Happy New Year everyone!

I hope the past year was a great one for you. Today I want to discuss how to make 2012 an even better year for both you and your dog.

This is the time when everyone is reassessing their goals and making resolution for the New Year. I’m a big fan of goal setting but I find that most people don’t understand how to go about making those resolutions actually come to pass. Everyone begins year all gung-ho but within a few weeks most people fade out their efforts. Why?

The reason most people fail when it comes to resolutions is that they set a big goal without foresight into how to make it happen. Let’s say your goal is to lose 20 lbs. so you decide to join a gym, which although is a nice start will not help you succeed. A better resolution would be to lose 20 lbs. by joining a gym and taking a spin class every Tuesday at 8:00am.

The key is to be specific and to take some small daily actions over time. Then as you make this small action a habit you add in something else (like and additional class per week, or eliminating soda from your diet, etc.). With each little success, you will gain momentum and create the habits that will take you right to your goal.

Now what I invite you to, in addition to making a New Year’s resolution to yourself, also make one to your dog.

Think about your past year and your relationship with your dog and come up with one small action that you will take regularly to improve it. If you’re not sure what to resolve, allow me to make a few suggestions.

My favorite is getting up twenty minutes earlier a few times a week to play or walk your dog. Can you spare twenty minutes of sleep? Of course you can. That small amount of time can mean the world to your dog and help him release a little energy just when he needs it the most.

You could also teach him something new. Pick one new behavior or trick and spend the next month working on it for ten minutes a day. Can you spare ten minutes a day? Of course you can. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise and teaching him a new skill will enrich his life and improve your ability to communicate.

Another great option is enrolling in a fun group class like agility or nosework. I like these two because they are super fun for both dog and human and are a bit different from standard obedience classes (although a basic or advanced class is a great option if you haven’t done it yet). Classes usually meet once a week for about an hour. Can you spare an hour each week to have some fun with your dog? Come on, you know the answer.

As you can see, I’m not talking about a lot of time here. However, this simple action can really do a lot for your poochy pal. In the average chaos of the human world it’s usually our dogs that get pushed to the back burner and neglected a bit. So as you gather yourself to push into the New Year include your dog in on the improvements in your life and make 2012 the best year you have together.

Happy New Year!

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