How are your New Year’s resolutions going so far? Need an extra boost to keep it up during the rest of 2018? Why not include your dog in the action?

The DogWatch Hidden Fences team thinks that dogs make everything more fun – and we’ve come up with some ideas to energize your resolutions with the help of man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

Exercise With A Smile

Runner with Gordon Setter dog

Starting an exercise routine is a perennially popular resolution. Dog owners who take on this task can not only improve their own health but also the health of their pet. Bring your dog along on your walks and runs.  Your dog will get some much needed extra exercise, and their happy faces will encourage you to fight through those tough hills and that painful last mile.

If you prefer to exercise indoors, incorporate some fetching games into your warms up and cool downs. It will help you start and end your workout on a happy note. Furthermore, by including your dog in your routine, it will give you one more reason to stick with it. You don’t want to disappoint Max or Bella, right?

Flex Your Mind Muscles

Rio the Black Mixed-Breed Dog with Newspaper

If you’re anything like us, you love curling up on the couch next to your pup. While we all love these precious moments of relaxation, sometimes we also crave some fun activities that challenge us to think in new ways. These activities range from reading that new novel your co-worker raved about, mastering the New York Times crossword puzzle, or building that bookshelf that is still in pieces in the basement.

How do you find the time for these tasks? Get the whole family involved, including the family pet. Establish “puzzle hour” or “reading night,” and ask that everyone disconnect from their phones and computers and TVs during this brief period of relaxing “brain time.” As for the dog, give her her own learning activity. Stuff a KONG toy with her favorite snack, or place treats inside a “puzzle” toy (read about some examples here). She’ll be occupied and energized – just like the rest of the family.

Homemade Goodies for All

Maude Enjoys Her Treats

January is also a popular time for starting a new healthy eating plan. While we can’t promise to make your diet 100% “fun,” we can share our favorite way to spice up your routine and help you stick with it. Cooking meals instead of reaching for the fast food or prepared meal option can be a great way to introduce more nutritious and balanced food into your routine. Why not include your dog in your kitchen experiments?

There are plenty of great dog treat recipes out there (see our blog post for some examples), and many of them are easy enough for even the most amateur of chefs. What’s more, homemade treats are often cheaper than the store-bought varieties, and they make great gifts, too! You can even get your dog-owner-friends involved by hosting a healthy pot-luck and pet treat dinner. Soon, you may actually look forward to cooking!

Makeover Time

Photo of papillon with bow in her fur

Ladies, a new year is a great time to try a new beauty routine, right? And gentlemen, even you might take advantage of the new year to try something different, say a shorter haircut or a new beard? Don’t you think your dog deserves a makeover, too?

Don’t worry, we aren’t advocating a radical shaved ‘do’ for your retriever or a pink dye job for your Westie. Instead, we suggest a quick “beauty check.” Is your dog’s shaggy hair in need of a quick trim? Is his coat shiny or is it looking dull? Are her nails so sharp that they rip through your tights or socks? Do his teeth look healthy, or could they use a cleaning or regular brushing? How about that breath? Take some time to check your dog, and determine if some pampering is in order. Help him look and feel the best that he can – he deserves it!

Clean Out Your Closet

dog toys

Finally, did you vow to clean up the clutter once and for all in 2017? Take a moment to go through your dog’s things, too. Check that all of the dog toys are in good condition, and discard any chipped or broken toys that your dog could accidentally digest. Go through your dog food pantry, checking for expired food. If you find any unopened food or toys in good condition that your dog does not like, consider donating them to an animal shelter, where they can be put to good use. To find a shelter near you, use Petfinder’s “Find a Shelter” feature.

Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions! We hope these tips help you stick to them and make 2018 a great year for you and your dog. Share your own tips (and resolutions) here in the comments, or via Facebook and Twitter. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Photo Credits (images have been cropped):
Rio the Black Mixed-Breed Dog with Newspaper” by Found Animals Foundation (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Maude Enjoys Her Treats” by Tricia (CC BY 2.0)
Untitled photo of Papillon by Cherrie Mio Rhodes (CC BY 2.0)
Toys” by Eric.Ray (CC BY 2.0)