Happy New Year! It is a new year and a new decade! We all try to make some changes that will improve our quality of life including things such as health, happiness, and other areas of our life that will move us towards living our best life.
What about your dog? Can there be such a thing as a New Year’s resolution for your dog? Yes! Why not? It won’t be his idea, but you can start doing things with and for him, that will move him in the direction of living his best life. And, as a resolution partner, he will help you keep your own new changes in play!
A New Year’s resolution is any plan, including action, that will move you in the direction you want to go. In terms of your pet, this resolution might include losing some weight, a common resolution for all. Or, your pet’s resolution may be some mental stimulation if they are getting older or spend a lot of time alone.It may be to start some sort of physical therapy that would benefit her. Or a fun one, learn a new skill or sport.
A couple of general guidelines to consider when choosing your pet’s resolution(s). Start small, if you start with steps that are easy, you and your pet are much more likely to continue the activity. And we know, success breeds success. If you goal is to walk your dog, as he usually simply goes outside in the back yard, even if you are fit enough to walk a long while, start with an easily achievable time or distance. You won’t physically hurt your pet; he will be on the road to walking success and it won’t be a huge time commitment. As the days, weeks and months go by you can add to the time or distance. Soon, you can enter a pet friendly 5K and will rock it!
The key to keeping up your resolution is not skipping the second appointment of your activity. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, if you miss one day, or one scheduled activity, don’t beat yourself up. But, the key to not losing momentum, is to make sure you don’t miss a second day or activity. Even if your walk must be much shorter than what you have been walking, don’t miss that second walk, walk slower, walk shorter, but walk.(Unless of course there is an injury that prevents it).
Keep in mind your pet’s resolution may change as the year progresses. If you have enrolled in a fly ball class and your pet gets hurt, you are going to have to be flexible enough to change your resolutions plan. Don't lose it altogether, but put it on next month's calendar, for instance. Or your pet may have achieved his AKC Good Citizen award much sooner than planned. Time for another Mid Year’s resolution. And, good on you!
Use a blank calendar to help you keep track of your pets New Years resolution. Put in your goal or resolution at the top. Mark down in each day's box what you will do to move toward the goal. When you have done your day’s activity, check it off. Maybe check it off not with a check, with a paw print!
Best of luck, to us all, pets and people with our New Years resolutions! Lets use them to live our best lives, canine, feline, equine, and human alike!