Surprise surprise, a resolution about exercise
I NEED to move my body for my mental and physical health and my high energy herding dog needs exercise for exactly the same reasons. I keep a Fi collar on my guy and know from experience that if he doesn’t get 30K steps in a day then his nervous behaviors start to bubble to the surface. Exercise needs vary from dog to dog, and more is not always better, so pay attention to what your dog's current needs are and try not to over train them or you may end up with a routine that is unsustainable.
The plan: Take my dude dog on a 20 minute jog or hike 3-5 times per week.
Meditation and the like
Both my dog and I are nervous nellies by heart, which means we need to do some mindful and intentional work to build up a positive baseline to work from. A good baseline can help us handle any potential stressors the day throws at us.
The plan: Start and end each day with stress relieving activities - meditation or somatic exercises for me and low-arousal enrichment for my dog - chewing, licking, dissection, and foraging can be meditative for soothing for most dogs.
Being more social
Despite my dog being reactive on walks, he is actually VERY social and loves other dogs as long as he is able to meet them in a way that feels safe to him. I too, am a social creature but usually put this at the very bottom of my priority list - but there is nothing better for the soul than hanging out with a good friend and keeping those social skills sharp.
The plan: schedule a play date for the puppy boy once a week.
Share a hobby with your dog
I love training and my dog loves parkouring off the furniture, so agility class is a great place for us to learn something new together! Think about what interests you and your dog might share - it could be jogging, playing frisbee, trick training, hiking, socializing, etc!
The plan: Commit to a weekly agility class
More nature bathing
If you have a reactive dog in Philly, you know how amazing it is to have so many public parks so close by and how heartbreaking it is to not be able to use most of them because there are almost always off leash dogs around every corner. But being in the woods is so healing for human and canine alike, it is almost always worth it to hop in the car and travel to a spot where running into an off leash dog is less likely (I’m looking at you Heinz Wildlife Refuge!) - go feel that sunshine and get some good sniffs in.
The plan: find lower traffic parks or sniff spots for routine dog outings. (let me know if you have any hidden gems you’d like to share!).
What resolutions have you and your dog made together this year? Leave a comment below!