That time has arrived when we think back on the year that has passed and wonder what we could have done better. On second thought, JUST FORGET 2020!
As, ahem, ruff a year as this was, there are great times ahead, including many with your pooch. You can make them even better. Don’t think of the following suggestions as resolutions, which rarely stand the test of time (and by that we mean “still a thing by February”). Simply commit to developing new habits that will help your beloved companion be the best dog they can be.
You CAN teach an old dog a new trick!
Most dogs have a few go-to moves when they want to impress. Shaking a paw, rolling over, and maybe even playing dead are some of the standards. Think about adding another trick to the arsenal. There are a ton of YouTube videos showing how teaching a dog a new trick can be both painless and lots of fun. “Sit pretty” and “take a bow” are just a couple of the tricks you can work on as we head into the depths of winter. The training sessions don’t have to be too long and you will need some healthy treats. Like you need an excuse to spend more time with the pup!
We sometimes take our dogs’ needs for granted. Sure, they love walks and will do their best to earn treats. But what dogs want most is that companionship and sharing fun times with their hooman parents. “We build a deeper connection with a dog when we play with them rather than just feeding them,” says LTDO friend and expert trainer Jason Shute, of Shute Balanced Dog Training. The key is finding out what kind of play your dog loves most. Are they fetchers, big fans of a tug-o-war, or even bubble chasers? Just unearth the activities that make your dog tick and you will enjoy much more quality time in the future, as well as building a stronger bond.
Call the vet
Our dog’s good health is critical to both them and us. Stay on top of it by booking your annual visit with the vet to ensure all is well with your dog’s eyes, ears, teeth, skin, and more. It’s the best way to keep them on a healthy track. And annuals aside, be aware of anything irregular with your pup’s typical behaviour. That might a bout of lethargy, no interest in eating, or a noticeable change in poops, among other things. Like us, they need to see doc at least once a year.
Treats are an important part of our toolbox as dog owners. They help with training and rewards. But it can be easy to overdo it and add some unnecessary calories to our dog’s diet. In addition to your favourite protein treats, consider supplementing them with some healthy alternatives. You can’t go wrong with yummy apples (slices, with no core), cucumbers, or carrots. Many dogs love these fruit and veg options, which also contain a lot of water. So let them have more of that good stuff in 2021.
Get your steps in
Make a commitment to get more walks in for you and your best pal. It’s not only great for the dog, the more numbers you can rack up on your Fitbit, the better. In addition to the exercise, walks are a time for you and your dog to share experiences, discover, and provide something all of us can use right now, a chance to clear your mind.
And remember, when life is busy and you don’t have the opportunity to get the dog outside as much as you would maybe like, we know where you can get some help! 😉 Click here to see a list of LTDO services.