Get ready, it’s time to make some New Year’s Resolutions. According to the Chinese Zodiac, it’s the year of the dog and we’ve decided to look to our furry-faced friends for a little wisdom for setting our New Year’s Resolutions. The best part is that they come with a highly-qualified accountability partner–your best friend! Ahead we’ve rounded up 8 dog-inspired goals to contribute to a happier and healthier you.
- Get Outside More Often – When the sunshine beckons we encourage you to make like Murphy and heed that call. Numerous studies show that spending more time outside increases our Vitamin D levels which can elevate our mood and increase our immunity. Getting outside more often means that we are spending less time in front of the TV or computer screen and more time with bodies in motion. This is also great for our four-legged friends to relieve boredom, help with weight control and provide much-needed exercise. If getting outside regularly is new for you, we suggest starting with a brief walk each day. If regular walks are old news, maybe this year you up the ante and increase your time or plan some hiking trips this year. Whatever you choose, just make sure your New Year’s Resolutions include more sunshine!
- Try a New Activities – Dogs are always looking for the next big adventure! And these days it’s easier than ever to incorporate your dog. There are several pet-friendly options in the Reno-Tahoe area. You could try kayaking on Donner Lake, check out a dog-friendly Tahoe hiking trail or maybe even try that new pet-friendly restaurant you’ve been meaning to visit. Opening your horizons and experiencing something new could be the most exciting of all New Year’s Resolutions for your dog (and you).
- Incorporate More Playtime in Your Routine – Many dogs love the thrill of chasing a ball or a rousing game of tug-of-war. Playtime is important in helping them release energy, burn off a few calories and, most importantly, engage their problem-solving skills. As it turns out, our fluffy friends are on to something. Playtime isn’t just for dogs and kids—it’s important for adults too. Studies suggest that adults who take time to incorporate play into their schedules benefit from a sharper mind, reduced stress and a stronger sense of connection to others. Learn more on that here. So maybe this year set aside time to play a little frisbee, or do a little ruff-housing with your dog and just allow yourself to get a little silly.
- Teach an Old Dog a New Trick – Before you ask, yes, it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks. In fact, it’s been proven that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging dogs. When you help teach your dog new skills you are keeping both your brain and their brain active which can actually make both brains healthier! Teaching your dog new skills and practicing those they already know is a great way to keep the neurons firing for you both. We recommend this for dogs that are just getting started AND dogs that have been training for years. Our Booster Lessons are a great option for previously trained dogs. Or, if you’re new to DGA – we have several options to help meet training New Year’s Resolutions for your dog.
- Stay Calm and Brush On – Brushing your dog removes excess fur from their coats and reduces the amount of fur you find throughout the house. It also helps to evenly distribute the oils from their skin into their fur making it shiny and healthy. But there are benefits here for you too. Regularly petting and grooming can be a calming activity that not only helps you bond more with your dog but is a great stress-reducer. Regularly grooming your dog could prove to be a great way to be purposeful about having some relaxing quiet time built into your busy schedule.
- Meet Some New Friends – Socialization is an important part of staying healthy for both humans and dogs. It leads to deeper connections and can be a great way to reduce stress. This year, why not try meeting some new friends? There are several Meet Up Groups for dog lovers and dog play groups. You and your dog could both make some new connections.
- Get More Sleep! – Let’s face it, most of us have total sleep-envy over our dogs. They sleep whenever and wherever they want. When it comes to sleep, we should follow their lead. Try making it a goal to get more sleep. One way you can ensure this is a nightly ritual and your dog can help! Perhaps part of your nightly routine involves some quiet cuddle time with your dog or calmly brushing their fur. Try some dog-friendly aromatherapy or just have them snuggle up while you read a good book. Your pal could be the push you need to be more purposeful about getting those ZZZs.
- Let it go – If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on your dog’s paw or tail and made them cry out, we’re sure you felt guilty about it. But, the thing is, they didn’t take it personally. Humans like to humanize dog behavior, but the fact is, after you stepped on their paw or took their favorite toy away, they didn’t spend the rest of the day dwelling on it. Being fearful or angry in the present for something that happened in the past is a human trait, not a dog trait. They don’t hold grudges. In fact, much of what we see of our dog’s mood is based on our own energy. This year, we can all take a lesson from our pups and practice a little letting go.
We hope these 8 resolutions will lead to more adventure, happiness and health for you both. Don’t forget, we’re here to help. If your New Year’s Resolutions for your dog mean better manners, better behavior, more socialization or all of the above – our team is ready to jump in and make 2018 a success!
Give us a call at 775.800.1011 or email [email protected]