Few things are as motivating as the beginning of a new year. The excitement of new possibilities spurs many people into acting on things they have been putting off.

Resolutions aren’t just for improving yourself, they can be used to help encourage a healthier and more present lifestyle with your best four-legged friend as well. Below are five approachable New Year Resolutions for dog owners that will set you and your dog up for a wonderful 2023.

1.       Get outside on more walks

Exercising is the top resolution each new year. Why? All the physical and mental health benefits, not to mention, the confidence boost it can bring. This rings true for your dog as well. If you’re interested in moving your body more in the new year, include your dog. Walks are proven to be a fantastic workout for humans and dogs, enriching our dog’s minds with new scents, sounds, and sights, as well as reducing anxiety. The same is true for you as well.

2.       Prioritize dog “self-care”

Okay, your dog can’t exactly treat himself to a spa day. But you can! Regular bathing and grooming are key for any dogs with allergies or living in an environment that is prone to producing fleas and ticks.

Hands-on involvement in the grooming process allows you to inspect your dog and be quickly tipped off when anything is out of sorts. So, throw some rubber ducks in the tub and be committed to having a shiny, happy pup!

3.       Build a stronger brain

You’ve heard it a million times, a bored dog is a bad dog. Okay, not always but a dog that isn’t mentally enriched is more likely to exhibit some destructive or unwanted behavior.

Dedicate time to teaching your dog new tricks – 15 minutes of training is equivalent to an hour of exercise! If you can’t be home to keep your dog entertained, provide toys as a Kong stuffed with peanut butter to keep them from getting into any trouble.

4.       Refresh those obedience skills

Much like humans, dogs can forget their manners. The start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to spend time reinforcing all of the good behaviors you expect from your dog. Like above, short 15-minute sessions every day can be enough to strengthen the skills your dog built. If you realize your dog forgot a little more than you expected, call in a trainer for some assistance! Just a handful of sessions should do the trick.

5.       Enjoy the moment

At the end of the day, our dogs are only with us for a finite amount of time. Remember to slow down and enjoy the small moments with your dog. It’s easy to get caught up in your own world, but your dog is still part of that world. Be inspired by the new year to give your dog some extra hugs and games of fetch.