For many dog owners, 2021 meant a lot more time spent at home, on your laptop, with your 4-legged friends asleep at your feet. But just because you’re home doesn’t mean you’re spending quality time with your pet.
With the New Year around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about your New Year’s goals with your dog. Maybe it’s spending more time outside together walking, camping, or swimming in 2022. Or maybe it’s getting your dog more fun and interactive dog toys to keep them busy while you’re working from home.
A New Year’s resolutions with your pup can help you both be healthier and happier, while strengthening your bond. Read on for some New Year’s resolutions ideas to have even more fun with your dog next year.
Up Your Walking Routine
Luckily, New Year's resolution activities for adult humans often overlap with the resolutions you have for your canine companion!
Going on a walk is definitely the best part of your dog’s day. What could be better than adventuring with their favorite human? A walk means exercise, fresh air, smelling new smells, and releasing all that pent up energy.
For humans, walking isn’t just great for physical health — even though most dog owners walk an average of 22 minutes longer and 2700+ more steps per day than non-dog owners. Walking can also help stave off depression in adults. Making a conscious effort to walk your dog more often or for longer could be just the boost your and your pup need!
Consider adding a new route to your same old walks to add fresh views and more distance. By slowly adding more distance and time, it won’t feel like a big change — and both you and your dog will reap the benefits.
Grab a collar and leash from OllyDog’s Rescue Collection to upgrade your dog with fresh threads for their new walk regimen. The Rescue collection uses recycled scrap nylon without sacrificing design.
Check out the Rescue Spring leash which has reflective striping in the bungee for increased visibility in low-light conditions.
Go Hiking or Backpacking
To your dog, the only thing more exciting than a long walk in the city is a long walk in the woods. Exploring new trails, spending quality time with your furry BFF in the backcountry, and being wild in the wilderness together is a winning resolution.
Studies continue to show that people who report spending more than 2 hours a week in nature have better health and well-being than people who don’t. Plus, if a happy dog is a tired one, your dogs will be elated and exhausted after a good hiking or backpacking trip.
To help keep your dog focused on the trails, consider grabbing Ollydog’s Mountain leash for your treks. It’s a durable leash made of supple kern-mantle rope and securely attaches with an aluminum D-ring swivel clip.
Or use your hike as a training opportunity and reward your dog when they’re being good with a quality, durable, easily-accessible treat bag. Check out Ollydog’s Backcountry Day Bag in tree hugger colorway, featuring a removable waist belt, a poop bag dispenser, and zipper opening.
A commitment to more time hiking in beautiful places is a commitment to your dog’s happiness. In 2022, consider getting into the forest with Fido.
Swimming is the best spring/summer activity (and your dog’s favorite healthy New Year’s resolution idea).
Planning to spend more time at the local lake, river, or body of water is guaranteed to be a blast for you and your canine companion. Cooling off in the hot sun, playing fetch in the water, and racing along the banks with their tongue hanging out is definitely what your dog dreams about at night.
Cooking a meal by the campfire, sitting under a sky full of stars, and snuggling with your dog in the tent is a rewarding way to shake up your routine.
Planning a camping trip with your furry pal takes a few extra steps to keep them warm and comfortable. Consider bringing along a warm, lightweight dog jacket for cold evenings and nights, dog boots for brambles or snow, or even dog goggles for bright sun, thick brush, and pesky bugs.
Dog food should be the heaviest part of what you bring for your dog — not their bowl. Snag the Kibble Carrier which is portable and makes it easy to pack your dog’s food — plus it comes with a travel bowl!
Try Agility Training
Above is a video of my dog Blodgett practicing her “bark-core” training!
Does your pup need more focus, excitement, and work to do during the week? For some breeds, a walk a day is just not enough.
That’s where agility comes in. Canine agility is the sport and athletics of jumping, weaving, and navigating obstacles.
Agility requires a lot of mental and physical work for the dog, communication from the human, and a trusting, strong bond. It’s the fastest way to tire them out!
