New Year’s Resolutions, canine edition


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!


  1. Yes, my goal started in 2020 and extends through 2021 – to teach my sweet, intelligent, loving standard poodle to enjoy his crate as his special resting spot and to get rid of his SEVERE separation anxiety. It won’t be easy.
    I adopted him last year when he was 4 years old. He came to me with hating to be crated (He totally destroyed 2 large crates and a door to a room before I got him.). After 8 months I finally got him to happily sit, down, stand & eat his meals in his crate on command so he enjoys resting in his crate with the crate door open. So far so good. Now for the tough part – for him not to panic when the crate door is closed. So far he is stress free for 20 seconds. I will build time very slowly. Eventually, I need to crate him whenever I leave the house so my house will still be in one piece when I come home. Currently I cannot leave him alone in the house, crate or no crate, for even 5 minutes. The one time I left for 2 hours (Dr’s appointment), he was foaming at the mouth, all over his chest, crate , tile floor and crate rungs. I vowed then to do whatever it takes to change that fear into something positive. I have hired a reputable licensed dog trainer who has experience in dealing with this type of a problem. She said we may never get him totally comfy, but I am going to try my best. He is so wonderful otherwise. I never thought a standard poodle could be so loving. He adores me. I’m determined to fix this problem.


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