Are you making a New Year’s resolution? Whether you partake in this annual tradition or not, the new year is a time of reflection and goal setting. What do you think your four-legged family members would plan for their year? Check out these 10 resolution ideas for your pets:
1. Take More Long Walks
There’s nothing quite like a walk to put things into perspective — and having your beloved dog at your side only makes it better. Plus, on rainy days or when you just don’t want to get out of bed, a little whimper and a nudging snout are excellent motivation. This year, let’s all pledge to take more long walks with our dogs. It’ll make us healthier, it’ll improve our bond with our best friends, and it’s a relaxing way to get fit.
2. Get Active in the Kitchen
It seems like every day there’s a new app making it easier to order in — but this year, let’s spend a little more time getting creative in the kitchen. With a few simple ingredients you likely have on hand, you can whip up a batch of dog-friendly cookies in no time.
3. Go on More Adventures
Feeling a little uninspired? Trapped in your Netflix and takeout routine? There’s no better encouragement to get out there and explore than your dog’s wagging tail at the front door. Look up dog-friendly hiking trails, find a nearby dog-friendly happy hour (that’s a “yappy hour” for you newbies), or break up your walk routine and check out a new neighborhood together. Get out there and explore the city with your dog at your side!
4. Less Screen Time, More Snuggle Time
OK, this might sound counterintuitive after that last one. But there’s room in our lives for awesome technology and tech-free downtime. Put down your smartphone — at least for a few minutes! — and just pet your dog. You’d be surprised how much it could calm you down and lift your mood to unplug for a moment, snuggle on the couch, and simply enjoy each other’s company.
5. Discover Dog Tech
Want to spy on your dog while you’re away? Looking to find the perfect nearby dog sitter or dog walker? There’s an app for that. GPS tracking devices like Tractive ($130) and Whistle($80) help keep your dog safe, and toys like the iFetch ($115) add extra fun to your lives together. Make your life a little easier and your dog’s life that much better by taking advantage of this awesome technology.
6. Find a Dog-Friendly Workplace
Looking to make a professional change? Take it from an insider: working alongside dogs is basically the best. They diffuse stress, offer unconditional affection when you need it most, and keep you company when you’re sitting through meeting after meeting. Studies prove working alongside dogs improves morale, resulting in a happier healthier workforce.
7. Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Whether you have a rambunctious puppy or a sweet senior dog, it’s never too late for training. The main requirements? Patience and treats. This year, make a pledge to help your dog learn a few new tricks. The mental stimulation alone will tucker them out, and you’ll likely have a happier pup on your hands. From walking well on a leash to coming when called, these videos from Animal Planet take you step by step through 10 easy dog-training exercises.
8. Fix the Dog Hair Problem
When it comes to dogs, you take the good with the bad — and the hairy. Ever reconsidered buying a little black dress because you knew it would be covered in dog hair? If you’re tired of lint rolling yourself every time you leave the house, make a change! There are tons of dog hair removal tools out there — the FURminator ($38) is a personal favorite — that can clean up your home and dog in no time.
9. Pick Up Some Healthier Treats
OK, sharing an ice cream cone from time to time is actually the absolute best. But with health in mind, I’m on the lookout for tasty dog treats that’ll keep my dog feeling good (not clearing the room). Rewarding your dog is a great way to encourage good behavior — but you don’t want to overreward and come face to face with an unhealthy or overweight pet. Try single-ingredient treats like carrots or sardines, or pick up a box of dental chew treats like Greenies Dental Chews ($40) — that’s two resolutions in one: better hygiene and a healthy treat.
10. Work on that Barking Problem
Our dogs make us feel safe and loved — but protecting us from the mailman every. single. day? That can get a little frustrating. If your dog has a bit of a barking issue, resolve to help her lighten up in the New Year.
This year, let’s all resolve to be the best pet parents we can be. That means going the extra mile to take care of ourselves and our dogs and enjoying every minute together. Happy New Year!