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Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions: Why Not Include Your Dog?
As we throw away that last slice of holiday fudge and usher in a new year full of new potential and new beginnings, I can’t help but wonder how many of our typical New Year’s resolutions can serve a dual purpose. which includes our dogs.
According to a USA.gov survey, the top 10 New Year’s resolutions range from stress management to weight loss. So, as a dog trainer who is always on the lookout 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. than our dogs. We all know that a family with a well-behaved dog is a happier family overall.
So let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular resolutions:
- Get in shape
- To save money
- To manage stress
- Volunteer to help others
- Stop smoking
- Losing weight
- To go on a trip
- Drink less alcohol
- Manage debt
- Get a better education
Now let’s see how these resolutions can be modified in a way that both dogs and humans benefit:
- Get in shape – 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 exercise and your dog gets a chance to burn off excess energy…and you get a chance to bond. Exercising with your dog isn’t just good for both bodies, it’s good for both souls.
- To save money – Store-bought treats can be very expensive and full of preservatives. Instead of paying too much money for a bag of too few treats, why not break out that dehydrator you got a few birthdays ago and use it to make some jerky for your own dog. The next time you and your family have leftover meat that you intended to throw away, I recommend cutting the leftovers into small treat-sized bites and drying them in the dehydrator. Not only will you reduce your food waste, but you’ll also be able to stock inexpensive, preservative-free dog treats. If you don’t have a dehydrator, that’s no problem. You can still use your leftover meat…just be sure to put your treat bag full of goodies in the fridge to keep them fresh.
- To manage stress – I’ve been training dogs long enough to know that a misbehaving or poorly trained dog can put a lot of pressure on a household. So make this year the year you enroll your dog in a basic obedience class to learn those skills. If your problems go beyond basic obedience training, I recommend getting at-home assistance to get your puppy’s bad habits under control once and for all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the dog you’ve always dreamed of and have that stress finally 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 large dogs that need good homes.
- Stop smoking – Anyone who’s ever tried to fight a tobacco addiction knows that one of the trickiest parts of quitting smoking is figuring out how to deal with those cravings when common triggers present themselves. Redirection is something we do all the time with dogs. When puppies chew on something they shouldn’t, we redirect them to an appropriate toy until it becomes a learned and acceptable habit. We refurbish them. Well, it works with people too. So the next time you have that cup of coffee in the morning, grab your dog and his leash instead of a cigarette. Your dog will enjoy going for walks and you’ll get a nice little boost from the natural chemicals produced by exercise. You will get a buzz from exercising instead of smoking.
- Losing weight – The only thing better than living a long and healthy life is living a long and healthy life with those you love. When you find yourself deciding where to do your weekly Saturday hike, why not find a place that is dog-friendly so your dog can come with you? You’ll both get a good workout while also having a great chance to bond. When you get home, your dog will be nice and gentle, so you’ll have a chance to try these smaller pants.
- To go on a trip – Many people can’t take the vacation they’ve always wanted because they don’t feel comfortable leaving their dog behind. These days there are plenty of hotels that allow dogs as long as the dog is a good canine citizen. Make this year 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 include your dog.
- Drink less alcohol – When you have a better-mannered and more fulfilled canine companion, you will find that you will need less spirit because life will be more enjoyable and less stressful. (ok, this one might be a stretch).
- Manage debt – If your dog eats commercial dog food, consider feeding him a more natural diet. Although the food may be a bit more expensive than your dog’s current diet, the money you’ll save on extra vet visits and potential medications will offset those costs.
- Get a better educationnot – By integrating your puppy correctly into the dynamics of your home, you will have more free time to accomplish the big goals of life. By giving your dog the training, exercise, and dietary upgrades you’ve been putting on the back burner, you’ll finally be able to complete that PhD program. Who knew training your dog could be such an important step in catapulting your life to the next level?
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 the benefits, long and short term.
Happy new year!
Chad Culp with http://www.ThrivingCanine.com/blog
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