With a new year comes new resolutions and the hope to improve upon yourself. I am a bad dog mom at times. Many days I tell Zeus to go lay back down on his bed because I don’t want to get up in the morning or I skip the weekend dog park trip even though I know that he needs to let out some pent up energy. Next year, I plan to do better at these things and a handful of others. If you are anything like me, and want to be a better mom to your pet – check out some of the New Year’s resolution ideas I have come up with for 2017.
COMMIT TO PROPER EXERCISE
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is improving upon your fitness. People aren’t the only ones who need to get proper exercise – our dogs need it too! Make a resolution to take more time to make sure your dog has gotten enough exercise.
- Daily Dog Walks or Runs: Commit to a run or a long walk everyday. Set the alarm clock a little earlier or do it first thing when you come home.
- Daily Fetch: If you dog is ball driven, often a game of fetch can be a good workout. Take a 20 minutes out of your day to throw the ball for your pup.
- Weekend Dog Park Trips: Spend an hour at the dog park on Saturday or Sunday. Your pet will love to run around off-leash and play with the other dogs at the park.
COMMIT TO TRAINING
Training a dog is not easy, and sometimes it can be downright frustrating. This year, commit to taking the time to train your dog. Maybe you need to improve upon things (jumping, barking, chewing etc.), maybe you want to learn something new, or maybe you have no training at all and need the basics (leash pulling, sit, stay, lay down, etc.) – whatever stage you are at with your dog, there is usually always room for improvement. I know that one of my resolutions will be to work with Zeus on jumping. We taught him how to “jump up” and give a hug, and it has backfired on us.
- Sign up for a training course: If we didn’t take our dog to basic obedience classes, he would be a handful. I highly recommend taking a training course (either in a group setting or one-on-one) if you are looking to improve.
- Use YouTube: YouTube is an EXCELLENT resource for finding out how to do things, like train a dog. Check out the millions of videos they have to offer and you are sure to find the help you need.
- Add it to your calendar: A lot of New Year’s resolutions fall through because people forget to so them. I like to add things to my calendar so I have a reminder.
COMMIT TO INCREASING SOCIALIZATION TIME
The ability for a dog to behave in a calm manner around new animals, new people and new places comes with heavy socialization. The more your dog experiences, the more likely they are going to be able to handle new situations.
- Doggy Play Dates: Set up doggy play dates with friends. If you are in need of dog friends check out the BarkHappy mobile app – here you can find dogs in your area to play with.
- Visit Dog Parks: A great place to socialize your dog is a dog park. Lots of dogs of different shapes and sizes along with lots of new people make this a trip full of new experiences.
- Bring Your Dog Somewhere New: Take them downtown on busy streets, for a hike in the wilderness, over to a new friends house, bring them to a beach and have them see the water.
COMMIT TO REGULAR HYGIENE
I know that I slack in this area. Zeus has short hair, and I often forget that he needs to have regular baths too. I also DREAD nail trimming. It terrifies me. One of my resolutions this year will include marking my calendar to remind myself when my dog is due for a bath or a nail trim.
- Schedule grooming appointments in advance: Instead of waiting for Fluffy to look like a mop, schedule her next grooming visit when you are there.
- Set reminders for nail clipping and ear cleaning: I am terrible at remembering to clip my dog’s nails or clean his ears. If you are like me, it helps to set a reminder for yourself so you don’t forget this important upkeep.
INVEST IN YOUR DOG’S HEALTH
Being healthy is another common resolution for people. Making sure your dog is healthy should always be a priority. If you’ve been slacking lately, it’s ok! Just add it to your list of resolutions.
- Bringing to vet for check up: Is your dog up-to-date on shots? When was the last time they had a checkup? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
- Upgrading the dog food: What are you feeding your dog? Make sure you are providing them a high quality dog food that is giving them all of the nutrients they need. If you are questioning what type of food is right for your dog, consult with your veterinarian.
- Measure the Dog Food: If your dog is over weight, make sure you are measuring out his or her portion sizes to avoid giving extra food.
- Stay on Top of Heart Worm, Flea/Tick Prevention: Mark it on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone.
CONSIDER TAKING IN ANOTHER DOG
- Adoption: If you are considering bringing a new dog into your life in 2017, consider adopting instead of going through a breeder or pet store. There are so many dogs out there that are waiting at shelters and humane societies who need homes.
- Fostering: Have you tried out fostering before? Help out dogs for a short period of time while they search for their forever homes.
- Donate to a local rescue or shelter: If you are like me and know you don’t have the time commitment to invest in another dog this next year, donate to a local rescue or animal shelter instead. You’ll still be giving back in some way!
SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR DOG
This is something we can all probably work on. With social media updating every second and so many options on Netflix, you can become consumed with things to do and forget your dog hasn’t gotten that quality time in ages. Make a point to set aside time with your dog this year.
- Put down the phone/tablet/computer
- DVR your show and watch it later
- Less Netflix
UPDATE THEIR I.D. TAGS/GET I.D. TAGS
When was the last time you updated your dog’s I.D. tag? Have you moved or gotten a new cell phone number? Make sure your dog’s tag is up to date in case that time were to come where they end up lost and away from home.
Here’s to hoping that you and I can become better pet parents in 2017! Wishing you all the best of luck.