8 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Dog

  1. Commit to Daily Walks
    1. Yes, even in January! Daily walks are important for your dog’s mental and physical health. Not only are they getting exercise, but you are also exposing them to the world. They receive mental stimulation as they see and hear other dogs, neighbors, cars, and hopefully a squirrel or two. 
    2. You can level up your daily walks by incorporating training exercises into your walks, such as threshold training prior to leaving the house, listening to commands when there are distractions (squirrels), and walking loosely on their leash. Check out #3 on this list to learn where to get help with training! 
    3. Can’t commit the time to daily walks? Consider checking into All Critter Care if you’re local or a similar dog walking service!
  2. Visit the Vet for a Check-Up and Boosters 
    1. Whether it’s been a minute since you’ve gone or several years, it’s never too late to go back and make sure your dog is up to date on shots and in good health. Cheap Pricks
  3. Enroll in Training Classes
    1. Turns out you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Or a young dog old tricks. Consider enrolling in canine training courses to build new skills or add new challenges to boost confidence and provide enrichment for your dog.
    2. Our favorite trainer in the area is Kristen Duhr through the Canine Crusade. Kristen offers private sessions and weekly group classes, in-person and virtual! Covering everything from basic commands to reactivity, Kristen has over 20 years of experience and would love to help make this New Year’s Resolution a reality. (Disclaimer: We are VERY biased.)
  4. Improve Diet 
    1. Review your dog’s feeding habits. Have you read the ingredients on the back of their food bag? Do you measure out their food each and every time? Does your dog get human food by begging at the dinner table? 
    2. While your dog may be young and have a high metabolism, it’s important to establish healthy habits now to provide the foundation for a long, healthy life.
  5. Spend More Quality Time Together
    1. And no, we don’t mean watch 14 consecutive hours of The Office snuggled up on the couch.
    2. Quality time means that you are actively engaged with your dog. This could be walking, hiking, training, or participating in other enrichment activities. 
  6. Update Identification Info
    1. Have you moved since getting your pet or changed phone numbers? Be sure to update your information! This is critical in situations where your pet is lost in order to get them back to you as quickly as possible. 
    2. If you have an escape artist on your hands, consider looking into GPS devices like tracking collars or Apple Airtags. These devices can assist you in actively tracking your dog’s movements, rather than relying on the microchip being scanned once your pup is found. 
  7. Educate Yourself on First Aid
    1. Accidents happen. Knowing some first aid basics could make a huge difference in your dog’s recovery chances in the event of an emergency. This is especially important now when many vets are overflowing with patients. Cheap Pricks vet Dr. Chris Landrum recommends checking out the American Veterinary Medical Association to learn the fundamentals. Read more here.
  8. Learn How to Communicate
    1. Communication with canine friends goes beyond just training commands. 
    2. This year, make an effort to learn more about what your dog is communicating with their behavior and body language. For example, is your dog wagging their tail because they are excited or anxious? 
    3. Understanding the ways dogs communicate will help you learn more about your dog and their needs to be a better owner. Check out these 31 behaviors and their meanings to get started!

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