incorporate enriching activities into your dog’s summertime routine. From relatively simple to challenging, we have water games to make her summer the best yet!
First a quick, but important, note on water conservation… Water is a precious resource and Paw5 is deeply committed to sustainability. Always keep water usage brief and low-flow when using in home and opt-outside whenever possible. Find your local dog-friendly reservoir, lake or river to have a natural splash and enjoy the summer responsibly!
Easy: Sprinkler Jumps
A time-honored tradition that your children and even you will fully enjoy on a hot day: Sprinkler Jumps. Attach a sprinkler fixture to the end of a garden hose, set in the fixed upright position and turn on the water to a low-flow setting so the sprinkle’s arch is roughly your dog’s height. Work with your dog to jump back-and-forth through the water wall. Increase the difficultly by changing the sprinkler setting to unfixed so it moves in a wide arch allowing her to chase the stream and jump through it at various heights and intensity. (Note: She may just attack the sprinkler itself to start, so watch for that.)
Moderate I: Water Gun Tag
If you don’t have them already, plastic water guns can be purchased at your local grocery or drug store seasonally. Fill with water and from a 4ft.+ distance squirt your dog’s body (avoid the neck, head and face) with the water stream, then move it away slowly encouraging them to move their body to the stream. For dogs that understand catching a Frisbee, this can evolve to a game of ‘catch the water’ in increased distances in which case you might need to re-invest in a Super Soaker!
Moderate II: Dunking for Toys or Treats
Get her used to submerging her nose and face in water with this enriching activity akin to the Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples. Fill a baby pool or large but shallow tupperware with enough water to cover a few of her favorite non-stuffed toys, chew bones or treats. Using familiar commands, work with her to remove them one at a time from the pool. Increase difficulty by adding more water and selecting smaller objects for her to retrieve.
Difficult: Water Safety Training
If you have access to an open body of water like a private pool or lake, you can work on water safety with your advanced dog. With your dog on the shore, float on your back in the water with a strap tied around your waist letting the tail float next to you. (You can also wear a life jacket, which have long white straps as well.) Work with your dog to learn emergency commands to jump in, grab the strap and pull you to land so she knows what to do in an emergency!
No matter how you incorporate water into your dog’s activity this summer, keep the enrichment going when you recharge them with a Puzzle Feeder like the Paw5 Rock n’ Bowl or Wooly Snuffle Mat. Both are made with sustainability in mind and are proven to be durable, so it’s a no-brainer for those of you committed to engaging your dog’s brain. We want you to re-think how your dog eats (and plays) this summer!
Splash on, friends!