When it gets hot like it's been this past week, my two retrievers turn into the laziest, most obstinate donkeys on the planet. If we take a hike, they find the nearest tree and just plop down. If we try trail running, they anchor themselves to the ground until I feel like Rocky dragging logs in Russia. They're quite energetic at other times of year, but they do their own thing in the heat.
Dogs are people too (okay, not people, but definitely filled with personality). And, though they may bounce of the walls and act like caged animals at times, they're not automatically up to every outdoor activity that you are. Sometimes they need a little extra training, and sometimes, they need to be equipped with the right gear.
Ruff Wear Omnijore System
Is your dog part sled dog? Or maybe he's just got a lot more energy than you, and you'd rather tire him out without having to exert much effort of your own. The Omnijore system lets your dog take you for a ride, any time of year. The system includes an adjustable, padded dog harness, a shock-absorbing leash and a belt that provides 180 degrees of angle so that you can be pulled head-on or from the side. Let your dog pull you by ski, snowboard, skateboard, etc.--or go running with a hands-free leash system. This one retails for $150.
SurvivalStraps for Pooches
I've been testing out a SurvivalStraps wrist band, and found out they also come in leash and dog collar varieties. The 5-foot leash will deliver far more than the wriststrap, putting 80 feet of paracord in your hand. The dog collar equips your pooch with paracord along with an embossed dog tag with his information. Prices start at $35.
D-Fa Ice Barker Dog Jacket
You love the feel and heat management of a good merino shirt, so why not give your dog the same courtesy? The Ice Barker is a 100 percent merino jacket that's warm, anti-microbial and breathable. It comes in seven sizes and starts at $120.
Granite Gear Alpha Dog Pack
Fess up: You spend hours reading reviews about backpacks, comparing suspension systems and fitting packs before you buy one. Then you go out and find the cheapest, most generic pack in the store for your dog. Well, Bonzo likes a comfortable pack too. The Alpha Dog is ergonomically designed to fit the contours of your dog, according to GG. It carries up to 16 liters of gear and doesn't interfere with your dog's natural stride. Starts at $60.
Zuke's Power Bones
When you start to tire, you grab a power bar and refuel your drained muscles. But you probably don't bring a bag of Dog Chow for your pal. Zuke's Power Bones are like energy bars for dogs--high-protein, high-carb treats designed to get her re-energized and back on the move. Flavors include beef, chicken and peanut butter, and a pack costs about 7 bucks.
Energy treats will work for a day hike, but what if you plan an overnighter with your dog(s). Well, you're probably eating some type freeze-dried, rehydrated meal, so bring one along for Logan, too. Like people backpacking food, PeakWaggers are lightweight, compact and non-perishable. Unlike people backpacking meals, they re-hydrate in either cold or hot water, so you don't need to fire up the JetBoil. Peakwaggers come in several different flavors for around $9 a piece.
Chuck-It is one of my favorite things to play with my dogs. Though they're retrievers, they aren't very motivated when it comes to fetching balls. But for whatever reason, the Chuck-It heaver provides enough spark to get them going. And when they get tired of the ball, I toss the whole chucker --it's like a big, bright-blue stick.
As much as I'd love to play all the time, the weather doesn't always cooperate. And chucking a hard tennis ball around the house just isn't an option. But using the new Indoor Chuck-It, which features a soft, oversized ball sure is. The ball is a little soft and flimsy, so chewers might destroy it, but it's a fun option for those days when walking/playing outside just isn't in the cards. Launcher is around $17.