It’s January and the time for new year resolutions. While you may a few on your own list, have you thought about resolutions for your pet? Here we have a few ideas that you could aim to work into your 2019 routine if you aren’t already doing so:
Whether you have a cat or dog, setting a goal to brush their teeth on a regular basis will certainly pay off in 2019. How regular? Ideally daily to disrupt the cycle of plaque mineralizing to hard tartar. At minimum, brushing every other day is needed to make an impact in reducing tartar accumulation. New habits can be a bit scary for pets, so go slow when you start and aim for only a few seconds of brushing at a time, then slowly work up to the whole mouth. Focus on the outside of the teeth, that’s where all the tartar builds up, and 60 seconds should be enough to get the whole mouth.
Visit www.vohc.org for dental product recommendations.
Home Nail Trims
Keeping your cat or dog’s nails short can have many benefits. It can reduce damage in your home from scratching behavior, prevent in-grown or torn nails, and save yourself the cost of grooming appointments. New to trimming your pet’s nails or have found them difficult in the past? There are several great online resources for how to slowly train your pet to enjoy nail trims via positive reinforcement training. Here are some nail trimming resources:
Facebook Group - Nail Maintenance for Dogs (**this is a closed group so you will need to ask to join**)
Dr. Sophia Yin’s blog post Counterconditioning for Toenail Trim Aggression
Dr. Sophia Yin’s video Training a Dog to Enjoy Nail Trims
Another Dr. Sophia Yin video on training a dog against nail trim aggression
PDF handout from Dr. Sophia Yin on Teaching Dogs to Love Having Their Toenails Trimmed
You might be trying to hit the gym more often in 2019, but have you thought about your pet’s exercise too? Regular activity is important for dog and cat overall wellness. Benefits include weight management, maintain muscle mass, decreased stress and anxiety, and cardiovascular health. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day - walking, running, swimming, training, or play - but more is good too!
Training and Enrichment
Is 2019 the year you master a new hobby? Well, similar to how new activities make your life more exciting, they do the same for our pets. Try starting with the basics - sit, stay, come, and leash manners - then progress to more advance tricks. Positive reinforcement and consistency is key and clicker training can also be a great tool for pet learning. You would be amazed how much progress you can make with 5 minutes a day, plus you get the added bonus of creating a stronger bond with your pet. Don’t forget about your kitties either, they can learn tricks just like dogs.
For motivation, watch these videos - Clicker Trained Cat: 30 Amazing Tricks and Nana the Border Collie Performs Amazing Dog Tricks
Training References (all can be found on our Amazon page!):
"I'll Be Home Soon" - Patricia McConnell
"Feisty Fido" - Patricia McConnell
"The Cautious Canine" - Patricia McConnell
"Decoding Your Dog" - ACVB
"How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves" - Sophia Yin