Agility Equipment & Summer Agility Training
If you live an area of the country where summer days can be quite hot, you might be worried about engaging in agility training with your furry companion. However, using agility equipment definitely can continue throughout the summer, even on the hottest days of the year provided you follow a few of these tips.
Unlike humans who sweat all over their bodies, dogs only have sweat glands on their foot pads and panting is the main way that dogs release body heat. Their bodies simply aren’t able to cool down as efficiently as a human’s body. Of course dogs still need to exercise and you certainly don’t want them to forget their agility skills.
Your best approach would be to have them practice using their agility equipment either early in the morning or later in the evening. Ideally, dogs should not be exercising heavily when the temperatures are 80 degrees or higher and for some dogs, 75 degrees is their max before they overheat easily. If you can work out at sunrise or twilight, you not only enjoy lower temperatures, the sun won’t be baking you and your dog.
Be sure to have a big bowl of water handy so that your dog can take frequent drinks during training and consider setting up a little dog tent or baby tent in a shady spot where your dog can relax. This is a good idea no matter where you go during the summer. Dogs need a cool, shady spot to sit and brining a shade or tent and a source of water is always a good idea.
While using agility equipment during the cooler parts of the day is your best bet, it is wise to keep in mind that some breeds have a harder time in hot weather than others. For instance, dog breeds that are brachycephalic tend to have more trouble panting because of the arrangement of their face. This includes breeds such as bulldogs, boxers and shih-tzus. These breeds have a face with a smooshed appearance, and while it’s extremely cute, it does inhibit panting a bit, so take it easy on these dogs and limit exercise time.
It also can be a good idea to give your doggie a shorter summer haircut, although many dogs shed and have a thinner coat in summer anyway. Shaving a dog in summer is not recommended, as the fur actually insulates the dog and helps keep them cool. A slightly shorter haircut can make fur easier to manage in summer, but certainly isn’t a requirement.
At Carlson Agility, we sell a variety of agility equipment and this includes miniature agility equipment. If you have a large basement, a cool garage or a large bonus room or family room, you might purchase some mini equipment and take your training indoors. While it might be difficult to set up a full course inside, you can set up a few pieces of equipment and at least provide some instruction and exercise without worrying about your dog overheating.
Mini agility jumps, a mini teeter, mini a-frame, mini dog walk and mini pause table can be used by most dogs. These are great for rainy day agility training, as well, or when the weather is extremely cold or snowy.