Out with the Old, in with the New: Easy New Year’s Resolutions for Better Behavior & Health
Published January 12, 2021
New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for people! We created a list of 3 doable goals to start 2021 on the right paw with easy, healthy habits.
Get your Pet on Their Best Behavior
Does your pet reliably come when you call? If not, don’t worry. Training dogs and cats to obey this simple command is actually very easy.
You know how pets come running as soon as you open their treat bag? The same sort of conditioning applies. Begin by saying your pet’s name only once, followed immediately by a treat and praise. It’s best to keep a couple of treats in your hand before starting, so your pet doesn’t associate the treat with the sound of opening their treat container.
As your pet catches on and begins to associate their name with receiving a treat, say their name and then take a few steps back. As your pet approaches, reward with a treat and praise. Over time, you can begin practicing this technique at greater distances.
Keep training sessions brief but consistent and avoid giving too many treats so your pet doesn’t get a stomachache.
Chewing Household Objects
It can be a challenge to correct a bad chewing habit, but lifestyle changes and proactive playing can be the first step to correct this destructive behavior.
First, there is no way to stop your pet from chewing what they shouldn’t when you aren’t around. Always keep objects you don’t want chewed out of reach. When you’re away, keep your pet in a designated pet-proofed area in your home.
Destructive behavior can arise from boredom and separation anxiety, so you can leave safe toys with your pet while you’re gone. Rubbing your pet’s toys between your hands will leave your scent behind, which may be comforting for anxious pets while you’re away. Ensuring you work playtime into your day when you are home will help your pet burn excess energy. We’ll discuss more about exercise later.
When you are home, teach your pet what is acceptable to play with. When you catch your pet chewing something they shouldn’t, immediately distract them and offer their own toy. Reward your pet for chewing their own toys with praise, treats, and play. Also, never offer old shoes, socks, or children’s toys to your pet to play with. Your pet can’t tell the difference between the old items they’re allowed to play with versus those that belong to you.
Daily exercise benefits physical and mental wellbeing, and fun activities will also strengthen your bond with your pet!
Exercise doesn’t have to be tedious either, even if your furry friend is a couch potato. Work with your pet’s natural schedule. Both dogs and cats are usually most active in the morning and evening, so plan on working playtime and walks in your daily routine at these times.
For cats, experts recommend short, 10- to 15-minute play sessions, ranging from 2-10 sessions daily, depending upon your pet’s age and current fitness. If your cat enjoys chasing lasers, offer a toy they can get their paws on afterward. They’ll feel much more satisfied being rewarded with “prey” after the chase.
Keeping a cat tower in your home can encourage your feline friend to stay active and play independently while you’re away as well.
Depending upon your dog’s age and current fitness, they should walk at least 15 minutes, 3-4 times per day. In addition to walks, though, dogs can also have fun in the yard and house with fetch and obstacle courses. Dogs often enjoy working for their food, so you can take the opportunity to hide their food for them to search and scavenge through the house, lead them through an obstacle course, or learn a new trick at dinner time.
Essential Tip: If you think your pet needs to lose a few pounds, a change in diet may be needed in addition to exercise. Begin with a veterinary exam. The doctor can help you determine a goal weight, the optimal diet for your pet’s needs, how much to feed, and whether a prescription diet is recommended to help your pet reach their weight goals. Book a contact-free visit here.
Plan Your Pet’s Wellness Schedule
You’ll save time, money, and hassle by planning a schedule for your pet’s preventative medications, veterinary care, and grooming needs.
At Essentials PetCare, we want to make caring for your pet as easy as possible. Whether you have an extended furry family and need easy, budget-friendly services or you are a new pet parent figuring out the basics, we take the guesswork out of planning preventative veterinary visits. Once your pet visits Essentials PetCare, we’ll also send reminders when your pet is due for routine services, so you can stay on top of their preventative needs.