Every year we make resolutions for ourselves that cover just about every aspect of our lives. Do your resolutions ever include your dog? If they had a say in the matter I am sure they would have a list a mile long. Improving our dog’s life in some way should definitely be at the top of the list. Ask yourself a few questions about your dog’s lifestyle to narrow it down a bit.
- Does my dog have any bad behaviors or something I want him to learn?
- Is he up to date on shots or had a recent exam?
- Do I have any concerns about his health like weight or tooth decay?
- Does he get enough exercise?
- How much time do we spend with him versus how much time he spends alone?
- Do we take him many places or let him interact with other pets and people often?
- Are we caring for his daily needs (hunger, hygiene, health, etc.) as best as we can or is there room for improvement?
Results of questions
As you go through the list of questions almost certainly a few things will stand out. Health and obedience would be top priorities but anything you choose will surely add happiness and possibly years to your dog’s life. These will be much easier to keep than any resolution you make for yourself. Listed below are some possible resolutions to choose from and a few ideas of how to follow through with them.
Correcting bad behavior or obedience training
Research the behavior you want to correct or the new behavior you want your dog to learn. You can choose to do this at home yourself, hire a trainer or take to group classes. A majority of misbehaviors and even tricks are much easier to teach your dog than most realize. Doing the training yourself will save you some money and will be an even more rewarding accomplishment. Set a daily or weekly schedule and a date for completion, to help you follow through.
Any training and time with your dog will grow the bond with them. Getting rid of bad behaviors will also reduce any stress on the relationships and you will both be happier for it. Send questions about specific behaviors or obedience training to firstname.lastname@example.org
Updating immunizations and exams
It’s extremely important to keep your dog up to date on immunizations and have your vet examine him yearly. If your pet has not seen the veterinarian in over a year, it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment. The vet can catch many diseases and illnesses early this way, saving a lot of money and heartache down the road. Make sure to discuss any concerns you have with the vet as well.
During the exam, have your dog’s teeth checked as well. Dental health can be a huge issue that is easily over looked. They can also show you how to care for your pets teeth at home.
Lose weight or more activity
If you feel your pet is overweight or simply does not get enough exercise, start changing that today. Set a goal to take your pet out for exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. You can vary with the dog park, walks, jogging, swimming, or even their training sessions. Maybe your dog would love some agility training. This is also a great idea if you feel you haven't been spending enough time with your dog. Socializing your dog can also be done at this time. Allow your pet to meet and interact with other pets and people while you’re out.
A good quality dog food is very important even if there is no weight issue. This will show a difference in the coat, skin, and muscle tone among other things. Portions should be based on age, size and activity level of the dog. Avoid table scraps completely as this can be very dangerous and even fatal. Animals do not digest many of these foods properly. It would be much better to have pet specific treats for them.
Identification tags and microchips
An identification tag should include all of your current contact info and be kept up to date. Sometimes they don’t have a collar on and that is where having a microchip placed inside your pet can be a good idea. Contact your local vet or shelter for information on where to have this done. The microchip contains all of your contact information so it is always with your pet, allowing another way for them to get home safely.
Dog proofing your home
This includes all those who just got their dog to those who have had them for years. Constantly analyzing your home to make sure it is safe for your pet need to be done regularly. You want to find these things before your pet does and it’s too late. There are electrical dangers and poisons in the things we use all the time so make sure your pet can’t get to anything that will harm him.
Good luck and most importantly have fun with your dog while you carry out one or all of these resolutions. One thing for sure is these will be more enjoyable than the ten pounds we need to lose or the garage that needs to be cleaned and organized. Your dog will be happier, healthier and love you even more for all your effort.