More and more I am hearing conversations about travel up to a cottage, somewhere beautiful, serene, often bordering a lake. Sounds amazing!
We see ripples on the water, hear birds chirping, gaze upon green rolling hills. 

Dogs see lots of new spaces, far and near, to explore, they discover the wildlife (skunks, porcupines, gophers, raccoons, horses, deer, goats, coyote), experience tics and fleas ☺
While dogs don’t appear to be sensitive to poison ivy, they can transmit it to you if they have rubbed up against it. The oil will transfer from their fur to your skin.

Before heading up to the cottage with your new puppy, ask yourself if you have put the same precautions in place there as you did in the city. Do you have a safe, puppy proof place such as a crate, ex-pen or safe fenced off area to use when you cannot supervise him?  A safe dog area applies to adolescent and adult dogs as well.
One of the attractions to country spaces is the lack of restrictions. We want to enjoy wide open spaces. Is that really the best option for a puppy or dog who has never experienced this new environment?

Along with the discussion of solitude and relaxation should be the realization that this is a very different environment for your dog or puppy. Is it safe?
Do you give your puppy the freedom to run unfettered in the city? Whatever behaviours he picks up while running free in the country will transfer to the city when you are back home. He won’t understand, the rules have changed.

Does he have an amazing recall? Will he come when you call regardless of what he is chasing? Does he have a great “drop it” for when he picks up a dead animal carcass? Does he know how to swim? Has he experienced gravel, sand, dirt roads? Will he let you pick out the burrs that may get tangled in his fur?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you lock up your dog in the house. What I am suggesting is to have in place the same precautions as you do in the city. The relaxation of the rules we have during the summer months can be very confusing to some dogs.
If he has never been there before and you are still working on a solid recall – use a long line to prevent him from running off and ignoring you. If he doesn’t have a great “drop it” you are going to want to work on it and do your best to ensure he doesn’t snag a dead animal.
Ex- pens are great and portable. If you want your dog to be outside with you while you swim, bring it outside and put him there with a frozen Kong to keep him busy. If your dog has been taught to swim, let him enjoy the water with you. 
Boating? Purchase a life jacket made for dogs. If there should be an accidental tip over and your dog panics, the jacket will be there for safety. 

 Don’t allow your dog to run free just because he is at the cottage. They can get lost in the unfamiliar environment.
 Be careful near the roads. Use a leash to prevent dashing onto winding country roads with speeding cars.
 Make sure your dog is wearing identification tags at all times. If he is not microchipped , consider it. **remove collar for swimming**.
 Keep the phone number of your local poison control and veterinary hospital handy and accessible.
 Swimming can be very tiring. Make sure your dog comes out of the water regularly to prevent fatigue.
 Never leave your dog alone while he is in the water.

A little common sense goes a long way. Use it and enjoy a great summer!