How to Finish Strong in 2020 with your Dog
Okay…you survived Thanksgiving 2020, heck you’ve survived the oddest year of recent times, now what? Stop! Take a deep breath, look down at your dog, see those loving eyes looking up at you…There’s your reason to START working on that proverbial New Year’s Resolution that you put on your list every single year! You know the one that says something like, lose weight, get more active, join a fitness club, maybe you start out on January 2nd and get a good groove going but then you tap out before Valentine’s Day. Well, this show is going to help you get started before you’ve even made that resolution list!
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Today I’m going to help you WIN 2020 by getting started on that proverbial New Year’s Resolution that never quite becomes a lifelong habit. Are you ready to beat the heck out of 2020? Are you ready to retake control of your world? Let’s do this! Grab that K9 Buddy of yours and its leash put on your favorite kicks and get ready!
Stretch it out before you go out!
Baby it’s cold outside! Be sure to stretch it out before you go out! Stretching is a great way to get you warmed up and ready to go for even a simple walk with your dog. Do a short three-to-five-minute stretching routine on yourself and then do one with your dog. For your dog work on some puppy push-ups. Sit, down, return to sit. But don’t do these too quickly, hold each command for at least thirty seconds before moving to the next. Then repeat three times. Next place the dog on sit, say wait, place the leash on. Then stand up and turn around with the dog, return to sit and take the leash off. This sounds ridiculous right! Well, this exercise alone will teach your dog some patience when it sees the leash or you’re trying to place it on. After you’ve done that three times. Then leave it on and simply walk your dog around the house up and down stairs etc. for about five minutes. At thresholds, have the dog wait and do a stand stay, or a sit stay, maybe even one or two down stays. Then head towards the door.
BONUS TIP: If the weather is too frightful, this routine alone will get you both warmed up and stretched out and can be repeated several times a day.
Out for a Walk
Now that we’re all warmed up and stretched out, let’s get outside. Now here’s something you may not be thinking about, you don’t have to brave those icy sidewalks or streets or that dark trail, simply work out in the driveway that you’ve cleared doing some of the same things you were doing inside. If you do that for another five minutes before heading out for the walk it will help your dog with patience and demonstrate to them that the walk is on your terms not theirs. Again, if the weather is too frightful, you can simply go back inside from the driveway. If your K9 Buddy is too excited – go back inside, try again later or the next day. The whole idea here is to develop patience so that you’re both moving your bodies, getting those endorphins going and here’s the biggest take away: DEVELOPING A ROUTINE that you’ll both be able to enjoy and stick with. Head out on your walk, determine if you and your dog are ready to walk the block or just go a few houses. Don’t punish yourself or your dog if it’s only a few houses, you can walk back and forth there as long as you want! Why? Because developing this routine is demonstrating to your K9 Buddy that you are in control on this walk and it’s not about them.
Be on the lookout for lose Reindeer, I mean MOOSE!
In all seriousness, in Alaska it doesn’t matter if you live in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Willow, or Kenai– Moose are afoot! They don’t care about roads, your trees or your freaked out K9 Buddy. All they care about is eating and eating more and eating even more. If you encounter a moose on your walk do not look at it in the eye, remain calm as you can and attempt to keep your dog calm and turn and walk the other direction while keeping an eye on the movement of the moose. Whenever I take dogs for walks here in Willow, even with all of the sled dog kennels in my neighborhood, I make noise this helps let the moose now we’re out here too and they should move along. So, no excuses not even if there’s a moose!
BONUS TIP: Using a bear bell on your dog helps to let the moose know you’re in their area too. I also always go out with a headlamp and use some type of reflective collar or light on my dog’s collar so we can be seen.
As you develop your routine and venture out farther and farther and for longer periods of time you and your dog will enjoy this time together more and more. Remember the idea is to start working on getting in better shape now during the holidays so that there’s less pressure to get started in the new year.
For fun! Here’s some of the top 10 Resolutions from some of my favorite K9 Buddies!
- Bodhi says: He wants to shed a few pounds in 2021 so eat less cookies!
- Raegan says: Take more naps – be less grumpy!
- Striker says: Getting my seizures under control with diet, exercise and medication feeling like a new dog already!
- Dutch says: He’s looking for a career change from sled dog extraordinaire to Dog’s Assisting with Grace therapy dog!
- Watson says: He loves going on car trip with Robert and hopes to get to do more in 2021.
- Ruby says: Put me in coach, I’m ready to LEAD!Practicing more and more so I can earn that top coveted position!
- Shock says: Gimme a bark Ruby!You’ve got a lot of miles to go to knock me out of position. Shock also says she’s looking forward to 2021 and meeting more of Robert’s students from the college.
- Falcor says: If I promise to bark less will I get more treats!
- Frosty says: Don’t let the name fool you, wake me up when December ends!!I look forward to spring runs – the trails are faster.
- Jagger says: We should all take a moment and look around, be thankful for what you have and always strive to be better!
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