New Year, New Adventures: Setting Goals for Your Dog!

New Year, New Adventures: Setting Goals for Your Dog!

Every year I like to set goals for Bella ad my self. And every year they are different because every year she is different.  Some years I set goals for us together and some years it's all about Bella. 

Why set goals for your dog? 

Well Why not set goals for your dog?! I know theres always things I am wanting to do with and for Bella and having them written down really helps me keep them top of mind.  Putting them in my calendar insures that I actually do them!  More on formulating them in a bit.

Start by Reflecting on the Past Year
To go forward we must take look back.  What did you do with your dog in 2023 that went well and maybe would like to do more of?  What would you like to do less of? 

Now on to 2024...

Types of Goals:

1. Health and Fitness

Regular veterinary visits ensures that your dog receives preventive care, vaccinations, and early detection of any potential health issues, contributing to a longer and healthier life.

Weight Management: Just like humans, dogs can face health issues if they are overweight. Setting fitness goals for your dog, such as maintaining an ideal weight, helps ensure they lead a healthy and active life.

Physical Exercise: Establishing goals for daily walks, playtime, or specific exercises helps to keep your dog physically fit, reducing the risk of obesity, joint problems, and other health issues.

Health and fitness goals might include:

- Talking to your vet about your dogs weight and if needed start a weight loss program  

- Adding more daily exercise and play time  

- washing your dogs bowls daily after every meal. 

2. Training and Enrichment

Dogs are intelligent animals that require mental stimulation. Setting goals for training sessions, puzzle toys, and interactive games helps prevent boredom, reducing the likelihood of destructive behavior due to lack of mental engagement.

Training and enrichment goals might include:

- Teach a new trick or command.
- Enroll in a training class.
- Invest in puzzle toys for mental stimulation.

3. Socialization

Establishing goals for socialization helps your dog become well-adjusted and comfortable in various environments, reducing anxiety and fear in unfamiliar situations.

Goals for socialization might include:

- Enrolling in a training class that offers a variety of socialization opportunities
- Plan playdates with other dogs that are a good match for your dog.
- Attend pet-friendly events.

4. Grooming 

Regular grooming is not just about aesthetics; it plays a crucial role in maintaining a dog's physical health, preventing potential health issues.

Goals for grooming might include:

- Establishing a regular grooming routine with a groomer you trust.
- Brushing your dog regularly
- Nail trimming

5. Bonding and Relationship

Quality Time: Establishing goals for spending quality time with your dog, whether through walks, playtime, or cuddles, strengthens the emotional bond between you and your pup.

6. Preventing Behavioral Issues:

Setting goals to address specific behavioral concerns, such as excessive barking, aggression, or separation anxiety, enables you to work towards resolving these issues before they escalate.  A CPDT-KA trainer in your area is a great place to start when getting help with behavioral issues.

Make sure your goals are SMART! Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. Define specific, realistic goals for your dog. Whether it's basic obedience commands, losing a specific amount of weight or making sure your dog has an enrichment activity every day, having clear goals will guide your training.  If you aren't clear on your goals you won't be sure when you have achieved them.

Making it Fun with Accessories from Bella B's:
Working out at the gym is always fun with new gym clothes right?  So why not update your pups wardrobe with a new cute collar and leash for those walks you plan on taking?

Is your least favorite thing about walking your dog having to hold the poop bag? Don't let that stop you from walking your dog! Order a poop bag holder to do the dirty work for you!

I also have a variety of toys and puzzles in the shop that will help with boredom busting.  You can also head to my YouTube channel and see some of the enrichment ideas I have shared there. 

My goals for Bella this year:

Bella is turning sweet 16 next month (February 2024) so my goals for her are

- Keep her moving physically every day with walks that are appropriate in length for her.  I schedule her walks in my calendar, it's rare that we miss one.

- Mental enrichment every day.  Bella loves food puzzles, lick mats and her snuffle mat. Once a week I prep a bunch of enrichment items for her to have throughout the week.  We also still work on tricks too!

- Be present! My main goal is to be present with her as much as possible.  I know the time going forward will be a fraction of the time we have already had and I really want to enjoy her and our life as much as possible. For this I am thinking less screen time for me and more hanging out with Bella time and prioritize doing things she loves to do.

What goals will you be setting for you and your dog this year?  Tell me in the comments I would love to cheer you on! 

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1 comment

Thank you for this, Alexandra. It’s terrific! I admire the amount of thought and love you put into this. I read every word, and seeing your goals for Bella really made me think about what I can do to enrich Leon’s life.

Jana DiMaggio

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