4 New Year’s Resolutions Your Dog Wants You to Make for Him
It’s almost 2019!
Time to make resolutions, plan for the future and get new thoughts down on paper—not just for you, but also for Fido. While your pup can’t tell you what he wants for New Year, here are a few resolutions you can make for him.
Teach Him One New Trick a Month
Ongoing training can benefit the brain, calm down anxious pups, and help fight senility in senior pups—but only if you continue the training regularly. “People seem to think dog training is like graduating from high school: you get a diploma and bam, you’re done forever,” says Jme Thomas, animal welfare expert and executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue. “The key is we never stop learning, so why is dog training considered a one-and-done thing?” People often think they don’t have time to train, but the key is not setting aside specific time as much as making it a part of your life, according to Thomas.
In fact, Thomas points out that incorporating little dog training skills things into your routine might be all you need: from sit and wait before eating to sit and stop at door frames and street corners to play “find the thing” while watching TV. “Dogs who engage in this kind of extended learning often have deeper relationships with their owners and an understanding that others miss out on,” explains Thomas. “Making a New Year’s resolution to think of simple ways to incorporate training into your day is a great one, with major benefits for you both.”
Add 10 Minutes to Your Daily Walk
Don’t have time for a super long walk every day? That’s OK. Adding just 10 minutes to your pooch’s daily walks has many benefits, even if those extra minutes don’t feel like much to you. “Like we say in fundraising, ‘every little bit counts,’” says Thomas. “A few minutes longer of a walk, a few minutes of fetch—whatever you can do to do something with your dog for a few more minutes will benefit both of you.”
For you, the extra minutes might result in reduced blood pressure, better health, and even a thinner waistline. “Dogs need to keep their weight down for their knees and joints and sometimes a ‘lose weight together’ plan can really change both your lives,” Thomas says.
Try One New Thing Every Week
Most people get stuck in a rut at one point or another, and your dog is no different, Thomas points out. “Dogs, however, are almost always up for an adventure—whatever you want to do they are happy to follow,” says Thomas. “So change things up and try to find ways to spice up your relationship with your dog.”
New things can take many forms: try a big hiking adventure, heading to a different park, trying a new doggie sport, or even just having a few training sessions. Adventures stimulate a dog’s brain much more than exercise, so loading up them in the car for a road trip at least once a week comes with lots of health benefits.
Switch to Better Food
High-quality dog food contains all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive and stay healthy, and it doesn’t contain any additives or fillers that provide little nutrition but tons of extra calories. So if you do just do one thing this year to improve your dog’s life, make it about switching to high-quality food.
Don’t forget treats as well! Cheap treats can contain a lot of poor quality ingredients and a lot of calories that can lead to weight gain and tummy troubles. Make a resolution to make sure (pretty much) everything your dog eats this year is of the best quality.