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Christmas is over and so is another year.  If you are like me, you have to wonder where the year went.  Time goes by so quickly.  As the year ends, many of us reflect on the passing year.  What did you accomplish?  What would you like to improve?  Did you stick to your New Year’s Resolution? I like to write out the answers to these questions as a way to reflect and to figure out what I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year.

With a new year comes new beginnings. People make New Year’s Resolutions for themselves but what about their dog?  This year, try making a New Year’s Resolution that includes your dog.  So many people make resolutions but never follow through with them.  In order to make a resolution that you will actually do, keep it simple and make small changes.  Be sure to read to the end of the article where we discuss tips on how to make New Year’s Resolutions that you will keep.

1. Be More Active

This is a very popular New Year’s Resolution and one that many people do not follow through with.  By including your dog in your resolution you will have a great reason to actually become more active.  Go for daily walks with your dog.  Invest in a HERE.  If you are already going for daily walks, change the route or increase your distance. Go for a walk with a friend who can bring their dog along too.  Your dog will love this resolution and being included in it.

2. Try A New Activity

There are so many sports and activities that you and your dog can participate in together.  Check some of them out!  In the winter you can try snow shoeing or cross country skiing.  Your dog can tag along and enjoy the time outdoors with you.  There are sports that you can try with your dog like agility or disc dog.  There are usually clubs or trainers that train for these events all year long.  Ask around to find a trainer in your area and give it a try. Be creative and find an activity or sport that you and your dog both enjoy.

3. Teach Your Dog A New Trick Each Month

This is a fun thing that you and your dog can do together.  By the end of the year, your dog will have 12 new tricks to show off to your friends. 

Simple things like “sit pretty”, “shake a paw”,  “play dead”, “roll over”, etc are great tricks to teach your dog.  Teaching tricks is a good way to provide mental stimulation while increasing the bond with your dog at the same time.

4. Rotate Your Dog’s Toys

Rotating your dog’s toys on a weekly or even monthly basis makes him feel like he is constantly getting new toys.  Just when he gets tired of his toys, new ones appear.  He will always have toys that will be interesting and feel like new to him.  Some people even take this another step further and rotate dog toys with their friends.  This is a great idea too but just be cautious if the other dog is a toy destroyer.  All toys should be cleaned and disinfected before being shared as well.

Free Dog Training Workshop

5.  Work on any behavior problems.

Does your dog jump up on people when he meets them?  Does he bark at people walking on the street?  If your dog has a problem behavior this is the perfect time to work on it.  With consistent training and time, even the most problem behaviors can improve or be changed.

6.  Plan a vacation with your dog.

Plan a dog friendly get-away.  There are so many dog friendly hotels and resorts now that taking your dog along with you on vacation has never been easier.  This year, plan to take him with you.  Make the best of your time together and plan lots of fun dog related activities on your trip.

7.  Maintain a healthy weight.

If your dog has a few extra pounds now is the time to start a weight loss plan.  If you aren’t sure if your dog is overweight you can tell by seeing if you can feel his ribs.  At an ideal weight you should be able to feel your dog’s ribs but they shouldn’t be protruding.  If your dog has a few extra pounds to lose, get active!  Get outside and go for a hike or play fetch.  Your dog will love the extra time with you and it will be good for his health at the same time.

8.  Take your dog somewhere new each month.

Getting your dog out and around new situations and new environments is very good for him.  Socialization isn’t just something that should be done at the puppy stage.  To have a well rounded, happy dog lifelong socialization activities should be done.  Take him fun places that are dog friendly.  Always make sure that these places are safe for dogs.  Not all dog owners are responsible and having an out of control dog harass or attack your dog will ruin your outing.

9.  Sign up for a class together.

If there is always something that you wanted to try with your dog to see if he liked it, why not sign up for a class.  There are so many options from trick training to freestyle to rally obedience, just to name a few.  Take a look around your area to see what classes are being offered and sign yourself up.  It may just end up being your dog’s next favorite activity…and yours too!

Well, there you have it.  Our top 9 New Year’s Resolutions for you and your dog.  Lots of great ideas to keep you and your dog busy for the year.  So, how do you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?

Tips For Making New Years Resolutions That You Will Keep:

1. Keep It Simple

Don’t resolve to change your whole life.  Write down your goals, read them over and pick one or two that you would like to work on for the year.  Choose the goals that would have the greatest impact on your life, improving your health and lifestyle.

2.  Be Realistic.

Don’t set goals for yourself that are unobtainable.  If you know that one of your goals is nearly impossible at this point in your life, pick something that you know you can achieve if you set your mind to it.

3.  Break Large Goals Down Into Smaller Chunks.

For example, if your goal is to teach your dog better manners, break that down into smaller chunks.  Teach him to sit when greeting people, once he is consistently doing that, move on to teaching him to sit patiently when waiting for his food, etc.  Once you achieve one goal, move on to the next one.  If you have a larger goal, this is the ideal way to make sure that you can achieve it.

Dog Planner Management Binder

4.  Set A Time Frame For Your Goals.

In order to motivate yourself, set a time frame for each of your goals.  Make sure that your time frame is realistic so that you can stick to it.

5.  Don’t Give Up.

If at some point you fall off track, don’t give up.  Sit down, review your goals and set up a new time frame to accomplish them.  Setting up a support system with a friend can be very helpful.  Never give up on yourself, you can do this!

What is your New Year’s Resolution?  Does it include your dog?  Be sure to let us know!

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