Walk your dog
Take your dog for a walk every day. It does not have to be an hour walk. Walk your dog around the block if you don’t have time for anything longer. Dogs can get cabin fever just like people. Relieve the cabin fever a bit. Take your dog for a walk every day! It is good for you and good for your dog.
Visit the Vet
Take your dog to the vet at least once a year for an annual health check. A thorough exam by your vet, including a blood sample sent to the lab, can tell you a lot about your dog’s health.
Maintain a good weight
Weigh your dog. Ask your vet about an appropriate weight for your dog. If he is overweight, feed him less, exercise him more. Read the ingredient list on your dog’s food. Just like food labeled for people, the ingredients are listed from the heaviest to the lightest in weight. Dog food that lists grains, partial foods (for example brewer’s rice, oat hulls, wheat gluten), and digests (it is partially digested food from an animals’ intestine – which sounds like poop to me!) is a poor quality food. Read the ingredient list of your dog’s food, and buy him a better quality food.
Play with your dog
I know you are busy, but your dog is a social animal. Spend twenty to thirty minutes a day enjoying your dog. Let your dog enjoy you. Strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Increase your enjoyment and your dog’s enjoyment of each other’s company. Play fetch, or teach your dog to tug. Have fun with your dog!
Fix irritating behavior
Ok, what is that one thing your dog does that drives you crazy. The one thing that “My dog would be perfect if he didn’t . . . .” Fix it! It can’t be too hard. Read some of the old columns from this magazine, or hire a professional trainer.
Teach a trick
Training your dog can be a great way for the two of you to spend time together. Teaching a trick will improve the communication between you and your dog and give you something to show off to your friends. Teach your dog to leave it, beg, play dead or roll over. Easy, fun, and enjoyable for the dog and for you.
Take a Class
Taking a dog training class with your dog can be a great way to improve your relationship with your dog. A good dog training class is a great way to spend time together and improve your dog’s behavior.
Take your dog to the groomer – or groom him yourself.
Long-haired dogs need brushing. Dogs with allergies need bathing. All dogs need their toe nails trimmed regularly. Take your dog to the groomer regularly – every two to three weeks. On the other hand, you could groom him yourself.
Get your dog a food toy
Zoo keepers call this “enrichment”. Enrichment is providing captive animals with mentally and physically stimulating experiences. There are many food-dispensing toys for dogs. I prefer toys that can hold an entire meal for the dog. The dog must paw, push with his nose, and otherwise move the toy around so that pieces of food or treat are released.
Have a wonderful new year!
Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
trainer @ dogSgonegood.com (remove spaces to send an email)