Tips to get your dog to enjoy out back time:
Nothing brings me more joy than to look out the window and seeing my dog rolling in the grass or sunbathing. I’ve owned numerous dogs and what I have come to realize is that some dogs naturally enjoy outside time and others need to be taught. Most clients say their dogs dig, pull up flower beds, swim in their pools uninvited, or are nuisance barkers when outside. In most of these cases, it was just assumed the dog should know what to do on their own when left for long periods of time outside.
Here are some tips to help your dog to spend more time out back and love being out there:
- Pay attention to the weather if you want to prevent your dog from discovering how much fun digging is.
Putting them outside for long periods of time when it’s hot, entices the dog to search for cooler spots in the yard to lay in. Your longer let outs need to be earlier in the morning or later at night. Those mid-day let outs (Especially in Florida) need to be short and sweet. Dog’s typically dig because they are hot, and the ground is cooler.
- Give your dog interactive toys while outside and freeze them.
Stuffing a KONG with treats will last 3x as long if you put it in the freezer. Your dog will love the refreshing treat and it will occupy their mind while they are outside.
- Offer your dog a bowl of ice.
After your dog has been outside for a few minutes, bring them a bowl of ice or ice chips for them to enjoy. This is also a great tip to avoid a dog overindulging in their water bowls to cool them off. If you have a sloppy drinker or a head dunker when your dog gets hot, this works great, and you don’t have to worry about them drinking too fast.
- Hide treats or toys around the back yard.
Everybody loves finding a surprise quarter on the ground and it’s the same for your dog. Before letting them out, be creative and hide some treats, bones and/or toys around. You will catch your dog out there hunting around rather than just sitting at the back door bored and ready to come in.
5. Get them a friend or have play dates.
Dogs love company and they are less likely to be bored and create nuisance jobs if they are busy playing. If having 2 dogs is not an option, then invite over compatible play pals and sit back and watch them romp the yards and wear themselves out.
- Play team sports.
Save the retrieve games and tug of war for outside. This is a good habit to get into anyway because you never want the dog to be overly rambunctious “inside” the house. Outside is the time for the zoomies and outlets of physical energy. Make sure to pick up any “team sport” items (such as tennis balls, tug toys) so the dog can only engage with them when a human is involved. I got my 4-year-old a T-Ball set, and my chocolate lab loves to retrieve the balls she hits.
- Let Your Dog Have a Pool Party
A great way to let your dog cool off in the summer and to give them something fun in the backyard is a kiddie pool. You can get them for small amount of money, and they will give your dog endless entertainment.
- Hang out back with your dog
At the end of the day, the reality is our dogs would rather be with us than outback alone. Try as a family to spend time out back BBQing, reading, and enjoying nature. Relax out there on a summer evening and cherish the company of your best friend. I promise you they will love being outside and sharing that time with you.