03 Jul How to have a dog-friendly picnic
Having your lunch al fresco is a British summer tradition and an opportunity to get the family together for some quality time. But as any dog owner will tell you, bringing your pooch along can be a recipe for disaster – if you don’t plan ahead they’ll be scoffing your sausage rolls and running party rings around you in the park.
A little bit of preparation is all it takes to make sure your dog behaves themselves whilst you’re out at your picnic – here are our top tips.
Bring dog friendly snacks
Temptation is the biggest problem at a picnic – all that delicious smelling food at eye level, easy to nab whilst the humans aren’t watching… So why not bring along tasty snacks for your pooch to enjoy whilst you are eating? Make it last by using a puzzle toy where they have to work to get to the food or by portioning it out and doing some basic training with them. Make sure you account for the extra snacks in the daily food allowance, and don’t forget to bring fresh water for them as well.
Remove the temptation
Your dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of times stronger than ours, so the moment you open that lunchbox they’ll be at your side eyeing up your scotch egg. To reduce their temptation, try to keep your food boxes closed until you’re about to eat the food inside – definitely don’t leave open boxes of food on the picnic blanket and avoid leaving food on plates when you aren’t eating.
Teach them to ‘leave’
Leave is one of the most useful commands your dog can learn, so teach it to them early. Some dogs will be much better at it than others, but perseverance is the key. Once they know how to leave, it’s much easier to keep them away from your picnic food. Find out how to teach them leave in our article, ‘How to train your dog with five basic commands’
Keep them entertained
Chances are that your pup associates the great outdoors with playtime – so they might be expecting you to keep them entertained even whilst you’re having a picnic. Make sure you bring a toy to keep them entertained – something as simple as a ball is pawfect. Not only will it keep them occupied, but it’ll get them running around and hitting their exercise goals in no time!
Bring a lead and poobags
It goes without saying that a lead and poobags are an absolute must – you’ll want to pop your pup on the lead if they are wandering away from you and getting interested in other people’s picnics, or if they just need to calm down for a bit (especially if it’s hot out). As for the poobags, don’t forget to bag it and bin it (nobody wants to be sat next to a stinky hedge after all).
Keep them cool
If you’re out for a picnic, the chances are that the weather is warm outside. Make sure you’ve plenty of shade for your dog (a tree will do the job) and loads of fresh water for them to drink. If you decide to picnic by a safe, dog friendly, body of water where they can take a dip to cool off, that’s even better. Make sure you know the signs of heat exhaustion and encourage them to take breaks in the shade often to stop them overheating.
Be considerate of others
Whilst you might not mind your dog stretching out on the picnic blanket, others might feel differently. Be considerate of other picnickers and if there is a chance your dog will want to go and investigate, pop them on a lead to keep them close to you.
Exercise them before your picnic
Making sure your pooch has had their daily exercise before you head out for your picnic means they will be calmer and less energetic on the whole. Why not head out for a walk first and end it with a picnic in your favourite spot?
Don’t forget, you can keep track of your pup’s activity levels and calories burnt with a PitPat activity monitor – so you can get an idea of whether they deserve a little extra treat at the picnic!
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