Another January has come and gone. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolution? Have you fallen back into your old ways and maybe even given up? How about you canine companion? “What?” you say, “Dogs don’t make resolutions.”
Imagine for a moment that he did. Do you think he’d want to lose weight to fit into those skinny jeans by summer or vow to watch less TV?
Chances are, if you asked your dog what he’d want, he might ask for something as simple as going for a walk every day or spending more time with you. Maybe he’d appreciate a game of fetch before you head off to work in the morning or a hike on the weekends.
Heading outside can be a challenge in some parts of the country during the winter, with snow measured in feet or wind chills below 0. On those days, take refuge in your house and play games like “hide and seek”. Have him sit or lie down and “wait”, while you hide a toy in another room. Then tell him to “go find it” and watch what happens. If your dog is just learning the game, put the toy in the same room and watch him scramble to get it and bring it to you.
You can even play the game like you did when you were a kid-without the dog counting to 1 or 100, of course. You or someone else in your family can hide and call the dog to them. That game strengthens the dog’s recall; something that is always good to revisit from time to time.
Or if you’re stuck indoors, teach him a new trick. Dogs love it. They’re never too old to learn, and you can show off that new trick to friends and family in the spring.
With the days becoming a little longer, get out and take a stroll around the block. You and your dog can enjoy the fresh air and change of scenery together.
Incorporate your dog into your New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve started running, why not take your dog along? If your resolution is to become involved in a new activity, consider signing up for flyball, agility, or nosework courses in your area where you can work as a team.
Chances are, if your dog is stuck at home while you’re at work during the day, he’ll appreciate the simple things of hanging out with his best bud-whatever resolution you decide.