New Year’s Resolutions Long Abandoned? There’s Still Hope!

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So how long ago did you abandon your New Year’s resolutions?

Day 1?

Week 3?

Or are you one of the 8 percent, according to Forbes magazine, who manage to stick to your goals in the long term?

Here’s a better solution: project those failed resolutions onto your dog.

Exercise more. Choose friends wisely. Get more sleep (can’t fail here), that sort of thing. Your dog wins and you reap the benefits without the guilt and shame if it all goes horribly wrong. And if you’re actually one of those mythical 8 percent, well, you clearly need a tougher challenge, so why not try sticking to someone else’s resolutions?

What aims might translate to your dog’s well-being and happiness? How about:

Get more exercise

Show me a dog that hates exercise and I’ll show you a lazy owner. C’mon, dog owners, if you didn’t sign up for the walks you should have gotten a cat. There isn’t a dog alive that doesn’t crave some fresh air, and unless it has a health issue such as arthritis, it’s almost impossible to overdo it. The physical and mental health benefits of owning a dog are well documented, with WebMD research showing “dog owners exercised more often, slept better, reported better fitness levels and fewer sick days, and saw their doctors less often than people without dogs.”

Eat healthier

How many of us fall off the diet wagon within a week? We slink on back to our slovenly ways, like a mutt nosing through garbage and sneaking off to sample some roadkill. Well this year’s going to be different! Give your pet what he or she really wants, but make sure it’s to their advantage: that means yes to finding a food your dog will love and no to the table scraps that are no good for them. Increasingly, experts say the solution to this is a raw-food diet, which might sound gross to us but apparently benefits animals in a variety of ways, from relieving joint pains to resolving digestive issues. Which leads on to the next point…

Be more attractive

Your dog may be a looker or they might have a face only a mother could love, but either way they can stand to make improvements. Whether it’s through better behavior and manners (No more jumping! Quit yer yapping!) or shallower aspirations (Smell better. Fart less. Don’t kill people with your breath), help your dog to become the kind of canine that turns heads, in a good way.

Be more selective

Let 2014 be the year you hump fewer legs (and pillows and toys and…) and save your amorous feelings – and actions – for an appropriate recipient. No one likes PDAs, especially when they’re uninvited and not reciprocated. This advice goes for your dog, too. If a minor surgical trip to the vet is in order, so be it. Unwanted pregnancies (either of your dog or of his chosen fling) will throw a wrench into any other resolutions your dog might try to keep.

Be more discreet (dogs) and more responsible (owners)

This could apply to the previous resolution, but the point aims to address some dogs’ tendency to relieve themselves wherever they see fit. While they can’t help this, it may be an issue of training (contrary to the saying, dogs can learn new tricks) and it’s certainly an issue of being a good citizen. Don’t leave your dog’s poop for some other poor sucker’s shoe.

Be a good influence

So it’s cold and dreary and the days are short. You know who doesn’t care? Your dog. Because your dog has a good attitude. So take a cue from them and try to be more upbeat, enthusiastic and accepting of life’s little hurdles.

Written on 2/11/2014 by Laura Potts. Laura Potts is a writer and editor living the American dream – in rural England. Before moving across the pond in 2005, she was a staff reporter for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press.

Photo Credit: Stephen C. Webster

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