Whole Dog Journal's Blog January 4, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions, canine edition

Posted at 09:50AM - Comments: (5)

I don’t know anyone who is a perfect dog owner. I know people who do an amazing job with their dogs from a training and behavior perspective – and who feed their dogs really crummy dog food. And conversely, I have friends who spend a fortune on top-quality food for their dogs – that is, their terribly under-socialized, untrained dogs. It seems like we all have an Achilles heel when it comes to managing our dogs’ emotional, intellectual, and physical health (or our own, for that matter! But that’s another story.).

I’m far from perfect myself. There are weeks when I’m so busy with work that Otto gets very little individual attention or exercise. I feed him high-quality kibble, but keep talking about shifting him to a raw home-prepared diet or at least a commercial frozen raw diet. Sometimes I get impatient or am surprised by some naughty behavior and yell at him – and usually, by saying his name loudly and harshly, just as Pat Miller taught us not to, in “Say My Name,” in the January issue of WDJ.

I can’t hope for perfection, but a well-trained, well-adjusted, confident, fit, healthy dog is my goal. To that end, my canine resolutions for 2011 include switching Otto to a raw diet full-time and competing with him in agility. (This latter will take a lot more time and commitment than just the one class we’ve taken so far.)

Do you have any goals for you and your dog or dogs this year? Any that you’d care to share? They might inspire others to think about and develop some goals for improving their dogs’ lives, too!

Comments (5)

I have three dogs, each of whom I went 'round and 'round about over the last three months regarding what to do with them next.

For the 9-year-old, I've decided to delve into more advanced Nose Work classes, perhaps even trialing!

For the two 2-year-olds, they will get their CGCs this year ... one in early Spring, the other later on in the year.

Pretty good plan ... let's see how I do with it!

Posted by: Natalie H. | January 4, 2011 7:06 PM    Report this comment

I don't make resolutions for myself, but I have made one for my dog this year. We recently moved away from the city, where he had daily morning romps with his friends at the local dog run. Now he's bored, but we have a fenced back yard, so I'm determined to find doggy friends for him to have over for regular playdates!

Posted by: jenna | January 4, 2011 1:43 PM    Report this comment

I own an American Pit Bull Terrier who is 5 years old now and a joy to be with. He's very bonded to me and while he has his moments (barking loudly in frustration cause he wants to meet the guests SO BADLY for example), more often than not he's a wonderful companion. Our New Year's resolution is to obtain his Canine Good Citizen title, and to become a registered dog therapy team. Happy New Year to everyone, and I hope all your resolutions succeed!

Posted by: Caitlin L | January 4, 2011 12:42 PM    Report this comment

Yeah - actually I've made a firm resolution/commitment to my dogs!. Since I am single and retired - I have plenty of time to implement my revised scheme!
My 2 Blue Heelers (litter sisters) can be a handful. They are stubborn, sneaky, sensitive and rambunctious. In other words - typical Heelers! Oh and did I say protective. No one dares to pass my home without them both barking their heads off. It really is their only one bad trait. Otherwise they are gems. I am getting a Teacup Chihuahua very soon (OK - I know there is no such thing but he really is tiny!). It's been a life's dream to own one - but my Ex said he definitely didn't want no "rat on a rope" Hence why I now call him my Ex! LOL So - now's the time and because of my new acquisition that I pick up in another 21 days - I am learning to speak much quieter and calmer. Instead of yelling at my Heelers to stop their noise - now I just get up, take a deep calming breath, and lay a hand gently on each of their heads and say a firm No. Boy - it works instantly. Same with them watching TV., They love Animal Planet and The Dog Whisperer but some signals from troubled dogs set them off and its a rush to see who can get nearer the screen first to yell at it! I just stand up and quietly say No! Its wonderful to behold. My 2 noisy little stinkers are turning into much quieter girls. The moral of this resolution is - to change to a much calmer person in all aspects of life (I've always been assertive and the Alpha so I don't have that problem). And it's working! I sure don't want a freaked out Chi on my hands and have everyone say - we told you so - they're yappy little stinkers! haha

Also - I have thought about a raw diet, but their Orijen kibble is so fantastic - I might just go half-way. Enrich their lives a bit with the odd raw hindquarter of a chicken or Turkey neck and the odd Turkey or beef and kidney mixture with pulped raw fruit, veg and supplements.
As for enrichment. I hike for at least 2 to 3 hours a day at a Prov. Park and they get to chase deer, fox, bunnies and squirrels. Their noses take them everywhere and they have so much fun being real dogs. Thank goodness that the wild animals are way faster with nearby bolt holes - otherwise I'd be mortified if they caught one! They get their structured walks most weekends on leash with lots of Frisbee and ball chucking. I just wish I could find a more local place where they could do sheep herding but there is nowhere within 100 miles of me (and they are dead scared of Cattle! LOL
Cheers and thanks for listening... Jan Scott

Posted by: janscott | January 4, 2011 11:58 AM    Report this comment

My 9 yo small dog was just diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. I am reading all I can about supplements and herbs to complement the medicine the vet has prescribed. She had been very healthy up till now -- great home prepared diet, plenty of exercise, clicker trained and obtained her CGC (ok, I think I'm bragging here a little) but her slight cough went undiagnosed until it became a wet cough from her lungs. I will develop a plan to restore her to health ... or at least keep her as healthy as possible.

My second goal for her is to continue her diabetes alert training. She knows how to paw alert my husband now, and we are working with a scented cottonball to teach her which scent she should alert to.

Posted by: Carolyn M | January 4, 2011 11:37 AM    Report this comment

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