With the year coming to an end, you might have special plans in mind for next year, but what about your dog? Chances are high your dog has New Year's resolutions too! Of course, Rover won't compile a New Year's resolution to-do-list like many people do, and obviously he can't express them in words, but as dog owners, we must be our dog's ambassadors as they depend quite a lot on us for their health and mental well being. So for New Year's why not help Rover keep his resolutions for a healthy and happier year ahead? Chances are, some of these resolutions may benefit you too! So here are Five News Year's Resolutions your dog wants you to know about.
"I Shall Shed Some Pounds"...
According to the The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) an estimated 58 percent of dogs in the Unites States are overweight or obese. And just as in people, those extra pounds makes dogs susceptible to several medical conditions such as orthopedic problems, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, cancer and an over all decreased life expectancy.
Helping your dog lose weight is much easier than thought considering that you are the one in control of portions and distribution of treats. Consider feeding your dog at specific times versus providing food ad libitum, that is, leaving food at your dog's disposal all day.
Start using measuring cups so you have better control on the amount of food consumed and use a portion of your dog's food for treats or training, suggests board-certified veterinarian Christopher G. Byers.
Consult with your vet for appropriate dietary changes to help your dog shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
"And I Shall Get More Exercise"
On top of shedding extra pounds, engaging more in exercise is another New Year's Resolution that tops Rover's list.
You can help him reach this goal by cutting a bit of your spare time and taking your dog on walks. This way, your dog gets to lead a happier and healthier life, but the best part is, so do you!
This resolution may therefore match your own if your were planning to embrace New Year's with the idea of shedding a few pounds or leading a healthier lifestyle.
Whether you are planning on jogging, going on hikes on trails or long leisurely walks, you dog will certainly be happy to accompany you.
Just make sure that you're dog is properly conditioned for the type of exercise you are planning to include him and that he's old enough; too much exercise or of the wrong type in puppies may have a negative impact on their growth plates.
"I Shall Be Kept More Mentally Stimulated..."
Littermate Syndrome: Risks With Getting Two Puppies at Once
If you're getting two puppies at once from the same litter, you'll need to be aware of littermate syndrome, also referred to as "sibling syndrome" or sibling rivalry. As tempting as it can be to bring home two adorable puppies, there are certain implications to consider at a rational level before giving in to your impulse and listening to your heart.
Discovering Why Dogs Keep Their Mouths Open When Playing
Many dogs keep their mouths open when playing and dog owners may wonder all about this doggy facial expression and what it denotes. In order to better understand this particular behavior, it helps taking a closer look into how dogs communicate with each other and the underlying function of the behavior.
Should I Let My Dog Go Through the Door First?
Whether you should let your dog through the door first boils down to personal preference. You may have heard that allowing dogs to go out of doors first is bad because by doing so we are allowing dogs to be "alphas over us," but the whole alpha and dominance myth is something that has been debunked by professionals.
Sure, losing weight and getting more exercise are great resolutions, but let's not forget that Rover has a mind too, and that mind needs to be kept busy.
Dog owners often forget about this, but dogs like to keep their minds occupied just as much as they like to play and romp around.
Of course, when we talk about mental stimulation, we're not talking about getting our dogs to do crossword puzzles, compose a piece of music or a solve a game of Sudoku.
Instead, we're talking about interactive games such as hiding his kibble in hard-to-find places, stuffing a Kong or putting his whole meal in maze bowls.
If you are short of ideas, there are several books that offer a variety of games and puzzles that you can set up for your dog using just a few items you have already laying around the house. Brain Training for Dogs is an online dog training course with many games and tips to get you started.
"And I Shall Learn New Skills."
Just like you are planning to achieve new goals and better yourself, your dog is eager to "continue his education," whether it involves learning a new trick, being engaged in a new fun doggy sport or learning to walk politely on leash.
Whatever you are planning to teach your dog this coming year, make sure to always keep it fun and rewarding. Learning something new should be something your dog enjoys and looks forward to, so make sure to embrace the joy of positive reinforcement training without the use of aversives.
Why not try clicker training if this is something you still haven't discovered? You will learn a lot too as the use of clicker will teach you how to master good timing and some mechanical skills (ever tried to click your clicker the exact moment a ball touches the floor?)
And Don't Forget to Keep Discovering More About Me!
Last but not least, Rover's last resolution regards you, his beloved owner. Rover whispered in our ears that he hopes you will continue to discover more cool things about him so that you'll be able to understand him better.
We hope that this whole year with us has been an entertaining journey for you as it was for us. Discovering every day something new about our canine friends is quite an enthralling experience!
We are happy to have made it so far, bringing you 365 days filled with learning something new about Rover's behavior, body language, anatomy, health and uncovering the meaning of some new dog words.
For us, it has been quite a journey and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we have! Here are wishes for a wonderful 2020 ahead and may all your resolutions come true!