As anyone in the Midwest will tell you, it’s been a long winter, but the good news is that bright and sunny summer months are on the horizon. With that in mind, now’s the time to start savoring the thought of getting out the house with your furry friend. Here are a few great things to do. A day out at the beach If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean you owe it to yourself – and your dog – to take a trip to the beach. Dogs love to get stuck in to the sand; they’ll be digging a hole and burying shells in no time. No beach excursion is complete without a spot of frisbee, so make sure it’s not just a quick stroll, but a proper day out. Does your dog like to swim? Even better… …Why not spend a day at the pool? Whether you’ve got one at your house or access to a communal one, a good number of dog breeds are comfortable in water, and actively enjoy swimming. It’s great exercise too, and and a nice alternative to the normal walk. It goes without saying that if your dog appears afraid of the water, you shouldn’t make it get in. For a compromise, get the garden hose out and give him a cooldown, or set up a sprinkler. Get more yard-time in, or head to the park Whether you have a yard, or access to a park nearby, it’s important you bond with your animal in the great outdoors this summer. The overwhelming majority of dogs are exercise-orientated animals and they like to do it in a social setting, so if there are other dogs to show off for, even better. Keep a leash handy and keep your eye out should trouble brew, but it’s never a bad thing to have your dog exposed to other hounds. Scope out local restaurants that are dog-friendly A quick Google search will reveal restaurants in your area that make provisions for animals, and when the sun is out and the weather is warm, there’s no better way to relax than with your pup at your side. Make sure you get a bowl of water put at your feet for those thirsty moments when the fahrenheit is rising, and be sure to check with the restaurant about their pet policy first. Take a vacation Hotels are fast coming around to the idea that dogs are part of the family too; failing that, Airbnb is a great option for those of you who want to get out of town this summer, and want to take your dog in tow. Airbnb users will disclose whether their houses are pet-friendly or not and chances are good that you’ll find several options to choose from. There’s nothing like roadtripping with an animal so be sure to pack plenty of water, because hot cars can be dehydrating in the extreme. Go on a hike This summer, make a concerted effort to embrace wilderness and embark on an off-trail hike. Your dog will love the exercise and will be fascinated by the animals he/she spies along the way. If you’re not in the position to hit the off-road trails, you can always take a drive out of town and find big open spaces like parks and green belts that will satisfy your dog’s wanderlust. Changing up your usual walk, and giving your dog new sights and sounds to feast on, is a good way of keeping him satisfied, though be sure to return to your normal walk soon enough – dogs love nothing more than routine.