I was looking around online and came across another great post about dogs from Stephanie Gibeault American Kennel Club. Our last posting was an article about the don’ts of the New Year so why not create a post about the dos for the New Year?

2018 means a new year and hopefully, new changes for yourself and your dogs. It is the year of the dog after all! This article gives great tips for a happy and healthy new year.

1. Change the route of your daily walks.

Walks don’t just provide your dog (and you) with exercise, they are a source of mental stimulation, too. But the same walk, day after day, gets boring and predictable. Try taking a different path every week, so your dog gets some new sights and smells. It can be as simple as turning right at the end of your street instead of left or reversing your usual route. You can even hop in the car and drive to a new park or neighborhood for a change of pace.
2. Rotate your dog’s toys weekly.

Providing your dog with a variety of his toys is another way of preventing boredom. Make sure he has enough toys to keep him busy at any given time and put the rest away. Then once a week, change them around. You don’t have to keep buying new toys to pique his interest – an old toy will seem fresh and exciting when it hasn’t been seen for a while. Be aware of any special favorites. Some dogs take comfort in certain toys, like a plush animal they sleep with, so keep those available at all times.
3. Play mentally challenging games with your dog every day.

Dogs love to play with their humans, and activities, like playing fetch or cuddling on the couch, are wonderful. But if you add some brain games into the mix, your dog will get a daily dose of mental exercise, which is an important part of keeping him healthy. There are commercial puzzle toys that you can play with together or you can make your own fun with games like hide and seek.


4. Train a new trick every month.

Your dog may have mastered all the basic obedience behaviors, but there is an endless number of tricks you can work on. Teaching tricks help keep your training skills polished and provide your dog with a fun and mental exercise. And by the end of the year, you will have quite an act to show off to friends and family. Make sure you start with easy tricks for novice dogs and be aware of any physical limitations, such as rolling over in some deep-chested breeds.
5. Practice obedience behaviors daily.

Even though your life is busy, it can be beneficial for you and your dog to fit even one or two minutes of obedience practice into your daily schedule. It reminds your dog of the rules of the household and prevents his skills from getting rusty. It also keeps you from taking your dog’s good behavior for granted. To help make obedience practice a habit, link your training to an already established routine. For example, whenever you put down your dog’s food bowl, ask for a “sit” or “down” first.


Of course, we, your friends at Ruffgers are readily available to help you with obedience training. Give us a call or fill out a form!