Dogs Trust

Top 7 things to teach your dog this summer

Loki on the beach with a tennis ball

From festivals to camping, your dog may encounter new experiences this summer. We take a look at the essential skills your dog needs to know.

  1. Recall

    Most dogs love running around off the lead, but before you give your dog their ‘freedom’ it’s vital for their safety that you know they will come back when called, regardless of where they are and what’s going on around them – including all the distractions of summer.

    Teach your dog to come back when called >
  2. Food manners and teaching leave or drop

    Dogs naturally use their mouths to explore the world, and this might mean picking up - or even eating - whatever they happen to find! This could be dangerous if your dog comes across rubbish in the street, or troublesome if they pick up things they shouldn’t.

    Teach your dog to leave something >
  3. People manners

    In the summer months, we might be having more people over for garden parties and BBQs so dogs can benefit from owners considering what they need to feel safe and be part of things, or whether some more timid dogs might prefer to be in their own den when we have lots of visitors. We can also teach them to greet people politely so there’s no risk of them jumping up and scratching bare-legs, or knocking people into paddling pools.

    Teaching your dog not to jump up >
    Training your dog for visitors >
  4. Settle

    Teaching your dog to settle down can be useful in hot weather when lots of activity might be inappropriate. It’s also a very valuable skill for when we have guests or are out and about with our dogs in pubs or cafes. Make sure you plan head and take things with you to keep your dog occupied.

    Teaching your dog to settle >
  5. Walking nicely on the lead

    You might think of this as being a boring thing to teach but it doesn’t have to be and is incredibly useful in summer when there’s more people around in general so dogs are more likely to need to be on a lead.

    Teach your dog to walk nicely on the lead >
  6. Handling/checking your dog over

    Being outside more in the summer might mean you’ll be needing to check your dog more often for things like ticks as well as any grazes or grass-seeds (especially if they are fluffy or long-eared). Teaching them to enjoy being handled all over is incredibly valuable in case of accident/injury etc and can help make any future vet visits more pleasant experiences – for you and your dog.

    Teaching your dog to be comfortable when handled >
  7. Meeting other dogs

    More dogs are likely to be out and about in nice weather, all heading for the same parks, so it’s important that your dog is able to share their space and meet other dogs safely. If your dog is struggling with other dogs there are lots of things you can teach them that can help them out. For example a nose-touch onto your hand, turning them away from another dog, teaching them to fall in behind you and follow you away, teaching them to sniff the ground on cue to break any eye contact between dogs etc. You can teach your dog a nose-touch with the same steps we use in our Snoot Challenge video.

    How to teach your dog the Snoot Challenge >

Dog School Coach with a dog Take a Dog School training class

If your dog needs a little extra help preparing for summer, or if you’d just like to brush up on some skills and spend some quality time with your dog, our Dog School classes are the ideal activity. Dogs Trust Dog School’s experienced trainers provide high quality, welfare friendly advice on dog training and behaviour during our fun, educational classes. A course costs £55 for six weeks of classes, including an introductory sessions without your dog.

Find your nearest Dog School