For pups, the heat is on

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Three jolly goldens (are there any other kind?) enjoy an outing to a Camden Riversharks game. The two on the right are puppies, but the other one, Viola, is a 6-year-old working guide dog. You can tell by the leather harness she is wearing. This brings up a point: It's OK to approach Seeing Eye pups with permission, but you should never interfere with a dog in harness. She is performing a very important job and needs to concentrate. Photo courtesy of Robin Brelsford.

I took Sparkle to her monthly puppy-circle training meeting the other evening. She's eager to learn. She knows the sit, then rest command. (We teach them "rest," rather than "stay.")  Of course, she doesn't "rest" too long because a dozen or more other pups are a huge distraction. Like all pups, she eats up the praise when she does something right. We do not reward the pups with treats, but effusive praise.

Since I went by myself, I was not able to handle lively pup and camera at the same time. She can pull very hard and very suddenly if she wants to go to another dog or person. Sparkle is good, however, at the "recall" command where you walk her out on a slack leash in a little circle, then call her back and have her sit at your left side.

With the summer heat, I've been careful about not stressing her. Lately on the morning walks, she's been plunking herself under shady trees and acting a bit resistant to keep walking. She will also catch the mist off lawn sprinklers as we go past. When we get home, I make sure she has plenty of water and offer her a few ice cubes from the freezer, which she gladly crunches. I can also take a water bottle along and spritz her or offer her a drink from it.

Today, I'm going to skip the morning walk altogether and just take the dogs out at dusk. They can make potty-break trips to the fenced backyard in the meantime.  

As a vet told me years ago, he had in his career treated many dogs for heat stroke but not one for being too cold. So we have to be very careful out there and be sure not to leave them in cars or in unshaded areas without water.

Meanwhile, here's a great shot of some golden retrievers pursuing a cool summer pastime.  

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