Happy New Year!!  Welcome 2019!! 

Yep, the annual day to recommit ourselves to a better life has arrived.  With all of the focus on starting new good habits for the coming year, it is also a great time to set some goals that you can help your dog achieve this year.  Here is a list of 3 Human New Year Resolutions that you can share with your dog.

#1 Eat Healthier

This is one goal I think we all make each year for ourselves and it is something you can most definitely commit to for your dog too.  Did you know that over 50% of US Pets are considered overweight?  We love to spoil our furry family members and sometimes that leads to an expanding waistline for them.  Carrying that extra weight is just as unhealthy for them as it is for us, so let’s try a few things to help them regain that swimsuit body.  You can start by simply measuring their meals in a measuring cup to ensure you are feeding the proper amount for their dietary needs.  While you are measuring that meal out, take a look at the label and make sure you are providing them with a meal full of nutrients and minerals that will help them thrive.  Not sure what food or how much they should be consuming?  Then simply take a trip with your dog to your local pet supply store and ask them for a little help on figuring it out.  I like going to one of the locally owned stores in our area because I have found that the folks in these stores are very knowledgeable about the different foods they carry, where the food is sourced, how different varieties can help with different needs of your dog and how to transition to a new food over time.  My dog Tucker LOVES visiting the folks over at Happy Hound in the Lansdowne Shopping Center (they give him treats and ear scratches every time).  The owners are awesome and truly care about you and your pets.  You can learn more about them here:  http://www.happyhoundco.com/

#2 More Exercise

We all know that gyms all over America are the busiest in January each year due to all of us getting ambitious with our workout goals on New Year’s Day.  I know a free alternative to hitting the gym and I guarantee you that your dog will think you are the Bees Knees if you decide to include this in your daily routine.  Bet you can figure out where I am going with this one!  Yep!  Take your dog on longer and more frequent walks.  This will not only help with that overweight issue I mentioned in #1, but it will also help with your dogs behavior.  Wait!  Did I say walks can help with behavior?  Sure did!!  Dogs are meant to roam and explore their surrounding with their noses and it can get pretty boring if they are either cooped up in the house all day or taking the same 10 minute loop around the block.  So why not do both you and your dog a HUGE favor and get out to get some fresh air and explore new areas together.  Take a different route each time you go on a walk with your dog; maybe even hop in the car and drive to a new walking trail that you think might be fun to check out.  The benefits for you both are wonderful . . . fresh air, exercise, a smaller waistline, a better outlook on life and YES, a better behaved dog.  You won’t regret it, I promise!!

#3 Have More Fun

This one seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it.  We all wish we had more fun in our day to day lives.  And guess what?  So do our dogs!!  You know that “B” word I used in #2 (behavior)?  Well many behavior problems are a result of boredom (not having enough fun).  So let’s all commit to having more fun WITH our dogs in 2019.  There are so many ways you can accomplish this and the options are endless.  Take your dog on a hike (there is that more exercise sneaking in again), teach your dog a new trick, spend more time playing with your dog, learn to give your dog a little doggie massage, take your dog paddle boarding (hit up that local pet supply store first for a doggie life jacket), take a class together (agility, nose-work, tricks, even basic obedience . . .you both will have fun and meet new people), explore a new town together (and hit up the local ice cream shop while you are there).  The options are only limited by your imagination.  Figure out something that both you and your dog will enjoy and put it on your calendar and I bet it turns into one of your most liked Instagram photos for 2019.

The new year holds so many great promises for us . . . make sure you bring your dog along for the adventure!