It’s well known that when setting a New Year’s resolution, we are more likely to keep to it if we have someone to do it with. Even if you can’t find a human companion to keep you on track. Your dog won’t let you down. So why not make some goals that will benefit you both this year.
Whether it’s losing a few pounds, getting fit or taking up a new hobby. Your dog can keep you company, motivate you and make sure you both have lots of fun too. So we’re sharing five ways to start off the New Year with your dog.
Resolution 1 daily walk
One of the joys of having a dog is the daily walk. Fresh air, exercise and a chance to explore the neighbourhood.
But surprisingly, one in five dog owners doesn’t take their dog for a daily stroll. Many owners believe that a run around the yard provides all the exercise that a dog needs.
However, a daily walk isn’t just about our dog’s physical needs. Not only does a regular stroll provide much needed mental stimulation, preventing boredom. But it’s a perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your dog.
Why not vary your walks depending on how you’re both feeling. Try to mix things up with brisk walks, slow walks, sniffing walks and even walks where you allow your dog to choose the route.
Not only will this keep your dog happy but it will get you fit too.
Resolution 2 learn something new
Just as we find learning something new rewarding, so do our dogs. Why not kick off the New Year by teaching your dog a new trick?
Training your dog has enormous benefits. Brainwork tires out a dog much more efficiently than physical exercise.
This not only prevents unwanted behaviours that often occur when dogs are bored. But it’s an ideal method of bonding with your dog.
What’s more, you’ll learn a lot about how smart your dog is and get to show off your training skills.
Resolution 3 join a club
Sharing activities with other people are fun. So why not find a local club where you and your dog can meet new friends.
With so many options available it can be overwhelming. But play to you and your dog’s strengths. Are you both energetic and adventurous? If so why not try agility.
Is your dog ball obsessed? Then Flyball might be the place for you. Have you got a high energy northern breed that likes to pull? Get them involved in sledding.
If you still can’t decide, a great place to start is with Nose Work. Nose Work is almost universally enjoyed by dogs. Not only do they get to engage in an activity that is inherently rewarding but it can be done anywhere.
Even if you have a dog that’s not happy with social interactions, the structure of a Nose Work workshop means that your dog can still attend safely.
Joining a club is a fun way to meet other, like-minded people and get your dog involved in a new activity.
Resolution 4 try a new recipe
While it’s easy to get into a rut with food. Trying something new adds some excitement to mundane meals.
Well, it’s the same for our dogs. Though many dogs will happily chow down on the same kibble day after day. Adding something novel keeps your dog motivated which is especially useful when you’re teaching your dog a new trick.
There is no shortage of recipes for do-it-yourself dog treats. But if you’re unsure where to start check out the simple recipes here.
While treats guarantee your dog’s interest in you remember to take any extra calories out of your dog’s daily food allowance or you’ll end up adding ‘lose weight’ to next year’s resolution list.
Resolution 5 ditch the bowl
While this resolution might seem to be solely for the enjoyment of your dog, you’ll reap the benefits too.
Although food is such a huge part of our dog’s day, it often only lasts for a few seconds. Whether you’ve got a dog that bolts their meals or a dog that spends some time savouring their food.
Ditching your usual dog bowl for an interactive food dispensing toy or slow bowl feeder will enrich your dog’s life immensely.
Not only does working for food engage your dog’s brain, but many dogs find hunting for food exciting.
Even if you haven’t got the budget to buy a new type of bowl, there are many ways of interactive feeding that doesn’t need additional equipment.
Simply scattering food in the backyard or in the long grass will engage your dog’s natural foraging instincts. While rolling treats in an old towel will test your dog’s problem-solving capabilities.
While the aim is to provide your dog with a challenge. If it’s your dog’s first time at working for food, it’s important not to make the tasks too tricky as it will only frustrate your dog and won’t be enjoyable.
So what’s the benefit to you? Well apart from watching your dog have fun, working for food is tiring.
What’s more, interactive feeding is perfect for dogs that bolt their meals. Slowing food intake helps prevent issues such as bloat which can be deadly.
New Year with dogs
Whatever New Year’s resolution you’re making this year why not team up with your dog? Not only are dog’s great motivators. But they’re enthusiastic and always up for trying something new.
Whether you’re taking on one challenge or many this coming year. Having your dog by your side is the ideal way to start the New Year.
From all of us at PracticalPaw we wish you good luck and a very Happy New Year.