I know, I know—a New Year resolutions blog in January - ground breaking.
To be honest, I rarely make new year’s resolutions for myself apart from “keep up the good work, Champ” (just kidding). With all that 2020 brought, though, when I sat down at the start of the new year to think of ways I could make my life easier and better for me and my dogs, in 2021, a bunch of ideas came rolling in.
Commit to Staying Active
It’s easy to lose your exercise routine during the winter, but the importance of daily physical activity cannot be understated, mentally, and physically for both you and your dog. Even if your dog is not a double-coated breed made for the cold, like the Alaskan Malamute, they can still enjoy the outdoors using appropriate outerwear and limiting their time outside.
The same goes for us humans. Is it time for you to get some new gear? A new parka, toque, or pair of gloves might motivate you to brave the cold. I recently bought a new pair of boots that feature special soles with grips for the ice used by Zamboni drivers. I am now a lot more confident when I hit the icy sidewalks of my neighbourhood for our daily walks.
If your dog still has energy to burn after a short jaunt outside in the cold, indoor exercise activities might be more up your alley. My youngest dog is a Doberman Pinscher and is very energetic. With her short coat, I knew I needed a way to keep her fit (and me sane) this winter, so I thought we would try a dog treadmill. I’m floored with how well she’s taken to it. It keeps her brain and her body in great condition. I’ll write a blog on my experience with treadmills shortly, so stay tuned!
And I know I am very late to the party on this one, but I have finally discovered a phone application that tracks how many steps you take daily. My new app helps me keep at it by fueling my competitive nature. I am always trying to break yesterday’s or last week’s record. My dogs thanked me for this discovery as they have enjoyed getting their steps in too! I should say that the app only counts my steps. Imagine how impressive it would be if it counted my dogs’ steps!
Many of us have resolutions that involve money. Pet Insurance is a responsible way to plan for the unexpected and can be of major help if you plan to keep your finances in order this year.
I often get asked by new puppy owners whether or not I would recommend pet insurance. My answer is always the same. I tell them that if they can afford to pay $6000 for an emergency procedure without batting an eye, then don’t get insurance for their puppy. If that big of an expense would be a struggle to manage, get pet insurance. There are several different Canadian Pet Insurance companies whose coverage you can research. Check out our website for more information on how to get started.
Discover a New Sport
Learning a new dog sport is an awesome way to sharpen your dog’s mind and body. It will also introduce you to new experiences, as well as new friends. I just discovered that there is a training facility close to my new house that offers all kinds of dog sports, including agility and scent detection. I’ve already enrolled and am so excited for us to get involved.
It’s gross to discuss, but it is important for you, your dogs, and your lawn to clean up dog feces regularly. Despite the snow, this chore shouldn’t go on hold during the winter. It’s no secret that snow can hide as well as freeze dog poop, but the truth always comes out once the wintery blanket melts in the springtime. Talk about a rude awakening! To avoid an awful mess during the thaw, keep on top of it. I have three dogs so getting out daily is a must. I find the long-handled metal scoopers work well in the snow and ice.
While the internet does offer many fantastic dog sites and blogs where we can learn more about our beloved four-legged friends, I find nothing more enjoyable than a good dog book. I’ve asked several people whom I admire in the world of dogs to send me their favourite books that have helped make them a better breeder, exhibitor, and/or fancier. Keep an eye on my blogs as I will be sharing reviews of these books throughout the year!
Support Small Businesses
More than ever before, independent businesses need our support. So many people involved in the dog world are small business owners. There are tons of ways to help out, despite any local COVID-19 related restrictions. Book an appointment with an independent grooming shop, enroll in classes at a local dog sports facility, order toys and treats from a small pet shop. You can also support them through social media by liking, following, and engaging with accounts run by small business owners.
2020 was a year unlike any other we have known. Is there a person who you regularly saw at dog shows and trials that haven’t been active on social media lately? Now would be a good time to reach to check in a see how they are doing. Maybe they need a hand, an ear to listen, or just a laugh. Reminding a friend how special they are will make both of your days.
These are just a few resolutions I have for my dogs and myself this year. Wishing you and your dogs a healthy and happy new year!