When we think of New Year’s resolutions, we often think of changes in our lives we’ve been trying to make for years. Often they are massive changes. But, in reality, sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference over time. The same can be said for changes we make in our dog’s lives. These five resolutions are simple and will be enjoyed by you just as much as Buster. And you will be improving both of your lives in the process.
1. Take a Sonic Inventory
Those of us who love our dogs often assume that our environment is the best for them. However, sometimes it requires a different way of thinking. What works for us doesn’t always work best for our dogs. Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic.
The sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your dog’s environment and finding out which ones are causing stress to your dogs. Simply sit on your sofa with pen and paper in hand. Jot down all of the sounds you hear and rate them from one to 10. Observe your pet’s response to these sounds. Ask yourself how you can make your home a calmer, more peaceful place, for yourself and for your dogs and cats. Often, just by listening, we become more sound aware, an important first step. Small changes made in your sonic environment can often make a big difference in your dog’s behavior.
2. Enjoy a Silent Meditation Hike
Have you ever walked with your dog in total silence? It’s very interesting trying to observe the world from their point of view. Allow Buster to stop and sniff as much as he wants. Taking in the scents gives him all sorts of information and provides him with enrichment. Take a break with Buster. Just sit still without any verbal communication and enjoy all the sights and smells. You’ll be amazed how bonding time in nature is with your furry friend when you aren’t speaking any words.
3. Teach Your Dog a New Trick
No matter how young or old your dog, she will love learning new tricks. Learning new things provides them with much needed mental stimulation. Use a clicker and positive reinforcement training, and it will be just as fun for you as your pup, as you can see in the short, fun video above. And, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Of course you can. Sanchez cries if I’m late getting to his training every night. He may be retired, but he still collects his compensation for a job well done.
4. Teach Him to Tug
Tug is a great exercise for dogs and is often a great stress reliever. Pat Miller, training editor of The Whole Dog Journal, wrote about the benefits of playing tug with your dog (when they follow the rules). A good game of tug provides:
- a legal outlet for roughhousing
- strengthens bonds
- builds healthy relationships
- offers incredibly useful reinforcement potential
- redirects inappropriate use of teeth
- teaches self-control
- creates a useful distraction
- builds confidence
Just make sure that you teach a release word and randomly have him release the tug toy throughout your playtime together.
5. Give Her a Massage
Dogs reduce our stress. Canine massage is a way of giving back to them so that we reduce theirs. Veterinarian Narda Robinson, Director at Colorado State University’s Center for Comparative and Integrative Pain Medicine, teaches classes on canine massage. She believes that administered with science knowledge, canine massage can help dogs recover from injuries, illness and stress.
Do you have new year’s resolutions for your pets? Thanks for sharing them in a comment below.