Written by Aurus Sy
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 12/22/2021, edited: 12/29/2023
As another year comes to an end, many people are writing down their New Year’s resolutions for the coming year. A new year brings a new opportunity to improve one’s life. Why not do the same for your canine companion? Here are five New Year’s resolution ideas for dogs, plus tips on how to stick to them!
Is your pooch looking chunky lately? Then it’s time to hold the holiday leftovers and be more mindful of what you feed them. More than half of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, and too much body fat negatively impacts your best friend’s health and longevity. But this resolution doesn’t just apply to pups who need to shed extra pounds. Some dog food brands use low-quality ingredients, which can cause subtle, but long-term effects, such as increased shedding, gassiness, and chronically loose stools. So overweight or not, any dog can benefit from eating healthier food, whether that's a quality commercial dog food or homemade meals and treats.
Exercise is key to a happy and healthy life for both humans and canines. If your furry pal could use more physical activity, start by making small changes, whether it’s taking an extra stroll around the block on weekends, setting up a doggie play date twice a month, teaching your pup to swim or playing a few rounds of fetch before you leave for work. Increase your pup’s activity slowly; it may not seem like much at first, but every little bit helps and they’ll eventually reap the rewards. Regular exercise keeps your pooch agile, increases metabolism, builds confidence, and more!
Our four-legged family members are curious creatures, and giving them the chance to learn something new will keep them happy and mentally stimulated. Whether your pup is starting with the basics like sit and stay, walking nicely on a leash, or even dog surfing, they’ll appreciate it! Training classes and in-home sessions are also great opportunities to spend more time with your woofer. And for many dogs, there’s nothing they want more than being with their favorite person!
Dogs like experiencing new sights, smells, and sounds, so try to bring them to a few places they haven’t been to yet this year. There are so many places to check out with your canine sidekick! You can stay close to home and hit up all the dog-friendly shops and restaurants in town, or you could go on a road trip and explore the parks and trails along the way. Always consider your pup’s comfort level when making travel plans; if they’re not used to long trips, stick to local spots and staycations.
Socialization is an important part of a dog’s life. As much as your pup loves you, they need canine friends too! Arrange regular play dates with your friends’ or family members’ dogs, or go to a local dog park where your pooch can meet new pals. If your dog is shy or missed out on early puppy socialization, walk them near the dog park first before letting them mingle with the other canines. Remember, it's never too late to socialize you dog.
With all our good intentions, many New Year’s resolutions fail, with some being abandoned as early as the first week of January. Here are some tips to set you and your canine BFF up for success so you can have a pawsome new year together!
Set the resolution as a specific plan. For example, instead of saying, “Fido and I will exercise more,” say, “Fido and I will walk an additional 10 minutes on Monday and Thursday mornings.”
Start small and be realistic. What’s a goal that both of you can easily achieve? Using the previous example, compare walking an extra few minutes twice a week with hiking a couple of miles every day. Which one are you more likely to sustain over a long period?
Track your journey. Use a journal or habit tracking app to keep tabs on your progress.
Reward small wins along the way. This keeps things fun and motivating!
Get accountability. Make the resolution with a family member, or a friend and their pup.
Learn from setbacks. Missed one of your pup’s daily training sessions because you were too tired from work? Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, see what you can do to prevent it from happening again.
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