It may be hard to believe, but once again the time has come to make our New Year’s resolutions. And since many of the promises we make ourselves might eventually fizzle out, we recommend trying something new this year: Make resolutions for your dog!
Whether you need to get back on track with his daily exercise or make that vet appointment you’ve been meaning to schedule, we’ve got plenty of ideas for goals to help your dog have a happier and healthier 2017. And, hey, maybe accomplishing your dog’s resolutions will inspire you to keep yours this year!
1. Get Healthy
What’s undoubtedly the most popular resolution among humans can apply to your dog, too! If your pooch has put on some extra weight this past year, or perhaps you’ve been slacking on taking him for walks, now is the perfect time to get back on track. You can even come up with indoor exercises you can do together. Talk to your vet about making a diet and exercise plan you can stick to.
2. Learn something new.
Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Whether you’ve got an adult dog who hasn’t learned any new commands in a while or a puppy who needs training, commit to teaching your dog something new this year. Pick something to impress your friends or one of these lifesaving commands that trainer Mikkel Becker says every dog should know.
3. Do something positive for others.
Start the year off on the right foot by being selfless and doing a good deed for someone else – like becoming a therapy animal team with your dog. If your dog has the right temperament and overall health for this kind of work, you both might enjoy volunteering your time at places like nursing homes, hospitals and schools.
4. Discover a new hobby.
Just as many humans resolve to try a new hobby, your pup can do the same. Once you get the green light from your vet, consider dog sports like agility, flyball, dock diving or even K9 Nose Work. Picking up an activity can boost your dog’s physical and mental well-being.
5. Take a trip.
Still haven’t taken that camping adventure you’ve been talking about for years? How about that road trip you mapped out months ago? There’s no time like the present! Brush up on some dog travel tips, pack the essentials and get going.
6. Kick bad habits.
So your dog tore through three pairs of slippers in the month of December alone. Or maybe he’s still begging at the dinner table and trying to steal scraps out of the trash can. Dedicate 2017 to getting a handle on bad habits, whatever they may be. Talk to your veterinarian for advice first. Afterward, check out some articles on www.vetstreet.com/ that cover the most common dog behavior problems, and if you need to, enlist the help of a trainer or veterinary behaviorist.
7. Send an update.
One of our favorite New Year’s resolutions is promising to reconnect with people we’ve fallen out of touch with – and you can do the same for your dog. If you adopted him from a shelter or rescue group, take some time to send them an update on how he’s doing. We know volunteers will be thrilled to hear from you and see pictures of your dog enjoying his forever home.
8. Get a fresh do.
What better time than the New Year to reinvent yourself? And how better to do it than with a new haircut? Treat your canine to a trip to the groomer – a fresh haircut might just put a little spunk in his step at the dog park!
9. Meet new friends.
We’re sure you’ve heard all about how important socialization is for puppies, but it’s also vital at every stage of your dog’s life. To help him socialize or make new friends, consider visiting your local dog park or scheduling a playdate with friendly neighborhood dogs. Who knows – you may end up expanding your own social circle in the process!
10. Most importantly, go to the doctor.
This is perhaps the most important resolution. If you’ve been putting off scheduling his next veterinary appointment, don’t wait any longer. We can’t overstate the importance of regular exams and preventive care, because staying on top of your dog’s appointments can help you catch many health problems before they progress.