Pack away your snow boots and shovel, and say, 'Hello, summer!' I couldn't be more excited about summer activities geared toward our beloved canine companions.
My dogs and I love dog beaches, which are for friendly, controlled, socialized canines. Before you and your pal head out, ask yourself:
—Does my dog listen to me off-leash? Even though Chicago's dog beaches are fenced in, be certain your dog will listen to commands.
—Is my dog friendly to other dogs? Many believe the beach is a great way to socialize fearful or aggressive pets. It's not. Putting your dog in a stressful situation will elevate fear and aggression and may end in a serious dog fight.
—Is my dog people-friendly? If your dog has fears associated with others, don't test its boundaries. People at dog parks expect friendly dogs. Strangers who reach to pet your pooch should not risk getting bitten.
Like people, not every dog will enjoy the beach. Other on-leash recreational options are biking, walking or running with your dog. Keep your dog on a six-foot leash, so you can still maintain control.
Dogs wear fur coats, so they can't tolerate the heat as well as we can. Carry water and a portable bowl so you can hydrate him every 10 minutes. Putting water on dogs' bellies and chest area also helps keep them cool. Darker dogs with thick fur overheat first.
Dogs with behavioral issues should be trained by a certified behavior specialist. Many training facilities will offer both private and group programs aimed at curbing aggression through positive reinforcement. Obedience and manners classes will urbanize and teach your dog to be polite. Classes geared toward summer activities may include beach etiquette, park etiquette and Frisbee. Park etiquette focuses on outdoor distraction work, basic commands and politeness.
A good training/obedience class can ensure a fun and safe summer for both you and your dog.
Courtney Simon is a canine trainer and behavior specialist at the Chicago Academy of Dog Training, 2338 W. Nelson; 773-325-0400; www.caodt.com .
PET FOR ADOPTION: TOM
Tom is a tall boy with gorgeous gray and white fur! Tom is only one and a half years old, and is friendly and sweet. He is a totally curious guy who wants to know everything that is going on in the room—what a character! Tom is quite a lovable guy who loves human attention, and will surely be a great guy to have around. Tom came to us when his former family's landlord wouldn't allow a pet. He would make an absolutely wonderful addition to almost any family, including one with children and other pets. Please come and meet Tom. He's at The Anti-Cruelty Society; just ask for Tab Band #670116. Hurry on over—Tom will be waiting for you!
For more information about animals available for adoption, please call 312-644-8338 after 11:30 a.m.