Hello and welcome to Dog Works Radio. I am Michele Forto, the lead trainer for Alaska Dog Works. Now that the busy Christmas season is behind us lets kick off the new year right with some resolutions for your dog. That’s right let your dog motivate you to not only get out and do more with your canine companion but also take steps to ensure that they stay healthy. Do you know what works great for keeping new years resolutions? Accountability. Why don’t you hit pause and head over to our Facebook group, Alaska Dog Works Discussion Group and join. Throughout the year we will see how each of us are doing and make sure we encourage everybody!
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Did you know that the success rate of keeping New Year’s resolutions is only about 10%? We can change that can’t we? Let’s start off the new decade right and resolve to focus on one or a few things that really interest you. Here are a few resolutions that you can make for you and your dog and you both will be happy at the end of the year!
Simple ideas for dog-related resolutions are plentiful. Here are ten possibilities.
1. Leave that cell phone in your pocket on walks so that you are truly present and spending time with your dog. It’s the time you spend together that builds the relationship, and this is one of the easiest ways to enjoy each other’s company.
2. Try a new activity with your dog. Classes in agility, tracking, fly ball are common in many areas. Hiking, weight pulling, dock jumping, herding, lure coursing and canine freestyle are just a few of the other possibilities. You can even join our new Adventure Dog Club.
3. Provide better nutrition for your dog. This is a big task for most of us, but even a few simple steps can make a difference. Try a higher quality dog food, add fresh vegetables to your dog’s diet or vow to measure your dog’s food for every meal so there’s no risk of overfeeding. Remember that if you use treats they are sometimes high in calories so take that into account.
4. Give back to the canine community. There are so many ways to help out such as walking an elderly neighbor’s dog, volunteering at a shelter or rescue, fostering a dog, or giving money to an organization that improves the lives of animals.
5. Teach your dog something new. Practical training skills such as walking nicely on a leash, waiting at the door or a solid stay all pay big dividends. Other possibilities are to teach your dog a new game so you can play together more. Fetch, tug, find it, hide and seek, and chase games are all options, though depending on your dog, not every game may be a good fit. The AKC has a couple great programs, The STAR Puppy and the Canine Good Citizen that are sure to be rewarding to both you and your dog.
6. This one is very important and necessary. Make plans for your dog in the event that you die first. Financial planning so you can provide for your dog when you are no longer here as well as making arrangements for someone to be the guardian for your dog are two important steps. We are in the process of doing this ourselves. We are setting up a trust for our sled dog team.
7. Give your dog more exercise. This can be daunting so plan to make one small improvement to start. Perhaps add ten minutes to a weekend walk or set up a play date with a dog buddy a couple of times a month. When it comes to increasing activity, every little bit helps, so taking one step in the right direction is a wonderful goal at this, or any, time of year. Did you know that you can often take your canine buddy on those 5K runs and other community events? Some cities even have them especially for dogs!
8. Take better care of your dog’s teeth. Consult with your veterinarian about a dental cleaning or about brushing at home. Dental care helps improve overall health and can make your dog’s breath more pleasant, too.
9. Make plans in case of a medical emergency. Whether it is putting aside a little in savings each month or investigating pet insurance, the peace of mind that you’ve got it covered in the event of an emergency is worth a lot.
10. Go new places with your pet. Novelty is great fun for most dogs, so try to go a few new places this year. Perhaps a new pet store or a new hiking trail will provide your dog with an experience that is really enjoyable.
Love them or hate them, New Year’s resolutions are common this time of year. Do your plans include any dog-oriented New Year’s resolutions?
Be sure to check us out on our social channels by searching for dog works radio and as always check out Alaska dog works.com for training tips, tricks, and advice all year long.
Let’s make 2020 doubly special!