Training Your Dog in the Summer Months
Gundog training in the summer prepares dogs for fall hunting season, but summer heat can be dangerous for your pet. Listed here are tips for keeping your dog safe while training in the heat.
You should be able to recognize the signs that your dog is beginning to overheat as gundog training in the summer and be dangerous. One of the first indications of overheating is excessive panting and raspy breath. Next, you will notice fatigue in your dog. Remember: dogs do not get rid of heat as easily as humans, as 90% of their cooling occurs through their mouth. Another 4 – 5% of cooling happens through their paw pads, one of the few areas that dogs can sweat. However, this manner of cooling is limited due contact with the hot ground. The remaining cooling occurs through evaporation.
One way to promote cooling is to use large, absorbent bumpers. When your dog picks up a 3’’+ diameter bumper, there will be a lot of surface area to absorb warm saliva from your dog’s mouth. Avoid plastic bumpers on warm days, which will simply become sticky and trap excess heat.
Next, alternate land and water retrieves. Send your dog for a short retrieve on land, followed by a short retrieve in the water. Be sure to provide your dog with small sips of water in between. Even though your dog is getting wet, the water might not provide sufficient cooling. In the summertime, pond water can become very warm due to the sun’s rays. The purpose of the water retrieve in this instance is to help your dog cool via evaporation.
Finally, keep retrieves short and look for shade. Save long retrieves for cooler months when your dog needs the extra conditioning. Throw your bumpers in multiple directions, and look for as many shaded, cool areas as possible.