Every year millions of people around the world take a moment to contemplate the year and plan to do better. We resolve to lose weight, get organized, find a hobby, etcetera, etcetera; the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions fall to the wayside around January 7th as our old habits take over.
One of the best ways to ensure this does not happen is to share your resolution(s) with another and get an accountability partner. When you tell others, they ask you how you’re doing and even encourage you to keep it up. This year try something different and ask your dog for help.
Here are 5 Resolutions you can do together that will benefit the both of you:
There is no doubt your dog will love this one and keep you honest. If your daily ‘walks’ begin at your porch and end in the yard, then you’re not actually walking the dog. Set a time every day to walk your dog just 1 hour a day or 2 twenty/thirty-minute walks. A recent study showed that dog owners were 57-77% more likely to reach sufficient physical activity for the week. Make sure the time you go is flexible but do it every day. Trust me, if you do this for a week or two your dog will happily remind you every day when it’s time for a walk.
To ensure YOU’RE taking the dog for a walk and not the other way around, check out our next “No More Pulling on the Leash” Workshop.
Eating healthy every day is tough for many of us, and for a dog, it can be even tougher since we are the ones feeding them. Most store-bought dog food contains a variety of ingredients dogs don’t intentionally seek out to eat. Unfortunately, they can lead to many health issues such as obesity and heart disease. It’s up to us to ensure they eat healthier.
One way to do this is to make their food yourself, so why not work on this together? There are plenty of healthy food choices you and your dog can enjoy including rice, chicken, and vegetables and if done right, you, your family and your dog can all eat together. Here’s a great list of meals to start your new adventure.
Research shows that having a social life is beneficial both physically and mentally. In fact, face-to-face interaction with other people releases a host of hormones and neurotransmitters that keep us happy and reduce stress. Humans are social animals and guess what, so is your dog. Now, humans and dogs have a great ANCIENT connection, but you both need to get out and meet other dogs and humans.
There are dozens and dozens of places to go with your dog around here. Our sister page, Paws on the Prowl shares about them often. Raleigh is dog-friendly, so get out and meet some other dog people at least once a week.
Another great resolution is to take time and enjoy your life. We only have one shot at this so take time to enjoy it. Your dog will appreciate a trip to the park once a week where you two can play Frisbee, fetch, or just go for a run. You can play indoors as well. Your dog should enjoy playtime every day, and you should too. Do it enough and this is another habit your dog will enthusiastically remind you of daily. Not a day goes by that I don’t get a slobbery ball gently placed by my hand by my eager dog and it’s hard to say no to those eyes.
Take Care of Yourselves
Finally, resolve to get a yearly checkup. This one you may need to work on with your dog. After all getting a thermometer up your butt is not something they want to remember, but this should still be on your list. Your dog should see the vet once a year until the age of 7, then semi annually if recommended. The same goes for yourself, although the age is a bit different. According to Duke Health:
- If you’re under 30 and healthy – don’t smoke, no disease risk factors (including being overweight) and don’t take prescription medications – get a check-up every two to three years. If you’re a woman and sexually active, get a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer starting at age 21 and discuss how often you should screen with your provider.
- Age 30-40, healthy individuals should get a physical every other year. Baseline mammograms are now recommended for women once they turn 40, and should be repeated every 1-2 years.
- Annual physicals start around age 50. That’s also when men and women should undergo colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer. Repeat every 10 years unless there is a family history of colon cancer, colon polyps, or the test results are abnormal.
Please don’t try to do all these at the same time. The American Psychological Association recommends:
- Start small: Don’t try to do all of these and if you choose just one, take it slow.
- Change one behavior at a time
- Talk about it: Yes, your dog is your buddy, but it’s good to talk to them as well. They may have ideas that can help.
- Don’t beat yourself up: You will fail, try again…don’t give up!
- Ask for support: Tell your vet about your plan, see if they have ideas that can help with meal plans or a great exercise schedule. Feel free to share your journey on our Facebook Page as well. We will happily help you along the way and give you tips to help with the dog.
Good luck and Happy New Year!www.toplinek9obedience.com