New Year’s Resolutions for Dogs

As long as you’re making New Year’s resolutions, make some for your dog! 6 ways to make your dog happier and better behaved, this year and every year.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
4-minute read
Episode #180

As long as you’re full of good intentions for 2013, why not add a few items to the list?

This week, 6 ideas to make your Dogalini’s life better, deepen your bond, and even improve her manners. Oh, and I think I can safely promise that carrying them out will be more fun than giving up chocolate. Which, by the way, is not on The Dog Trainer’s list this year (or any other)..

Dog Resolution #1: Be Less of an Annoying Human

Let your dog settle in to sniff that fire hydrant, already. Or that clump of poop. Or that roadkill squirrel. Sure, it’s gross to you; butit’s informative and fascinating to her. If you have special health concerns, talk to your vet, and teach your dog a “Leave that alone” cue for items that might actually carry disease. But remember that “disgusting to people” isn’t the same as “bad for dogs.”

Stick to even a couple of these resolutions and make your dog’s life better! Yours, too!

Dog Resolution #2: Shake Up Your Walks

Round the block to pee and poop. Round the block to pee and poop. Round the block to pee and poop. You think that might get a little dull? If you’re taking Zippy out just for a toilet break, circle a different block every time. For those longer strolls, find a few routes you’ll both enjoy, and switch among them.

Add 5 minutes to your dog’s morning walk every day during the workweek. Add 10 minutes on your days off. That’s an extra 45 minutes a week of exercise for both of you. You deserve a cookie.

Dog Resolution #3: Dust Off the Food-Puzzle Toys

Or buy some if you don’t have any to dust off. At least a couple of times a week, deliver Zippy’s breakfast or supper in a toy he has to chew or push or otherwise manipulate. If you have a dishwasher to clean them with, then using food-dispensing toys is the single easiest way to add fun and interest to your dog’s life. If you don’t have a dishwasher, suck it up. Cleaning out little crevices is exactly what a bottle brush is for.


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).