Last week was a scorcher (that's how we say it in Boston), with temperatures rising into the 90s. The overall effect? Sweaty humidity. Animal owners index? Petty stupidity.
If your dog is pulling to the side while walking on a leash, it may not be an obedience problem. Fido may be dodging hot sidewalk pavement or frying-pan temperatures on the asphalt.
I observed six owners, in a 10-minute period, pulling their dogs back into a heel, not understanding what appeared to them to be poor leash behavior. The dogs would jump onto grass, dirt or into shade. The owners would pull the poor creatures back. Then the dogs would jump back to the side.
If this is happening to you, and your otherwise well-behaved dog suddenly seems like it had jumping beans for breakfast, take off your shoes for 10 seconds. If you can't, because the ground (sidewalk, street, path, trail) is too hot, then you'll understand why your doggie is jumping to the side.
There are booties available for dogs who have to tough it out because trail hikes are your gym.
Amid the insensitive pet owners—who also tied their dogs to trees where the shade, like the sunlight, shifts—I saw a few owners who really had thought through the heat.
Pictured here is a wonderful owner of four dogs, sharing his meal and water with Tallulah, his appointed partner for the day's excursion.
If you need to take your dog outside on really hot days, please remember their needs, their feelings and their lack of sweat glands. They keep hot by sticking out their tongues and panting, and by getting wet. Here are some tips:
- Don't keep a muzzled dog in the sun too long.
- Don't keep a dog from a bowl of water too long (a half-hour on a hot day is a long time).
- Do share shade and a cuddle, reassuring the dog that you may be crazy for going into the hot sun, but you aren't mean about it. Portable drinking dishes can help you transport water to Fido on a hike with ease.
Don't even think about leaving the dog in a vehicle on a scorching hot day! Not only is this thoughtless and dangerous to the animal, it's against the law, and members of the community will probably notice and report you.
Think it through:
- "What is this day like for my dog?"
- "What can I bring along to make this walk/hike/adventure better for my pet?"
- "Is it too hot now to bring the dog?"
Maybe you should do the hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon on a hot day. And definitely keep an eye on erratic behavior—it may be hot pavement, an insect bite, or a foxtail that got sniffed up Fido's snout.
Keeping a close eye on your animal, especially on the hot days, can do wonders for your relationship. Your dog will trust you more, if you are a partner who pays attention!