By Gillian Ridgeway
Have you set your mind on a New Years resolution yet? Have you thought about including your pet or making your pet the focus of your resolve?
New Year’s resolutions routinely focus on improving our lifestyles. The top of most lists include quit smoking, eat healthy, improve fitness and climb out of debt. But how about making a resolution to your pet.
When we first brought our pets into our home, we did make promises. It may have been to them, to a family member or to ourselves, but we did make them. We made a commitment to keep them clean, to play with them, to love them, to walk them daily and to train them.
We still love our pets, and feed them and take them to the veterinarian for a regular checkup, but how many of us still walk them as much as we used to or keep up their training.
Many people do, and for that, you should get a pat on the back...or is it on the head?
For those of you that have let these things slide, it is time to make a resolution.
You did not intend to let it slide, things just got busy. More work, addition of a child, more stress. Keep in mind, though, this resolution is for both of you. This resolution will make you feel good.
Winter can be hard on all of us.
It is cold and snowy and we just want to stay curled up by the fire with a good book. Your dog is of the opposite.
Most dogs would rather be outside playing in the snow, catching snowballs in the air. There are a few dogs that need to be coaxed outside. And just like us, they feel better once they are out. It is important that we are all wrapped up for the season.
The human part of the team should have a nice collection of “dog walking gear”.
This ranges from snow pants, to warm gloves to leak-proof boots and a good assortment of polar fleece. (What did we all do before polar fleece?) Your dog should be comfortable, in a coat and boots, if that is what does the trick. Many dogs prefer the snow and slush when they are wearing boots, and it will avoid all the problems when salt gets into the paws.
Training your dog to do almost anything will improve your bond and keep your dog busy when it is really inclement outside. How about teaching him to pick up all his toys and put into a basket or better yet, pick up your laundry.
It doesn’t matter what you teach your dog, he will be happier you are spending some quality time with him.
Check out your local dog training school and see what there is to enjoy from their winter schedule. Dog sports or rally obedience can be enjoyed by dogs and their people, and are just a couple of the activities you can get involved in to make the winter months speed by.
Tricks class is another fun way to spend time with your dog, add to your bond and share an evening.
This New Year’s add your pooch to your plan. Add them to your fitness schedule with a long outdoor hike. Let them help decrease your stress. Resolve to spend more time with them. The rewards you will reap will astound you. Happy New Year!
Gillian Ridgeway has been featured in many media interviews and is a writer for various dog publications. Her involvement as the founding member of two dog training associations ensures she remains current on training issues. Gillian is an in-demand speaker at many trainer and vet tech conferences and a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, using dogs to shed light on learning theory to the psychology students. Contact her at 416-465-3626; 905-619-1733 or www.whoswalkingwho.ca