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Hi--Some of you might remember me and my Pit-Boxer mix, Naima, from when I adopted her in Florida the summer before last.
Naima is now a little over two, and smart, sweet, and in love with every person and dog she meets. I got lucky the day I walked into the shelter and saw her with her sister, peeing happily on the floor while she waited for dinner (she weighed only about 12 lbs. at 4 months; she and her sister had been abandoned and had been on their own for a while, apparently).
Last October we moved from FL to NJ. It was quite a new experience for her, with all the new sights, sounds, smells, crowds, dogs, etc. It was like taking a kid to a carnival at first. I practically had to re-train her to walk calmly on the leash again, but we're just about there now.
I had noticed this to some extent before, but I now realize that exertion in the heat is dangerous for Naima. She's mostly Pit, but I have a feeling that the little bit of Boxer in her makes her more prone to heat exhaustion. I don't make a habit of taking her to the dog park, but she LOVES it and I would feel bad if she never got to run flat-out sometimes. She's super fast, and just really seems to need to do it every so often to blow off pent-up energy.
However, after flying around the park for a mere five or ten minutes in temps over like, 60 degrees, she is worn out. She's too excited to notice it when we're still in the park, but afterwards she needs a LOT of water, and has to stop several times to lay flat out (frog-dog) on the sidewalk in the shade to rest and cool off on the way home.
I'd planned to have her as a partner on the long walks I like to take, but even that is too much for her if the temperature is slightly warm. And it's not likely that I'll get up before dawn, or take her for long walks at night.
Sorry for the long post--I'm just looking for suggestions on ways to help keep her fit and exercised under these conditions. She's a paradox---a VERY energetic girl who needs to get her ya-ya's out, but doesn't have the stamina to sustain exercise. I don't want her to get fat, bored, and out of shape, but I don't want to kill her either.
I do throw a toy down the stairs for her to retrieve a few times indoors, and she likes that, but it doesn't seem like enough on the warm days when we have to limit her time outside. I'm wondering if several shorter walks (15-20 minutes only on hot days, and even that seems like a stretch, judging from her behavior) can be as good as one really long one for exercise. And can five minutes of flat-out running every few days be beneficial at all (aside from being her favorite thing in the world to do)?
Any thoughts or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. She weighs 50 lbs., by the way.
 

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Thoughts---

It is just now starting to get hot, every summer it is good to ease a dog into exercise in heat and acclimate them as much as possible.

Multiple short walks are fine since walks in general aren't really super duper tiring to a healthy young dog. They are more about potty needs, stretching legs and getting some sights/smells/sounds entertainment.

I would NOT play fetch up and down stairs. Too much risk of joint problems, even for a grown dog it is just unneeded stress on the joints (worse for growing puppy but its a kind of unneeded stress even for an adult). Walking on hills however is a decent workout.

Work her mind. Do a short walk and then a training session so she has to focus harder.

Pick walking paths that are well shaded and have grass or dirt tracks rather than pavement or concrete. Shade of course means less heat but grass also means less heat on her paw pads and less heat being reflected back up towards her body (and yours)

Wet her down before a walk, won't last long for cooling but helps a bit.

Consider a cooling jacket made of a reflective, breathable material

Swimming or playing in water is an option if you have either a safe natural body of water and/or room for a plastic kid's play pool outside your house or apartment.
 

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Have you looked into a cooling jacket? Does she have access to cool fresh drinking water during walks/at the park?

I wet my dog down before any activity in the heat and reapply water as he starts to dry. With a short coated dog, a cooling jacket may be more effective.

I don't see why multiple shorter walks would be any less beneficial than one longer one. I'd focus on lots of trick training over the summer months as well, and maybe invest in some interactive toys to keep her mind occupied, and maybe if possible designate one day where you wake up early or stay up later to go for a longer walk or let her run on a long line in a field or something along those lines. But I wouldn't worry too much. She may not be thrilled with being cooped up for a few months, but it's for her own good. If she had an obvious physical injury like an ACL tear or broken leg (etc), you wouldn't be worrying about how sad she'd be if she didn't get to walk - she'd be on rest, period. Try to think about it like that. You're just helping her out.
 
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I agree with looking into a cooling vest of some kind, and finding somewhere shady to walk. Try to keep water with you at all times and a bowl so that you can make her stop and take a drink. If your schedule allows it try to do walks in the early morning or evening when it's cooling down. When I take my dogs for hikes in the summer we go to a place with a creek, so i let the boys take a dip before we start so they can stay cool.
 

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I have a dog that is black and seems to get pretty hot too. We take him to the lake in the summer and play fetch with him in the water. He loves it. It wears him out and keeps him cool. We usually try to find a more secluded spot where he can run it off without having to greet everyone and everything, lol. We also take him up on the mountain to hike. I'm not sure if you have a wooded area or mountain to take your dog? It will be cooler even in the heat of the day. Bonus points if there is a creek that runs through. We take ours on the mountain and let him dip his toes in the creek so he can cool off while we continue our hike. If we have no access to a body of water, we pack plenty of water. Enough to drink, and enough to douse him down with as we go. He pants, his tongue gets HUGE and hangs almost to his knees, but he loves it. Just keep an eye out for any signs of heat stroke like lethargy, confusion, and pale gums. I know there's more signs, I would recommend googling them so you are aware. Always have water on hand, and if you're not near a body of water for him to play in, I wouldn't recommend going out in the heat of the day.
 

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Did she just start becoming intolerant of the heat? Or has she always been that way? If this is kind of a new thing, I would consider a vet check. I would consider 80 too hot to walk my LONG haired, double coated dog. 60 degrees? That's perfect! In fact, that's a little on the chilly side, but my dog would love it! I find it odd that a short haired dog would find even short walks or running for 5 minutes in that weather too hot. From her photo in your sig, it does not look like she has the short nose of a boxer that would make it difficult for her to breathe during exercise, either. I understand that every dog is an individual and has different tolerances, but....
 
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