Happy 2017! New year, new you! Do dogs even know it’s a new year aside from the fireworks? Maybe they sense the passage of time through new routines (resolutions!) and the changes we try to implement. If dogs thrive on consistency, how can we make resolutions that we can actually stick to? Here are 17 ideas for you and your pup this year:
1. Stay Home More Often
Many people resolve to go out more, to be more social, or just to “put myself out there” in the new year. But dogs don’t need you to put yourself out there—they already know what you’re about. Stay in for some quality time with the dog and catch up on your Netflix list.
2. Go to the Dog Park
Try to go at least once a quarter (four times a year), no matter what the weather is like. It’s good for everyone to get outside and play!
3. Change Up Your Dog’s Look
Get your dog a new collar, a fashion accessory, or a new sweater to add a little pep in their step. You’ll both enjoy the swagger that comes with a new look.
4. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth at Least Twice as Often as You Do Now
And no, even though two times zero is zero, that’s not what we mean. Brushing your dog’s teeth is important and if you’ve made the commitment (even verbally, to your dentist, without meaning it) to try to floss more, you’re halfway there. Dogs don’t mind meat-flavored toothpaste and you can do it while you watch TV.
5. Extend Your Dog’s Walk by 10 Minutes
That’s more quality time bonding together, even if it means waking up 10 minutes earlier.
6. Watch a Movie with a Dog in it, Even Though it Might Make You Cry
9/10 times, dog movies are sad or upsetting. But they are also adorable and valuable and make you appreciate the special bond between dogs and their owners. If it helps, you can start with a movie that just has a dog in it but is not about the dog.
7. Learn Something New About Dogs
There are more and more studies being done about dogs, and it’s fun to learn more. Science is bringing us all together.
8. Accept that Your Dog is a Leash Puller
And maybe he always will be. Accept things as they are, not as you wish them to be.
9. Buy Your Dog His or Her Favorite Stinky Treat
Even though it smells like death mated with a car on fire.
10. Don’t Blame Your Gas on the Dog
New year, new you. A kinder you. A more honest you. Besides, old you wasn’t fooling anyone.
11. Throw Out Those Old, Destroyed Dog Toys
An investment in new toys is an investment in your dog’s happiness and the health of your home. Even if they love that old toy with the squeaker ripped out, it keeps a dog’s brain stimulated to remove new squeakers with surgical-like precision.
12. Make Car Trips More Pleasant
Some dogs love riding in the car, others not so much. But whatever your dog’s opinion on the matter, there are lots of ways to make travel safer and more pleasant for your buddy like harnesses, car seats, calming treats, and car seat covers.
13. Let Them Eat Cake
Well, not cake probably (unless it’s dog birthday cake) but be okay with the fact that sometimes they will sneak some human food. Just learn which foods are safe to let fall to the floor, and which ones need to be scooped up immediately.
14. Keep Your Pet’s Vaccinations Up to Date
This one is easy to do because your vet will send you reminders. But doing it can give you a sense of accomplishment nonetheless. Will it be challenging to resist the urge to throw your dog’s poop away immediately instead of saving it for the vet’s sample? Of course it will. But it’s worth it.
15. Teach Your Dog a New Trick or Behavior
Old dogs can learn new tricks! In fact, they enjoy the challenge and the work of it (plus all those extra treats they get for learning). If they’ve mastered the basics, maybe teach them the difference between a doorbell in real life and one on TV.
16. Forgive Yourself for Letting Your Dog Sleep in the Bed
It’s fine. Everyone does it. Plus, it’s kind of the best.
17. Make More Time to Play, Snuggle, and Love
You deserve it and so does your dog!