The start of a new year is a great time for resolutions for improvement! Making a resolution to do one or more of the following can go a long way towards improving the life of your pet.
- Look for ways to increase exercise. For dogs this can involve more walks, visits to dog parks, playing catch or teaching a game of hide and seek. Teach your dog to sit and stay while you hide treats around the house. Watch your dog hunt for the treats when you release him from the “stay” position. For cats this may mean more play time with you or the addition of interactive toys. Some cats enjoy chasing food pieces or treats thrown across the room or down the stairs. This can help satisfy hunting instincts and provide exercise at the same time.
- Making meal time more fun and challenging. There are many types of food puzzles you can get for both dogs and cats. One that we have used for our own pets is the “tricky treat ball”. You can also make home made food puzzles or toys – for ideas go to foodpuzzlesforcats.com. An internet search for “food puzzles for pets” will likely provide more ideas.
- Teach your pet to accept tooth brushing. Daily or every other day brushing of your pet’s teeth is the best way to keep dental issues at bay. Most pets can be slowly acclimated to tooth brushing with the use of treats, praise and rewards. Start slowly and make it fun! Start with just one tooth and advance a little each day as your pet starts to accept the process.
- Work on teaching your dog to accept nail trims. Many dogs and some cats are resistant to nail trimming. If approached as a training process with treats, praise and rewards, most pets can become accustomed to having nail trims done without fear or panic. For a good video on training your dog to accept nail trims, go to bit.ly/nailtrimtraining
- Does your cat run and hide when you bring out the cat carrier? Cat’s can be trained to accept and even like their carrier using treats and conditioning. To see how to get your cat to love it’s carrier go to bit.ly/catcarriertraining
Making some simple changes can make things more interesting for your pet, strengthen the animal/human bond and create some good new habits that will be beneficial to you and your pet. Happy New Year!