'Tis resolution season, of course. Lots of diets are happening; yoga classes are crowded. How many people resolve to add more fun into their lives? Good idea, right? And one of the easiest ways to make your life fun is by making your dog's life fun!
Resolve to take your dog somewhere new! Take a dog vacation rather than leaving him behind. Go somewhere new locally once a week so he has lots of stimulus! Teach him a new trick once a month. Try a new dog sport. There are so many fun things to try these days: fly ball, rally, nose work, agility, urban mushing, earth dog, dock diving, lure coursing, conformation, herding, freestyle dance, and that old standby, obedience.
Tanner is about to try a nose work class. Dogs sniff around boxes and find a particular scent. It's in their DNA, but it's going to take quite a bit of training on our part. Dogs take turns, so Tanner will be crated between takes--and being quiet in a crate isn't something we have worked on in a long while. He's perfect at crating in the car, so let's hope it transfers when there are exciting dogs around him in a training facility. He's a miniature pinscher mix, and barking is in his DNA. Also, his street dog background still shows itself sometimes in his desire to mark new objects--peeing on things like boxes with scents in them. See why this will be a good class for him?
We have other resolutions at our house, too. Specific obedience cues that we could work on. But also, we're resolving to learn a new trick a month. We should have more tricks in our repertoire.
If your dog has a problem behavior or two (or three), working on those may not sound like lots of fun, but indeed it should be. If you train correctly, your dog doesn't realize that learning to stop barking is anything but a game. He stops barking and gets a piece of hot dog: sounds fun to him! And your life will be more fun when you have a calmer pup with better manners.
More cuddles, more new toys, more food games: good resolutions for all of us! Happy, healthy new year!