New Year, new you, new dog!
It's a new year and time to start fresh. I bet a vast majority of human resolutions focus on diet, activity and fitness. Fido could benefit from a few similar resolutions too!
We're a few days past the deadline, but your dog doesn't know that! I'd say 360 days of a new routine is a great start!
Here are some suggestions for your dog's happy and healthy new year!
1. No more low quality-commercial food! I've said it before; just as YOU are what you eat, your DOG is too! Food that is packed with corn, soy and other low quality non-nutritive fillers is simply bad food. Poor quality food can lead to poor health and behavior issues. Food suggestions: Orijen, Honest Kitchen, Solid Gold, Wellness, Merrick.....there are tons of great foods out there! AND if you are up for it - cooking for your dog can be quite simple. Whipping up a week or two worth of food, forming little portioned out patties and freezing it can be done in a 1/2hr every two weeks!
2. Train Your Dog - Stop over thinking this project! Honestly, if you have an issue you want to tackle with your dog, take 10 minutes to look it up online or call a trainer and set up a lesson! Both you and your dog will sighwith relief once you do! Each passing day is an opportunity missed at changing your dog's behavior. Training with a humane and gentle trainer can strengthen the already deep bond you have with Fido. You'll be shocked at how easy training can be when broken into steps properly. Need a trainer? Check out www.apdt.org
3. Remind yourself your dog is a dog: You love that bundle of fur kid; but do not forget he is a DOG. This means, he will take opportunites to hump a leg or a slipper, drag your undies into the living room in front of guests, knock over your garbage can, and dart after an unsuspecting bird or squirrel. So, when these little things have you shaking your head with frustration or bewildrement; take a deep breathe and remember, HE IS A DOG. I'm not necessarily condoning all of this behavior, and want to remind you of the resolution suggestion above (TRAIN YOUR DOG!), but the truth is - he is doing what his natural wiring tells him to do. Avoid falling into the "but he KNOWS not to do that," trap. Dogs do not feel guilt or know they've been "bad" after peeing on your floor or tearing apart a garbage bag. They just feel relieved their bursting bladder is empty and satisfied after a good treasure hunt. Instead of feeling frustrated, train, manage and guide your dog. Love him and all his dogginess.
4. Create dog appropriate energy outlets - All active beings need energy outlets. If your dog is tearing apart your garbage or digging in your garden, he's sending you a message. "I AM BORED!" My kids send me this message if I try to pick up my phone for an adult conversation in the evening hours. I should be focusing on their activities; dinner, bath time and book time. My kids run, yell and throw things. Similarly, a dog will bark, dig and chew things. If parents don't provide activities, your bored energy ball WILL find something to do. Need energy outlets? Check out Modern Dog's list of boredom busters: http://www.moderndogmagazine.com/gallery/boredom-busters
5. Check in on your dog's equipment - More and more we are looking toward fashionable gear and equipment for our dogs' daily wear. This is all well and good, but be sure what your dog is sporting is of good quality with a focus on safety! Take time to make sure your tags are attached appropriately (on all 15 collars he wears) and be sure the clasps of your leashes are in good functioning order. My favorite equipment for safety; a martingale style collar, a "no pull" nylon harness (like the sense-ation harness) and a 4-6ft leather or nylon leash. They can all be decorative and fashionable, of course! Oh, and make sure that your microchip information is up-to-date. Did you change office jobs, move, or switch cell numbers this year?! If so, your microchip needs to be updated!
Warmest wags for a happy and healthy new year!