By: Melissa Kolmar, CDPT-KA, SBA
2019 is rapidly coming to a close and 2020 looms large on the horizon. Whenever a new year is set to begin, we reflect on what we would like to achieve in the new year. Why don’t we include our dogs in our resolutions this year? Here are some ideas to give you a jump-start!
1. Go on more walks with your dog and change up the route.
Walks aren’t just physical exercise for your dog, they are also a form of mental enrichment. The same walk every day can get boring and predictable. Try changing your route every few days to give them new sights and smells. Speaking of smells…
2. Do a fun sniffing activity with your dog!
A third of your dog’s brain is dedicated to scenting. That’s a lot of brain power! You can channel it in many ways: a nose work class (we have a new Intro to Nose Work beginning on February 8th!), food puzzles, find it games and sniff walks.
3. Give your dog more mental enrichment.
If you have a food puzzle, that’s awesome! But if they get the same food puzzle every day, that can get a little boring. Instead, rotate the puzzle with others. There are lots of great DIY puzzle ideas out there (Canine Enrichment and Beyond the Bowl are two great Facebook groups that you can use as inspiration).
4. Teach your dog a new trick each month.
Ever heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? FALSE! You can teach a dog at any age. Teaching tricks is great mental exercise and you can even earn a title in it! We have a Novice Tricks class beginning in January (the 11th or 30th) if you need help getting started.
5. Observe your dog.
Take time to observe them in different environments. Dogs are constantly communicating and sometimes we miss it. Watch them in a variety of situations and become an expert in their body language and signals. It will make your relationship that much stronger!