This is not your typical New Year’s post. For starters, it includes your dog. And I’m not going to tell you to get more exercise—or at least, not in the way you might expect. Looking to live an even better life with your four-legged best friend? Try implementing these ten new traditions, and you won’t look back.
Commit to dental care for your pet: Periodontal disease is difficult to control once it has developed. Daily brushing is necessary to minimize calculus formation. Reduction of bacteria in the mouth can be accomplished through not only brushing, but also diet and the use of toys. Start by massaging your dog’s gums as an introduction to brushing their teeth.
Take short breaks with your dog: We’re learning that short breaks help us maintain focus. And the ideal break includes movement. And when this break is spent with others it has even more powerful effects!
Mix it up: Pick one new activity to do with your dog, like swimming (senior dogs love this form of exercise). Yoga with your dog is also popular, and nosework is a favorite in our house. Nosework is an activity that allows your dog to use their natural desire to hunt. It harnesses a dog’s unique ability to detect scent and determine the source.
Volunteer for dogs: A wonderful member of my community reached out about collecting dog coats as the weather is turning colder. As a result of her reaching out, a local clinic volunteered to coordinate a dog coat drive and be a designated drop-off location. They posted it on their Facebook page and have a box in their lobby to drop things. What an easy activity to organize and a wonderful tradition to start. Identify something like this as your “do go” activity for the year!
Get outdoors: A mood boost during the day is my number one priority for this year, and if my dogs and I exercise together in the morning, we enjoy the effects of our cardio workout all day. Make a commitment to take your dog on an outdoor adventure at least two mornings a week.
Be silly with your dogs: Try singing with your dog! Playing hide and go seek is fun, too. My favorite way to be silly with my dogs is to throw them birthday parties. The date could be the day you adopted them or their literal birthday. Up to you!
Subscription box for your dogs: Once a month one of these boxes arrives with novel treats you likely haven’t tried, along with new toys! I subscribe to BarkBox and my three hounds love the treats included each month.
Photo books: If it has to do with dogs, I’m likely taking photos. I have SO many digital pics of my three hounds and honestly, I don’t want these to only live on my phone. Consider a digital album from TinyPrints, Shutterfly, or Minted. You will not be sorry.
Pet-friendly places to visit: Find FIVE pet-friendly places to take your dog(s) this year. This should be a simple tradition that’s easy to follow through on. It could just be a new park! I found a new walking trail behind a local school’s library and now that is a new go-to for my three hounds.
Get a new hobby (with your dog!): This doesn’t have to be exercise-related, or even particularly dog-focused: it’s more about bonding time. If you can include your dog, do it. Knitting, writing, reading, or cooking, for instance, are all more fun with your dog by your side.
Most of these ten traditions are very easy to incorporate into your schedule this year. If life is too busy, try simply bringing your dog along for errands. Perhaps every time you go to the bank, you bring them! That’s an easy tradition to start.
No matter what, enjoy your time with your dog, as every moment is precious.