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January 6, 2011

Resolutions For Your Dog

With the arrival of a New Year inevitably comes a variety of New Year’s "resolutions." Mrs. Nate and I don’t really believe in resolutions but we tend to secretly make ones anyway. I personally think if you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it! You don’t need a certain time of the year to begin making a change for the better.

But since we all jump onto the resolution bandwagon every year, I thought a list of resolutions that involve not only our own well-being but the well-being of our pets should be included too! So how may we improve ourselves as pet parents? What New Year’s resolutions should dog guardians consider?

Here are 9 suggestions for your consideration:

1. Provide your dog with the highest quality nutrition possible. This means researching the ingredients in dog food and often, thinking outside the grocery store kibble aisle. It’s easy to research for quality dog foods, or even better, you can ask the experts at Tail Blazers – Health Food Store for Pets. They have very knowledgeable folks working for them and carry nothing but the best food products for all pets.

2. Make it a point to ensure your dog's health through providing adequate and appropriate exercise. This is partly how Mrs. Big Nate and I lost around 90lbs each.

3. Be realistic about your dog's weight. Obesity shortens longevity, dogs, cats and people. If you can't feel your dog's ribs easily, he is too fat. We are guilty for Oscar and Mr. Goo’s obesity problem and are working on it by feeding them a raw diet.

4. Train your dog. Training is not a luxury, it is necessary. Not only will appropriate training make living with your dog more enjoyable for you, it will make life more enjoyable for your dog by providing him with the mental stimulation all dogs need and crave.

5. Make it easy for your dog to succeed. If your dog loves chewing on shoes, do not allow him unsupervised access to shoes. If your dog eliminates in the house, provide him with plenty of opportunities to eliminate outside by giving him frequent breaks.

6. Be appreciative of how wonderful your dog is. One of the biggest elements of successful training is looking for desirable behaviors and reinforcing them with something your dog likes and appreciates - a treat, a butt scratch, a game of tug, the opportunity to go for a walk. Never miss an opportunity to thank your dog for good behavior.

7. Make time for your dog. This may mean rearranging your schedule. It may mean going out in the cold or rainy weather to give your dog a walk. It may mean skipping Wednesday night book club so that you can enroll in the agility class you wanted to take. It may mean spending less time on Facebook and more time playing, training, and exercising with your dog.

8. Be a responsible dog owner - keep identification tags on your dog, renew your dog's annual license, make the annual veterinary appointment, clean up after your dog, respect leash laws, etc.

9. Help a less fortunate dog at least once this year. Remember that not all dogs are as lucky as yours. Not all dogs have regular meals, veterinary care, someone who loves them and will play with them, a home to call their own. There are many ways you can help less fortunate dogs - by making donations of either goods (beds, leashes, collars, food, toy) or cash or by volunteering your time to our local Calgary Humane Society. There are many, many rescues located in and around Calgary that could use our help as well. Our favourite rescues include ARF, ARRCS, and Little Mutt’s Rescue.

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