How was last year for you? How successful do you feel it went? Life is hard and there will always be ups and downs but maybe you can add a little spice to the things you can control. What about life with your furry friend? What would they say about last year? Most importantly, what can you do together this year? What New Year’s resolutions for your dog can you come up with whether they come from a shelter or not? 

Let’s Make this an Enriching Year 

Why do any of us keep animals at home? There’s the obvious cuteness of cats and dogs. Although, perhaps the thought of keeping reptiles seems odd to many but not all. Whatever kind of animal you feel most bonded with, it seems that pet keeping is a core part of who we are as humans, according to this article by The Washington Post on why we love pets

In some cases, pets help relieve stress, as we explained in our previous blog on socializing your dog. Of course, that comes with the assumption that you know how to look after your animal. Clearly, a cat or a dog who is overly confined or doesn’t have enough outdoor time will start showing behavioral problems. This increase stress for both them and their humans. 

As this paper on behavioral problems shows, living with a stressed pet causes unnecessary suffering to owners. That’s why it’s important to work with the shelter if you are adopting to make sure you know how your future dog’s or cat’s needs will suit your lifestyle. To give you an idea this summary of behavior patterns for dogs shows you their core needs. And if you’re a cat lover, here’s a summary about preparing for a cat. It also nicely summarizes the key requirements to make sure your cat is happy.

With all this in mind, you can create a fun environment at home with these ideas for New Year’s resolutions for your dog.

1- More walks 

Just like we start going around in circles when we’ve been indoors for too long, so dogs need to play and run outside. It sounds obvious, but how many people come home from a long day at work tired and hungry? The last thing they often want to do is to take their dog out for a walk. 

So, many cut corners and only go for a short walk. In the end, this builds up as frustration for your dog. Instead, great New Year’s resolutions for your dog include booking walks into your calendar. Set them up as a regular meeting in your work diary. That way, it becomes an easy routine that everyone will learn to respect, making it easier to stick to it. 

2- Don’t get embarrassed

Most dog owners are mortified when their dogs scoot their bum along the floor. It might look strange but perhaps just knowing what it’s about will help you overcome your embarrassment. 

As this article by the American Kennel Club on dog scooting explains, it’s linked to discomfort with their anal sacs. Dogs have anal sacs with glands that hold a fluid that releases an odor most probably linked to marking territory. It also explains why they sniff each other’s bums. 

A dog scoots when they need to relieve those glands of pressure. It’s also an indication that they might have parasites or allergies. A one-off scoot doesn’t usually matter but if it happens more frequently, it might be time for a visit to the vet.

3- Positive reinforcement

The ups and downs of emotions that we experience every day can make it difficult to stay calm in all situations. When your dog starts jumping up and down or barking when you’re trying to do an important call or perhaps when they have an accident and dirty the floor, you might lose your patience. We’re all human and we all get frustrated. Nevertheless, the more you lose your patience and get angry with your dog, the less likely you’ll have a well-behaved dog. 

It takes patience and compassion to encourage good behavior. The aim is to reward good behavior rather than get angry at bad actions. As this article on companion animal psychology explains, in the long run, positive reinforcement is far more powerful. It also allows you to develop a special bond and understanding such that, with time, you’ll feel that you truly understand each other.

4- Check up

We all know that a regular checkup with the doctor helps us manage our health and well-being. Dogs should also get at least a yearly check up with 6 monthly check ups for senior dogs who are over the age of about 7 or 8 years old. 

Moreover, a regular check up can show you the small things before they become too serious. A good regular checkup should involve a full blood test as well as an ultrasound to check for organ functionality.

5- Save for emergencies 

Things still go wrong in life and unfortunately medical issues are part of that. In some countries, you can find very good pet insurance which is useful to have on your list of New Year’s resolutions for your dog. Where insurance might not be possible, make sure you put aside a pot of money to cover any surprises such as surgery or long term illness management.

6- Explore new things 

Both dogs and cats are curious creatures. When it comes to new year’s resolutions for your dog though, try to include something around curiosity. Whether it means exploring a new park or meeting new friends, dogs get bored just as easily as we do. So, get creative and enjoy something new together.

new year's resolutions for your dog and cat

How Will You Define Your New Year’s Resolutions for Your Dog

Everyone has different reasons for getting a pet but if you’re looking for some fun New Year’s resolutions for your dog, consider both yours and their welfare. How can you enjoy the walks as much as they do? What fun positive reinforcement exercises can you create? Remember that exercise is as good for us as it is for them. 

Then, don’t forget the medical side of things and you’ll be set up for a successful year of bonding and companionship. There’s nothing more fulfilling than having a happy, loyal dog who can flourish in your family home.

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