January 3, 2012

January 3, 2012
5 Resolutions for a Happier Pet

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope your week is off to a safe and great start. The temperatures have dropped to the 40s in south Florida and it is a very busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Now a lot of people make New Year resolutions and a lot of them break those resolutions in the first couple of days into the new year. But what about making resolutions that would make your pet happier?

Now I have made some for my dogs. But you should be able to adjust these to whatever kind of pet you might have:

Your dogs already think you are the best, but they could be even happier with some thoughtful New Year's resolutions.

Dogs thrive on fun, games and an emotional connection with their pet parents to be happy and emotionally healthy. Comfort is also important for dogs. Every dog is different, though, so what constitutes comfort for one may equal torture for another. A lot of that has to do with your dogs' heritage—what they were bred to do as herding dogs, for example. Even mixed heritage dogs have specific foibles unique to them. You can pay attention to what your dogs do out of habit to get a clue as to what makes them happy. Here are 5 New Year's resolutions to increase the happiness quotient in your dog:

Schedule Play

It is a busy life and too often our schedules run us ragged and we short shrift times with our doggy companions. Put play on your schedule. It is healthy for pet parents, too. Find 10 to 20 minutes at least once a day (twice is better!) to play fetch or tug or another favorite game with your dog. For younger dogs, exuberant play spends energy they otherwise use chewing up illegal targets like the TV remote control.

Teach A Trick

Dogs live to please us. Teaching fun tricks rewards dogs for using their brain, and thrills them when you say GOOD DOG! (and/or treat) to reward the behavior you wanted. Dogs that figure out they can turn you into a praise/treat machine become wag-happy canines. It only takes a five minute training session a couple times a week to teach tricks that amaze your friends. Training also keeps doggy minds young. There are some great trick training books available.

Offer A Bed

Many dogs adore a cozy, comfortable bed in which to lounge. Greyhounds, for example, may kick you off the sofa if not given a better opportunity. Older dogs relish heated beds that help creaky joints loosen up in cold weather.

Dress Your Dog Up

Small dogs and those with thin coats get shivery during cold weather. Why not resolve to give your dogs stylish sweaters that keeps furry nether regions warm? That also can help with potty behavior because tiny dogs will not want to brave icy potties to do their business, but a coat can make the brisk air less abrasive.

Open The Door

When you have a safe outdoor enclosure your dog may enjoy spending more time outside in the snow than you enjoy. Northern sled breeds turn into hot dogs inside our toasty furnace warmed homes. You can provide pet doors that seal out winter cold but allow your dogs to come and go as they please. That is win win for the whole family.

Hope these suggestions help make your and your pets new year a great one.

Until we meet agin; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab