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Setting Goals for your Dog

Happy New Year! We hope everyone is off to a great start so far. :-)

It’s the time of year when many people set resolutions, goals, or intentions for themselves, their businesses, or their families. Have you ever set goals for your dog? While it may seem strange, it’s a fabulous idea to have targets, or goals, for your pup to hit as he or she goes about their year as a beloved family member.

It seems there are a growing number of people forgoing the resolutions altogether, so why bring the dog into the melee, too, right?

We’ve all been there -- standing there with bright faces, lofty goals, and high hopes, only to be disappointed in ourselves when we fall off the horse. However, perhaps, it is not the act of making resolutions or setting goals that’s the problem. Maybe it’s the goal itself and how we decide to tackle it.

It is good and healthy for us to have goals for ourselves and our family, including the dog. All it takes is a bit of planning, patience, and consistency!

Many times we set goals that are too large and ambiguous. See last year’s article on Setting Resolutions that are SMART. If you have a big dream, get out a sheet of paper and brainstorm. Break down the task into smaller and smaller parts until you get to a list of simple steps to follow. We could think of it as leaving a trail of doggie treats to follow, leading us to our destination!

For example, if your goal was to go stand-up paddle boarding with your dog, you’d need to:

  • Introduce him to water - manmade and natural pools.

  • Introduce him to your SUP board and paddle (the equipment).

  • Teach him to swim (break this down into smaller steps - check out this blog).

  • Introduce him to a life vest as applicable.

  • Investigate the lake you’d like to take him to. Are there any restrictions or rules?

  • Make sure he’s up-to-date on parasite preventatives like tick and heartworm medicines.

  • You get the idea. Make as long of a list of tasks as needed. It’s fun to cross them off, and keeps you motivated!

Another, perhaps more simple, example is taking the dog on a walk for two to three miles every day. The pup will need a harness, leash, and poopie bags. Has he walked that far before? If not, begin with a quarter to half the distance, based on his current activity level, and gradually build up the mileage. Do you need to schedule the walks into your calendar, so it’s a priority? Do you need a pair of good tennis shoes? Before you know it, you’ll be the stars of the neighborhood!

One of our goals is to have a monthly theme for blogs and videos. :-) Here is the calendar we’ve planned!

We hope these ideas will help you set and achieve the goals you dream of for yourself and your dog! What are some of your goals? Feel free to share them with us!

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