As we say goodbye to 2021, we look ahead to 2022. What the year has in store is anyone’s guess, but as dog owners, it’s a good chance to reflect on how we can do better. With that in mind, here are five resolutions to keep top-of-mind as the year unfolds.  

Resolution #1: Get your dog properly trained

While proper, full-bodied training normally commences at 6 months of age, you can start teaching simple obedience commands from as early as 7 weeks. These take the form of “sit”, “stay”, “stop” and so forth, and are an important step in your dog’s development. We’ll do a follow-up article on this point in the weeks to come. 

Resolution #2: Resist the temptation to talk to your dog like a human

Often, we dog owners think that our pets can understand what we’re saying. But ironically, our verbal commands are interpreted in exactly the wrong way. For instance, we’ll feel the urge to scold a dog loudly when he’s misbehaving, but in the canine world, this raising of the voice is seen to be positive reinforcement for the behavior that’s troubling us. In 2022, remember to communicate with your dog non-verbally first: often what’s not said is most important.  

Resolution #3: Invest in exercise

Dogs need plenty of exercise, and that’s especially true of larger breeds, like Greyhounds and the like. You can get away with the minimum if you own a Bulldog, but chances are that your pooch will need a daily walk. In 2022, endeavor to up the exercise quotient – it’ll be good for both you and your animal, and it’ll work as a good bonding exercise too. 

As an aside, obesity is a dog killer, so it’ll ensure you’re making your dog’s health a priority. 

Resolution #4: Visit the vet twice a year

No dog enjoys a trip to the local vet, but it’s a necessary precaution. Aim to go every six months for a routine check-up: this will ensure you don’t get surprised by any unforeseen problems. 

Resolution #5: Say yes to a stable routine

Dogs absolutely love knowing what they’re doing when, and a lot of bad behavior can be remedied by simply sticking to a schedule. Sleep times, meal times and exercise should all take place at set times (within reason). You don’t have to be completely militant about it, but dogs should be eased into a routine, and this routine should be minimally disrupted throughout the year. Failing this, dogs can learn a lot of antisocial habits, simply because they’re not getting a sense of structure. 

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