An estimated 40 to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions this time of year. By far, the top 3 new year’s resolutions are:
– weight loss,
– exercise program,
– stop smoking.
Other popular resolutions deal with debt reduction and better money management in the year to come. But what about including your dog in your New Year’s resolutions this year? We all have at least one or two (probably more) behaviors we would like our dogs to do on a more reliable and consistent basis. Why not make training your dog the focus of your resolution in 2020?
Much like with exercise and weight loss resolutions, you must first put in the time and effort to teach your dog what it is you want him to do. Only then can you expect to see the results you’re looking for.
The great news is that setting aside even ten minutes a day to practice with your dog will start to make a big difference. And let’s face it, hanging with our dogs is much more fun than trudging through a money management spreadsheet!
If I were to make a list of the top 3 behaviors most of my clients would want to focus on they would be:
- Polite greeting (sitting or standing instead of jumping on guests)
- Recall (coming when called)
- Reduced barking (alert bark and then quiet)
All of these and more can be trained if you can commit just a little time each day to practice, using modern, force-free methods.
This training time can be at any time of the day that works with your schedule and can also be loads of fun for both you and your dog. Creating training exercises which are more like games will ensure that you’ll both want to continue practicing.
If you’re unsure how to make your training fun, let us know and we can show you how. And no matter where you are geographically, we can help you achieve your goals with a convenient online consult.
In addition to your goal of more consistent and reliable behaviors, brief, regular training time with your dog can lead to many other positive results.
- Better communication and understanding
- Physical exercise for each of you
- Mental exercise for each of you
- Stronger bond
- Better impulse control from your dog
- More pleasant relationship overall
Of course, there are those who think New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time. They are convinced that everyone gives up on them within a few weeks or months anyway, so what’s the point?
While it is true that many of us fail to follow through the entire year, you may be surprised that of the 40-45% of American who set resolutions, approximately half (46%) are still going strong after 6 months.
So, don’t let the naysayers discourage you. If you want to set resolutions for yourself, go for it! If you want those goals to include your dog, I think that’s even better! Continuing to complain about how we wish our dog’s behavior was different is the same as complaining about our weight or debt.
Only action will bring about the change we’re looking for in ourselves AND our dogs.
Tiffany Lovell, CSAT, CPDT-KA, AAI, operates Cold Nose College, Space Coast in Brevard County, Florida and offers force-free training and behavior consulting. She specializes in private in-home coaching & training, separation-anxiety training (local & remote to anywhere in the U.S. & internationally) and behavior consults. (321) 757-2059; coldnosecollege.com