You might have seen professional, competitive courses where athletic pups are balancing on teeter-totters, racing through long tubes, and leaping over adjustable-height barriers. But for most family pets, those activities might be too much.
My dog Blodgett practicing her “bark-core tricks.”
Start small with the following tips:
Purchase dog agility equipment that’s the perfect size and skill level for your pup to practice in your backyard, and you can add more obstacles depending on your dog’s skills.
Mix up your walks. Help your furry friend practice walking on narrow curbs for balance, or jump over park benches for height awareness.
Consider taking your dog to a neighborhood playground (make sure there’s no children) to interact with the different textures, objects, and unique challenges.
A sturdy, comfortable harness can help you and your dog handle and navigate complicated agility. Grab an Alpine Harness in your favorite color — the perfect tool to help!
More Play Time
Me and Blodgett working on training.
If agility seems like too much formal work, a new year’s goal of more playtime might be all your dog needs in 2022.
Teach your dog new tricks. There are dozens of impressive resources online to inspire you and your dog to become trick masters. Dig into guides, videos, and FAQs that can inspire a new challenge.
If your dog hasn’t mastered shake, heel, spin, or play dead, 2022 could be your oyster. Or level up those old tricks with some fresh challenges like weaving between your legs, backing up, balancing treats on their nose — as long as you’re both having fun.
Look into fun, interactive games for your dog. These are great for pups who need brainwork during long days at home, or to balance out their day after a long run.
Keep playtime positive! Grab a Goodie Treat Bag in Ollydog Blue, our newest colorway, to spoil your dog with a treat every time they nail that landing or check in with you.
Support Your Dog’s Health
Just like humans, health is the key to your dog’s happiness and well-being.
Consider a resolution to clean up your dog’s diet — starting with their treats. It’s easy to make custom homemade, delicious snacks. Many popular recipes need a handful of ingredients that most households already have, and take only minutes to make.
Keep your furry friend hydrated on the go with a dog-friendly water bottle, like our new OllyBottle in gray colorway. The design features a dog bowl that attaches to your water bottle, making water stops while moving or traveling as easy as possible.
The new year is also a good chance to take stock of your dog’s meds and supplements. Contact your vet to make your pet’s next check-in appointment and order more if needed.
Travel to Dog Friendly Places
Chances are, your 4-legged friend wants a vacation as much as you do. Why not plan your time off together?
Traveling with your dog takes a little extra research, but for an awesome payoff. Seeing new places, having new experiences, meeting new people and eating new food is only better with your dog. It makes memories for a lifetime.
Stay at a dog-friendly Airbnb in any city. Take a tour of dog-friendly patios at breweries and restaurants. Research dog-themed bars, outdoor malls, and even coffee shops.
Check out the local dog parks, off-leash areas, and dog beaches. Look into the top-rated pet spas in the area and leave your dog there for a day. They can relax and play with new friends while you see a human-only museum, art gallery, or catch a show.
State parks, national forests, and wilderness areas offer endless trails leading to incredible places, and all are open and accessible to well-behaved and leashed dogs.
Look for dog-friendly or wild hot springs so you can share the magic of warm, relaxing pools in gorgeous places with your pup.
New Year, New Resolutions
If you’re wondering how to keep your healthy New Year's resolutions, look no further than your furry friend. Your dog can help motivate you into getting more movement in your day, and spending more time outside.
Any resolution that involves loving on your dog is a great idea. Whether you’re planning longer daily walks, play time and training sessions, or spending more time outside this year, everyone will benefit.
You don’t have to wait for the warm weather to achieve your 2022 goals. Get your dog the right winter gear to keep them warm and comfortable, so you can both get outside and start having fun today!
About the Author
Ian Krammer is a Denver-based copywriter and dog lover. When not working, he can be found climbing Colorado’s tallest mountains and looking for the best cheeseburgers in the Rockies. To get in touch, contact him on Instagram @coloradorambler