Do you have a Terrier that needs training? Does your Dachshund need a diet? Is your hound a little hyper? If your New Year's resolution includes being more healthy about your choices, chances are your dog could benefit from the lifestyle change as well. Here are some tips from the American Kennel Club on how dog owners can start the year off right by resolving to do more with your dog in 2010:
l Young and old dogs can learn new tricks. Start your puppy off on the right foot with a training class or enroll your adult dog. Training classes teach basic manners and socialization needed to help both dog and owner to be a responsible member of society.
l Train for competitive events. Agility, Obedience and Rally competitions are a fun and rewarding experience. You'll meet new people with a similar love for dogs and watch your dog grow into a well-behaved, even tempered, physically fit companion. And it's not just for purebreds anymore! Mixed breed owners can compete in many events too.
l Get Fit with Fido. The National Academy of Sciences reports that one out of every four dogs and cats in the western world is now overweight. Daily walks are a great way for both dogs and owners to avoid gaining extra holiday pounds. According to a recent study, dog owners get more exercise walking their pet than someone with a gym membership.
l Dogs love helping others. Dogs are invaluable in providing service to humans - visiting the sick, helping the disabled, locating missing persons, and much more. There are many ways dog owners can put their special skills to use in service to their community. Contact the volunteer director at your local hospital to find out how you can volunteer or visit a home-bound neighbor.
l Help kids learn to read. There is no better listener than a dog. Many libraries have programs for children to practice their reading skills and gain confidence by reading with dogs. Contact your local library to learn about available reading programs or volunteer to start one.