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Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions: Why Not Include Your Dog?
As we throw away that last piece of holiday fudge and move into a new year full of new potential and fresh starts, I can’t help but wonder how many of our typical New Year’s resolutions can serve a dual purpose involving our dogs.
According to a USA.gov survey, the top 10 New Year’s resolutions range from managing stress to losing weight. So, as a dog trainer always looking for win/win situations, I can’t help but wonder how many of the most popular New Year’s resolutions can be redesigned in a way that benefits us as well as our dogs We all know that a family with a well-behaved dog is a happier family in general.
So let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular resolutions:
- Get fit
- Save money
- Manage stress
- Volunteer to help others
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Make a trip
- Drink Less Alcohol
- Manage Debt
- Get a better education
Now let’s take a look at how these resolutions can be adapted in a way that benefits both dogs and people:
- Get fit – It seems easier to stick to a fitness routine when you have a fitness buddy who keeps you honest. If your New Year’s resolution is to exercise twenty minutes a day, why not create an exercise program where your dog can join you? It’s the ultimate win/win situation. You get your exercise in and your dog gets a chance to burn off some excess energy…and you get a chance to bond. Exercising with your dog is not only good for both bodies, it’s good for both souls.
- Save money – Store-bought treats can be very expensive and full of preservatives. As opposed to paying too much money for a bag of too few treats, why not pull out that dehydrator you got a few birthdays ago and use it to make your own dog jerky. The next time you and your family have leftover meat that you planned to throw away, I recommend cutting the leftovers into small treat-sized pieces and drying them in the dehydrator. Not only will you reduce your food waste, you’ll also be able to stock up on some inexpensive and preservative-free dog treats. If you don’t have a dehydrator, no problem. You can still use your leftover meat…just be sure to refrigerate your delicious treat bag to keep them fresh.
- Manage stress – I have been training dogs for long enough to know that a dog that abuses itself or is not properly trained can cause a lot of trouble for a family. So make this the year you enroll your dog in a basic hearing class to get those skills going. If yourproblems go beyond basic potty training, I recommend getting some assistance at home to get your pup’s bad habits under control once and for all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the dog you’ve always dreamed of and finally have that stress gone?
- Volunteer to help others – If you find yourself in the market to add a dog to your family, consider adopting a dog from your local shelter. There are many great dogs that need good homes.
- Stop smoking – Anyone who has ever tried to fight a smoking addiction knows that one of the hardest parts of quitting smoking is figuring out how to manage those cravings when common triggers present themselves. Redirection is something we do with dogs all the time. If puppies chew on something they shouldn’t, we refer them to an appropriate toy until it becomes a learned and acceptable habit. We recondition them. Well, that works with people too. So the next time you have that trigger-driving cup of coffee in the morning, reach for your dog and the leash instead of a cigarette. Your dog will appreciate going for a walk and you’ll be giving yourself a nice little boost from the natural chemicals you’re producing. You’ll get a buzz from exercise instead of smoking.
- Lose weight – The only thing better than a long, healthy life is living a long and healthy life with those you love. If you find yourself deciding where to take your weekly Saturday walk, why not find a dog-friendly place so your dog can come with you? You’ll both get a nice workout while getting a nice opportunity to bond. When you come home, your dog will be nice and soft, so you have a chance to try these smaller pants.
- Make a trip – Many people can’t take that vacation they’ve always wanted because they don’t feel comfortable leaving their dog behind. Today, there are many hotels that are dog friendly, as long as the dog is a Canine Good Citizen. Make this the year you train your dog to the point where passing that Canine Good Citizen test is easy so you can finally book that trip and take your dog
- Drink Less Alcohol – If you have a better way and more satisfaction with dogs, you will find that you need less spirits, because life will be more pleasant and less stressful. (ok, this one might be a stretch).
- Manage Debt – If your dog is on commercial dog food, consider putting him on a more natural diet. While the food may be a bit more expensive than your dog’s current diet, the money you save on additional vet visits and potential medication will offset this cost.
- Get a Better Educationn – Getting your pup well integrated into the dynamics of your household will provide more free time to achieve life’s bigger goals. By getting your dog the training, exercise, and diet upgrades you’ve had in the background, you can finally finish that Ph.D program. Who knew training your dog could be such a big step in catapulting your life to the next milestone?
Now that you can see how these changes are possible, make a plan to incorporate them as permanent lifestyle changes. You and your dog will see benefits, both long and short term.
Happy new year!
Chad Culp with http://www.ThrivingCanine.com/blog
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