New year's resolutions for you and your dog


28 December 2012

Here are some top tips to ensure the best start to 2013 for you and your dog.

1 Get out and about - come rain or shine, dogs need to be walked at least twice a day, every day. If your walks have become a bit stale or you're bored of the same route, why don't you find some new areas to explore together?

2 Play time - there's nothing more enjoyable than spending time with your canine friend. If you don't already do so, set aside some time each day when you can spend some quality time together, have fun, and bond. Have a special toy that signals to your dog when it's play time.

3 New tricks - ever fancied learning heelwork to music or trying your hand at agility? Find a local class or trainer and give it a go.

4 Get it sorted - if you dog has a phobia or there's a problem you've been meaning to tackle, make 2013 the year that it gets sorted. Problems take time and effort to resolve but it's definitely worth it. Speak to your vet or a local trainer/behaviourist if you're worried about anything.

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5 Food for thought - losing weight always tops people's new year's resolutions lists. If you and your dog have piled on the pounds over Christmas, cut down on treats and keep a close eye on what you feed him (and yourself). If your dog is motivated by food, you can still use titbits during training sessions but cut back on portions at mealtimes.

6 Good boy - review your dog's training. Brush up on your training skills or learn new ones by enrolling on a local training class.

7 Health check - give your dog a weekly going over to check he's in good health. This can help you to spot any problems early on. Keep an eye out for unusual lumps and bumps, signs of fleas, and a build-up of tartar on the teeth.

8 Help others - stroking a dog can reduce stress and be a rewarding experience. Why not find out how your pet can become a therapy dog who visits sick children and elderly residents in care homes?

Good luck and don't give up!