Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for You and Your Dog

I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions; I figure I should be working on myself all year long instead of just once a year. But then I started thinking about my dog Yankee and wondering if I should make some resolutions that include him. What about playing with him more? What about better training? So with that thought in mind, here are just a few ideas if you’re looking for resolutions for you and your dog.

• Spend more time with your dog. Dogs are pack animals and want to be around us. (Isn’t that one of the reasons why you got a dog in the first place – to have him around?) For example, take him with you when you run errands, when you’re window shopping, at an outdoor restaurant, or going to the farmer’s market. Whenever you’re going to be outside is a perfect opportunity to take your dog along.

• Take him for longer walks or walks more often. This will not only help his health but yours as well.

• Engage his mind. Teach him new tricks, work on his training, or involve him in new activities that stimulate his mind. It helps to keep him young and vibrant. You really can teach old dogs new tricks!

• Help your dog lose weight if he needs to. Look at diet options, food changes and exercise choices to make sure he loses the weight. Being overweight is very detrimental to your dog’s longevity, so if you love him as I know you do, get tough and get the weight off.

• Look at opportunities to get involved in competitive events if you think your dog would be interested in that. It’s not about winning; it’s about stimulation, exercise, fun, and bonding with your dog.

• Regularly massage your dog. You’ll help him stay healthy and live longer.

• Involve your dog in therapy work and community service if you think he has the disposition for that. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, children’s hospitals, reading programs, etc. are wonderful opportunities to volunteer with your dog.

I know I can work on several of these ideas for Yankee, and as one who doesn’t make resolutions, I will do my best to try to keep the resolutions I make about him. What about you?

Best wishes for a happy New Year for you and your dog!

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