The new year is the perfect time to set good intentions and resolutions to better ourselves in the future. The same is true for establishing good habits and new routines that will benefit our pups in the coming months. We know you’re a great dog parent, but chances are, there are some places where you could make an improvement here or a tweak there that will result in positive effects for your dog’s long-term health—and your relationship with him.
Read on for the best 5 new routines to start with your dog in the new year.
1. Training Practice
Teaching your puppy new habits and tricks is useful for having her understand how to focus—yes, puppies can learn that—as well as improving their overall behavior. While you can work on a few training routines at once—like getting them house trained and sitting—don’t expect them to learn how to roll over, jump up, fetch, drop it and speak in the same week. Just like it’s challenging for children (okay, and adults) to learn a lot in a short about of time, puppies have their limits, too! Remember to reward a puppy or dog with a small treat and lots of praise and affection when you’re training them.
2. Daily Dental Care
Dental disease is the top health issue for dogs. Get ahead of dental disease by starting a daily dental care routine. Caring for your dog’s teeth now can help prevent gum disease, tooth loss and other serious health issues down the road. Compliment a brushing routine with a WHIMZEES daily dental chew. For puppies 3+ months, use WHIMZEES Puppy dental dog chew. You’ll be doing something good for your dog while also sharing a treat he’ll look forward to eating each day.
3. Daily Walks
If your vet has told you that it’s safe for your puppy to go outside for walks or to play in the backyard, make sure that exercise is part of your puppy’s routine. Walks are not only good for your pup’s heart, weight, and overall physical health, but regular walks serve as mental invigoration for your dog. They’ll tire out your dog and help them be better behaved, especially if they’re stuck indoors a lot of the time. A new year’s routine could be to commit to daily walks—rain or shine—or to walk for a certain length of time each time. Vary the route you walk so your dog has a chance to explore and sniff new smells.
4. Play time
Sure, you might throw a ball or toy to your pup and work on her fetching technique throughout the week, but if you’re not stimulating your pup’s mind, she could be missing out on learning opportunities. Consider buying a puzzle toy or play games of hide and seek with their toys or treats so they have to hunt for them. Make them go up and down stairs while you’re playing to work their muscles and keep their brain engaged.
5. A grooming routine
Many pet owners only brush their dogs when they feel like it or when they remember to do this, but brushing your dog’s fur every few days helps with scratching, preventing matted fur and can help them shed their coat. Show your pup the brush and let him smell it, then praise him as he gets brushed, keeping it a positive experience. Keep the first brushing sessions short so your dog gets used to it. Always give a tasty reward afterward so your dog associates brushing with this positive reinforcement. If your vet tells you it’s okay, bathe your dog once a month, unless she rolled around in mud or some foul-smelling substance. Routine grooming is not only good for your pet’s hygiene—and your nose—but it helps you be aware of any bumps, scratches or problem areas on his body that you might overlook with petting.
No matter your new routine, adding a healthy reward at the end of it along with lots of petting and praise will make it a fun and welcome addition to your dog’s day.