Enrichment ideas | Summer Advice | Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust

Enrichment ideas for the summer

How to keep your dog entertained in hot weather

Rosie with a snuffle mat and kong

Dogs are social, intelligent and active animals so it is important to provide them with safe and suitable opportunities to exercise their bodies and minds, regardless of the weather.

During heatwaves, it's a good idea to plan your walks for the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler so they will be at a reduced risk of heatstroke. Our enrichment ideas will provide mental and physical activity that can help prevent boredom during the day, while teaching a variety of skills such as problem-solving, confidence, agility and searching.

Make the most of walkies

If the lengths of your walk are reduced due to the heat, you can add in some extra enrichment along the way to keep them engaged without overexerting them.

  • Take a different route
    This will give your dog new experiences, and in particular, smells.
  • Plan an interactive walk
    Add in time to play with toys, search for food or practising tricks whilst on your walk.
  • Give 'barkour' a go
    If it's safe to do so, and you've checked they're not likely to fall or lose balance, encouraging your dog to place their paws on objects or to balance on or walk along fallen trees can be an exciting way to liven up a walk.

Spice up mealtimes

Bowls are boring – play food games instead. Dogs love eating, so they really enjoy food games. You don't need to worry about your dog gaining weight as you can split their daily food allowance into portions to use in different ways throughout each day. There are lots of great puzzle-feeders available to buy including rubber ones that can be pre-filled and chilled to make them last longer. You can also get creative and make your own. You could also scatter food inside or in the garden to create a food or treat trail for your dog to follow.

Trick training

Teach your dog new tricks using reward-based training. This type of mental exercise is as tiring as physical exercise! This is also a great way of improving the dog-owner relationship and giving nervous dogs more confidence. You could teach them to walk through your legs, run all the way around you, turn around on the spot in both directions, give a paw one at a time, pick things up and give them to you... the possibilities are endless.

Take a look at our top 7 things to teach your dog this summer >

Games with toys

Play uses physical energy, channels mental energy and builds confidence and relationships like nothing else. It's a good idea to rotate the toys you give your dog weekly so they don't become boring, as dogs often enjoy novelty.

Dogs naturally want to use their mouths for holding, tugging and shaking toys – this is completely normal behaviour. If you feel teeth on your skin/clothes at any point during the game then end the game right away by staying calm, quiet and moving away. Telling your dog off will only confuse them, as they think they're being told off for playing and not want to join in again. They need to know they can only put their teeth onto the toy, so simply end the game any time their teeth make contact with you. After a short break come back and play again – they'll soon learn that the fun can continue as long as the keep their mouth on the toy.

Download our Enrichment guide for more ideas

Enrichment Guide PDF 821 KB
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