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  • Writer's pictureparklifehoniton

What’s Your Dogs New Years Resolution?

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

As a Honiton dog walker and canine care professional I love to see life from a dogs point of view. Elsa’s (my dog) New Years Resolution would be to finish off the contents of the fridge, chuck the cat Lunar in cat prison and for her hooooman to spend every waking moment pandering to her every need. They say Saluki’s have staff not owners and I can confirm this is correct!

Doesn’t sound like a bad start does it?

Well, I thought of some alternatives that we’re currently debating on at the moment and she’s fairly impressed as raiding the fridge and imprisoning the cat is not going to happen (doggy sad face!)

Now every dog is different so what might be good for Princess Elsa might not be enjoyable for your dog and a great thing to do would be to list everything your dog loves, from the things you do to the treats they like.

I can guarantee what your dog will want is to spend more time with you, have a better quality time with you and to do things together that is fun and rewarding.

I have no doubt in my mind that that will be your dogs New Years Resolution! along with raiding the fridge of course.

You can even spend a bit of time lining up toys or treats to see which ones they go for first and that way you’ll know what their most favourite reward is.

The core of any good dog training and a close relationship between you and your dog is getting them to do things because they really want to.

Play tug with your dog at least once a day

I went to a training session last year to see Craig Ogilvie at because I heard that playing tug with your dog can be one of the best things you can do. Now I’ve heard the old sayings that it can make your dog aggressive and I can confirm this is rubbish although if your dog has possession issues then you may want to rethink.

Craig has worked all over the world and specialises in arousal levels in dog, now this doesn’t mean how horny they get, it means excitement levels and he encourages this excitement along with getting your dog to do things so you have their total undivided attention. Check him out, he’s good.

Give your dog a kong or a brain game once a day

Kongs are the best product on the market I would say. They can help with a whole heap of things like, calming a dog down, diverting attention away from something, separation anxiety, boredom, and mental stimulation. Dogs love having a job to do, they are not scared of hard work and a kong with a little bit of something inside will get them focused on a job which is very rewarding. If I was to make a dog starter kit, a kong would most definitely be on there. Be sure to buy the right size for your dog. This is important because if it's too small they won’t be able to use it. The website can direct you.

If you have a very intelligent or bored dog, there are a variety of brain games on offer on amazon. They all vary in difficulty so building up to harder levels can be a really fun thing to do with your dog, You may want to spend lots of time helping them to get use to it because if it’s too difficult they may get bored and frustrated and give up.

Try scatter feeding for your dog. Eating out of a bowl is boring! the top trainers in the country are now carrying around their dogs dinner with them so they can feed them out on walks, in the garden scattered over the lawn, in kongs, brain games and whilst training. Getting your dog to do a job before they get their food is a rewarding and positive experience. Dogs love to work because 20000 years evolution has cemented our relationship to work together, also this way of feeding is an entirely natural way for your dog to eat.

Give your dog better quality treats and food.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a minefield out there when it comes to feeding and treating your dog. Where once a great thing to feed your dog may now be on the danger list! Rawhide being the worst. Poor quality dog foods that are cheap are common place and pet shops full of really dangerous toys and treats like cooked bones.

I would just like to say, just because it’s being sold it doesn’t make it ok. Luckily food standards for dogs are getting better and canine nutrition is more important now than it ever was.

I’m pretty sure the reason why my old dog Cloe nearly died of bowel disease is because I fed her a popular brand of cheap dog food. I’m so glad I know better now.

My top tips would be to not buy any of your dog food from a super market and trust in a reputable pet shop who can help you with your budget.

I like to change my dogs food once in a while to help her not be so chained to one particular brand. The reason why dogs get upset stomachs when we change their diet is because they so use to eating the same thing, mixing it up a bit can help your dog to have a less sensitive stomach and the variety can help them get different nutrients. Be careful if your dog has food allergies or intolerances.

Check out for top quality treats and rawhide or cooked bone alternatives. For a nutritional and complimentary aides.

Do five activities on your walk

One thing my mentor taught me through his brilliant dog training books is to be more f**king interesting. It did’t take me long to turn around my increasingly unmanageable dog walking groups where the little swines didn’t bat an eyelid at my commands and just wanted to race around with each other, to me being able to walk with six dogs past other dogs in the area with their complete and utter concentration and focus on me and entirely ignoring the other dogs. I did feel like God when this first happened and I still get extremely smug to this day when it happens.

This can happen to you too if you spend time playing all the way through the walk, getting your dogs to search for treats, hiding them in the tree of treats! hiding yourself behind the tree of treats, running the other way so they have to run after you, doing sit and stays along the way, playing catch, spins and generally dancing around like a spoon getting their attention. Dogs like to party and do not need any excuse other than for you to start the ball rolling.

If you have a dog that likes playing with toys take a few out. I don’t tend to take toys with me because they start arguments and the toe rags tend to loose them.

Playing games on the walks and in the house will improve their training, attention and your bond so get yourself a treat bag and get out there. Do things differently because this is their walk, not yours.

Play with your dog 20 minute everyday

My dog knows if she picks up a toy and wants to play, we’ll play. To me this is a clear indication she’s got a bit of energy to burn and it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, we’ll mess around for 10 minutes or so and she’s very happy. I would consider this better than a 20 minute walk with no interaction. I’m not saying not to get your dog out for a walk but playing, jumping, tugging and using different muscles can be a good change. All the better if you can do this outside.

20 minutes of play will strengthen your bond, help you with training, keep your dog stimulated and also keep you fit. by Dominic Hodgson will be a fantastic start to get you playing and interacting with your dog more effectively. A no jargon approach to dog training written for the everyday dog owner. You won’t need a phd in canine behaviour to follow his techniques and you’ll see results very quickly.

All the activities I do on my canine wilderness adventures have had a dramatic effect on the dogs I take out. I get positive feed back constantly and even sleepy dog photos saying their dog is quiet as a mouse and very settled on the days they go out with me.

I feel it’s because of the way I conduct my adventures by adding games to play, different areas to explore, mixing the activities up and generally keeping the dogs focused by getting to use their brains a lot more.

I’m a great believer in not allowing dogs to play too hard together without constant recall, redirecting and even stopping play. Yeah, spoil sport!

Why? If your dog is getting more enjoyment from something or someone else then they will stop listening, you will have zero control and it can lead to obsessions. I want to lead my dogs into good habits, not bad ones.

If your dog wants to join our pack of wilderness adventurers for their new years resolution to get more sociable, fit and have a better life send me a message and we’ll arrange a phone call.

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