4 Ways to Improve Your Relationship in the New Year

Beautiful woman on a summer day out with her dogs in the woods

As we look forward to 2019 let’s make one resolution together. To improve the relationship between our dogs and ourselves. Let’s face it, life moves fast. We are all busy and finding “extra” time to make changes seems difficult. I encourage my students to make small changes, which turn into BIG results.

Here are four simple ways to create a better bond with your dog:

  1. Train, Don’t Complain – Don’t we all enjoy learning new things? Take a class to work on a specific problem area of behavior. You don’t have to commit to a long class session as many of our classes are only 3 or 4 weeks long. Our FLEX levels package can be purchased for 10 sessions to be used according to your schedule (great for a “tune up.”) Teach a new trick at home. Multiple daily training sessions, of less than 5 minutes at a time, actually help your dog learn more quickly! Remember positive reinforcement is the way to build trust and cooperation!

  2. Play With Your Dog – Play is a way to facilitate engagement and create a connection. Yes, you can play games with toys, like tug of war and fetch, but have you actually tried to PLAY with your dog without them? Play sessions can be as little as 3 minutes. Check out this link to Wendy playing with Mac and Me playing with Lena. Try it!

  3. Provide Daily Enrichment – Do you feed your dog every day? Of course, you do. Rather than feed every meal from a bowl consider having them work for their meals. Snuffle Mats, food dispensing toys such as the Kong Wobbler or Bob-A-Lot, and treat puzzles can be a great way for your dog to use his mind and his body. Consider becoming the “treat fairy” and scatter your dog’s meal in a room or outside (in a safe area) and let them use their nose to find their dinner. Kibble trails (think Hansel and Gretel) can also be a great way to build your dog’s nose work capabilities! None of these require any more of your time than preparing a meal in a bowl.

  4. Work on Fitness – Strength and conditioning is necessary for both physical and mental well-being in both dogs and humans. Did you know that obesity in dogs is the NUMBER ONE health problem? Fit Paws Master Trainer, Wendy Kregor offers this easy tip for fitness: “If you are a student at Two Paws Up Dog Training, you have taught your dog Tuck Sits and Stand to Sphinx Down to Stand. Both exercises are great for building and maintaining core strength and coordination as well as working hip and shoulder flexor/extensor muscles and rear leg strength. Fit them into your daily routine by practicing them before your dog’s meals. Using 10 pieces of kibble, ask for 5 Tuck Sits and 5 Sphinx Down to Stands before each meal. (Remember, feet should not move

when performing the Sphinx Down) Tada! Your dog has just worked their core!”

Senior dogs need to stay flexible and mobile to lessen the effects of aging, both physically and mentally. Puppies need exercise but did you know that we often don’t exercise them correctly? Read this for the latest research-based guidelines on exercise for puppies.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to create trust, build mutual respect, and to give our dog back some of the love they give us. I’m giving back in 2019. How about you?

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