I was at a new Home Dog Training client in Norcross last Wednesday working with them and their twenty-four-month-old Irish Wolfhound named Humphry.  They had made it through Christmas, and it was now the “somewhat quiet time” between opening presents and opening champagne.  It appeared that this change in environment had caused some behavioral issues with Humphry and that is why they called me. 

Come up with New Year's Resolutions that are for both you and your dog

As with most Irish Wolfhounds, Humphry was highly energetic and overly playful. He had never received any obedience training, and he believed that he was the “boss of the house”. He thought that he could do whatever he wanted.  This was not a good thing and something that my clients finally needed to address.

By the end of our lesson, Humphry clearly understood that he was no longer the “boss of the house”, and my clients knew what they had to do to remain in charge and maintain Humphry’s calm and respectful focus. They were very excited with the results and couldn’t wait to put everything they had learned into daily practice. 

Since it was almost New Years, I asked them if they had made any New Year’s Resolutions for 2024. (Wow! I can’t believe that it is about to be 2024!)  They laughed and said they always make them and always start out with all the best intentions to act on their resolutions.  For “some reason”, they are always “back to their old ways” by the end of January.  I said “Why don’t you get a resolution buddy to help out?  Why don’t you include Humphry as part of your resolution routine?

With that, I gave them some examples of how to include their dog into their personal improvement process:

GETTING MORE EXERCISE: “This is the year that I am going to exercise every day and lose that extra ten pounds that I gained during the pandemic!”  I don’t think that anyone would say that this is a bad idea.  Most gyms assign you a “workout buddy” when you first join.  Why not make Humphry your workout buddy at home?  You can start the process by taking long walks around the neighborhood or hikes in the hills with him.  You can go into the back yard and engage in active games with him.

You can do things like throwing the frisbee as both you and he run around. You can throw a tennis ball and run to a new location as he runs after the ball.  If you and Humphry are up for it, you can jump on your bike and have him run after you as you safely tour the neighborhood.  All these things will provide both you and Humphry with safe and needed exercise. These activities will also help to build a better relationship, and lasting bond between you and Humphry.

START ENJOYING A HEALTHY DIET: It is never a bad time to become more aware of what we are putting in our bodies.  This is true for us as well as our dog. I know it will be hard but banish all those chocolate chip cookies and potato chips from your pantry.  Think about picking up a salad from Publix instead of a Big Mac from McDonalds. 

Examine the ingredients of the dog food you are feeding Humphry.  My rule of thumb is that you want to see a named meat as the first ingredient.  Some dog foods simply say they have “meat” as an ingredient.  This could be “rat”. You don’t want that.

Next, make sure you don’t see “byproduct” in the ingredient list.  For example, if the ingredient list says the dog food contains chicken byproducts, they may be putting chicken beaks and chicken feathers into the food.  You obviously don’t want that.  Finally, you do not want to find corn on the ingredient list.  This is simply an empty filler and provides no nutritious value for your dog.

If the ingredient list of your dog’s dog food fails these tests, it is probably a bad food.  Having your dog eat this food probably won’t kill him, but it will do nothing to promote a long and healthy life for Humphry. We suggest that you choose a healthy, natural food with all ingredients from the USA. We recommend an excellent food that we have fed all our dogs every day since 2007.  You can learn more about what we feed our dogs by going to Really Good Dog Food.

GETTING OUT AND ENJOYING SOME ENTERTAINMENT: It is time to get out and just engage with the world once more.  This could mean that you are going to see a movie at your local theater.  Getting to a professional or college sporting event is always a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.  The important thing is to get out of the house, get your blood flowing, and enjoy the world once again.

Creating a great, active, and highly socialized way of life is wonderful for us, but what about Humphry?  We need to make sure that he can actively engage in the world around him so that he will feel happy, safe, and secure.  One great way to engage Humphry with us in our “out-and-about” entertainment is to take him with us to places like Panera Bread or Dunkin Donuts. We can also take him to a Doggie Day Care for a few hours of “playing with his own kind”.  If we have faith in our own, innate coordination, we may sign ourselves and Humphry up for a canine agility class.

TIME TO GET AND STAY HEALTHY:  Although we all know that it is absolutely the wrong thing to do, we all seem to procrastinate when it comes to seeing a doctor. A joint may feel a little stiff, that rash on the back of our leg just doesn’t seem to go away, we are turning the television up louder and louder, or it is just getting harder to walk up the stairs at night.  We all give the excuse “Oh, that is no big deal” when we have no idea.  We really should get in and have a doctor take a look.

The problem that Humphry has is that he doesn’t have the ability to clearly explain his ailments to us.  He may be thinking “Hey, I need to see a vet!” and we have no idea what he is saying.  We need to check to see if Humphry has been in for his regular checkup. If not, it may be time to go.

Use Humphry’s inability to make the vet appointment as our excuse for getting everyone in for a doctor’s visit.  Phone Humphry’s vet for an appointment and then phone your own doctor for a checkup.  Try and schedule the appointments close together so that one appointment will be the reminder for the other.

Please call or text us at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help.  You can also email us at [email protected]. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over eighteen years.  We have trained over 6,000 wonderful dogs and excellent families and are ready to help you.