07 January 2022
This new year, there are some small things that you could change that will make the biggest difference to your dog. Why not give them a go? We bet they are way more fun than others that might be on your list!
1. Shake up those walks!
Most people tend to have a dog walking routine that doesn’t vary much. You might have your favourite, or the most convenient walks, and it's easy to lose sight of why we walk our dogs in the first place!
Walking isn’t just for physical exercise. It’s a chance to spend quality time together doing something you both enjoy - after all, when you decided to get a dog, chances are that walking was one of the things you were excited about! It’s time to give your dog a change of scenery, to indulge in the sights, sounds and sniffs of the great outdoors – and it's a great bonding exercise.
Take the time to explore new walks. Try social media and ask people what their favourite walk is in your area and go and discover it for yourself. Maybe even meet up with new friends and walk it with them.
You can vary your regular walks too… even if it’s just reversing your direction every so often. Take toys and treats – and instead of spending the time on your phone, focus on your dog instead, and make a resolution to transform your walks into something interactive – and fun!
2. Play together, stay together
One of the best ways to bond with your dog is through games and play – and interactive toys give you a way to do this; exercising your dog’s brain as well as their body.
There are loads of toys you can buy - ut you can also do a DIY job – in fact many household objects can be turned into interactive dog toys!
Try using cardboard kitchen towel rolls. Put food in them and fold over the ends so your dog has to either open it up or rip it apart (terriers love these kinds of games!). Or hide food in the folds of a large towel so the dog can sniff them out.
The secret to interactive toys is working with your dog to encourage them to find the food, helping them if they need it.
Not only is this a great resolution for your dog, it’s a lot of fun and another great bonding exercise. And a great opportunity to reuse household items!
3. Meal magic
The highlight of many dogs' day is dinnertime. But we often forget that our dogs are descended from scavengers who would have spent time and concentration hunting out their food, and then chewing and gnawing it.
So, reminding them of how their ancestors would have done it will tap into some natural behaviours that we all too often ignore.
There are lots of choices:
- stuff some of their dinner into a Kong or two for them to gnaw
- scatter-feed them in the garden (literally throw their kibble onto the grass for them to sniff out and find)
- split their dinner into several portions and ‘hide’ them in different places, such as under things like towels or plant pots etc. This gives them a treasure hunt with you on-hand to encourage them!
You don’t have to do it all the time, but it adds interest to your dog’s day, keeps their brain stimulated as well as their stomach, and it’s fun for you both.
4. Improve your bond
There are lots of ways to improve the bond you have with your dog. These include:
- playing games
- reward-based training
- spending quality time together getting plenty of exercise, grooming and just being in each other’s company
- doing things that help you understand your dog better, like learning about canine body language so you know what your dog is telling you
Make a resolution for dog this January and see how a small change can make a huge difference to them and your lives together.
With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.