New Year’s Resolutions for Dog Caretakers


I had to check last year’s blog posts to see if I had published any New Year’s resolutions last year; I didn’t, so I don’t have to admit how much or even whether I met any of my resolutions. But this year, I want to give public resolutions a go, to see if it will help me get any of them done.

1. Brushing My Dogs’ Teeth

One of the things I have been meaning to do, and that I think many dog owners ought to do, is brush my dogs’ teeth. Argh! I really don’t want to! But I need to just do it! Neither one of my dogs minds having his teeth brushed; it’s just one of those things *I* don’t enjoy and have a hard time making myself do. But Otto has gotten to the age where his teeth seem to attract more plaque, and it’s certainly not healthy to let it build up and give tartar formation a leg up. And even though Woody is only three years old, his teeth are already looking like he’s going to need his teeth to be cleaned by a veterinarian sometime in the next year, so he clearly needs toothbrushing as well, so I ought to get it together.

Rupert, the dog I owned before Otto, died at 14 and a half years old and never needed a dental cleaning in his life. I miss that. Maybe you get just one of those dogs in your lifetime, I don’t know. But I need to get rolling with this basic maintenance. Of course, the vets say daily toothbrushing is most effective. I’m going to aim for a few times a week and see how it goes.

dog meet and greet training

2. Getting Woody His Canine Good Citizen Title

I want to work on the Canine Good Citizen exercises with Woody, with the goal of earning his CGC title. He is capable of all of the things in the test, but putting them all together on any given day would not necessarily be a slam-dunk for him. He can be spooked by strange people at times, and working on the exercises in the test would be a good way to help him get more comfortable with meeting people and improve his reliability in public settings.

I want to find a class to work on these things, or even start a Meetup-type group with other local dog owners who would be interested in helping each other with our dogs to accomplish this goal.

whole dog journal editor nancy kerns

3. Agility Competitions!

I want to try an agility competition – even if it’s only once! – with either or both of my dogs. This is going to require more than a small investment of time, however. I have taken “fun” (i.e., not serious) agility classes with both of my dogs. Otto and I took a class years and years ago, and Woody and I took a class a few months ago. Both of my dogs love running and jumping and are even really good at the contact obstacles; but Otto is not crazy about weave poles and Woody has never even seen any. So this resolution, too, will require that we find a class and perhaps a practice facility, but it’s something I have been talking about forever, and it’s time I give it a shot. I really want to try it!

One of the reasons I am such a fan of agility has to do with the off-leash nature of the sport. If a dog doesn’t understand what his person wants, or finds the situation to be aversive in any way, it is painfully obvious to all observers, as the dog may take the wrong obstacles, decide to stop and sniff things, or even leave the ring! This forces the handler to be clear and precise, to have built a strong foundation of communication with her dog, and to have kept the training fun! I love the high-stakes nature of all that!

I think these three resolutions are PLENTY, and maybe even too much, but I am really going to try to get them all done in 2019. I will even commit to reporting on my progress as the year commences.

How about you? Anyone care to share some dog-oriented resolutions?


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