As 2015 draws to a close and 2016 is right upon us, people all over the country start looking to the new year itself, and of course, this often comes down to well-meaning discussions and ambitious plans for changes that can be made in the coming year-New Year’s resolutions!
One common element that New Year’s resolutions often share for people everywhere is that when the good intentions of January have passed, things fall by the wayside and gradually, start to slip, and often, by February, the resolutions and plans of New Year’s Eve become a distant memory!
Dog owners might want to consider making some specific resolutions for themselves and their dogs too for the start of 2016, but in order to ensure that you start as you mean to go on and don’t end up aiming so high that you lose the momentum and drive to continue, it is important to make your resolutions achievable and positive, so that you maintain your interest in them as you start to see results.
In this article, we will share five suggestions for New Year’s resolutions for dog owners that are achievable, realistic, and that if done properly, will not run out of steam by February!
In order to enrich your dog’s life and provide opportunities for bonding with them and keeping them happy, it is a great idea to find a fun, interesting new hobby or activity that you can do with your dog, regardless of their age or breed! There are a huge range of canine sports, activities and hobbies that dog owners can take part in from agility to flyball to group hikes, and so look into what is on offer in your local area and what might be a good match for your dog.
Review the offerings with your dog’s age, interests and physical condition in mind, and try to find something that your dog will enjoy and that will be a positive addition to their lives for both them and yourself.
Committing to lengthening your dog’s walks by just ten extra minutes each time is a really easy, low hassle way to make a positive change to your dog’s lifestyle that will have a positive effect on both of you! Just ten minutes longer per day spent exercising, walking and exploring can have a very positive impact on your dog’s waistline, physical fitness and general enrichment, as well as your own!
If you own an adult dog that is generally responsive and obedient and follows your commands, you might think that those early days of fine tuning your dog’s commands and obedience are well behind you, and that you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours.
However, training should be an ongoing process for dogs that does not stop at a certain point in their lives, and short, regular training sessions should be fun and interesting for your dog, keep them well trained and under control, and even keep their mental agility sharp well into old age!
Spend ten minutes or so just once or twice a week working on your dog’s training commands and possibly teaching them new ones, and make it fun and interesting for your dog too.
Even the very best trained and most obedient of dogs often have one minor issue or failing that isn’t really ideal, but if it does not cause a regular or pronounced issue, these things are often ignored by owners!
Whether this be pulling on the lead, pushing in front of people at doorways or barking when someone comes to the door, these long-term underlying issues can all stand to be addressed, and while these things take time to sort out once they have become an established pattern, they are well worth it in the long run!
Finally, while we all know that fireworks and bangs are going to happen every bonfire night and New Year ’s Eve without fail and that dogs are often upset by such things, the rest of the year when bangs and noise are not an ongoing concern means that it is often brushed under the carpet and forgotten about until next time.
While there are certain steps that you can take when fireworks are going off in the moment to keep your dog calm and less stressed, being able to handle fireworks night and other events when fireworks are going off relies upon working with your dog over a prolonged period of time to desensitise them to the shock when they do happen for real.
Make one of your resolutions this year to start working with your dog from the very beginning of the year to get them used to bangs and other loud, surprising noises, so that when November 2016 does finally roll around, you can congratulate yourself on a job well done!