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Hopefully we all managed to make it through the holiday season safely and in good health and are now ready to face a new year in a positive manner.

Since Covid-19 first reared its ugly head in 2019 and changed our way of life so dramatically, it’s been hard for a lot of us to stay focused and carry on in a normal manner. The same can be said for our furry companions.

Due to all the restrictions we have had to live with, our pets have also no doubt felt a void in their lives. Because of physical distancing and limitations on gatherings and other get-togethers, our pets have not always been able to have the socialization with other people and pets that they would normally have and this can be problematic.

You may have also noticed that during the holidays your pet has lost some of his manners and isn’t always responding to your commands. Have you forgotten to reinforce basic commands on a daily basis and have you let your little pal get away with things like jumping up and grabbing anything he can get hold of?

While family and friends’ gatherings have been limited in size, you may have had small get-togethers in your home over the holidays. If so, did you find that your pup started to act out by jumping up on your guests, or trying to steal a tidbit of food from a plate, running off with a child’s toy, or even having an accident in the house? While this may not be typical behaviour for your pup, it has happened and certainly needs to be corrected before things get out of hand.

So what’s the solution? It’s time to make a New Year’s Resolution to start working with your pup and his manners. Just because it’s a holiday season doesn’t mean that we should stop working with our furry friends to make them the best they can be.

Perhaps you let your guard down and let your pup have a little too much freedom and haven’t been using the crate as you should be. If so, it’s time to start getting back on track. Remember, your pup’s crate is not meant to be a place for punishment, but should be his safe place where he can go and relax and stay out of harm’s way. When there are a number of people in your home, and especially children, the safest thing you can do is put your pup in his crate with a favourite toy or a Kong to keep him occupied. In this way, you don’t have to worry about him accidently getting out an open door, jumping up and possibly knocking someone down, or worst of all, accidently nipping a child in order to get a cherished toy.

It’s also important to keep your pup safely tucked away while visiting with friends where he could accidently run into a hot, open door on your oven, or have a pot of hot water spilled on him. If your pup is running around loose, there is always the possibility of him grabbing a turkey or chicken bone and running off with it.

During our time at home, mostly being spent without company, your pup may want to jump up to see someone new and then get overly excited resulting in an accident.

Pets, like people, need to get out of the house to see and enjoy the presence of other pups and people. They also need to get regular exercise and not become “couch potatoes”.

Winter days can be long, dark and cold but that shouldn’t be an excuse to stay indoors by a cozy fire and read a book. Get yourself and your pup bundled up and head outside. Most dogs love to romp and play in the snow and the exercise is always beneficial. If you are well dressed and watch that your four legged friend is not getting too cold or is having trouble keeping his ears and feet warm enough, you can enjoy some good quality time together. Time spent bonding with your pup and having fun will keep you both healthier, in a good mood, and will help your four legged friend expend some excess energy which, in turn, will result in a more restful sleep.

Also, if you adopted a new pup or rescue dog over the holidays, don’t delay in starting obedience training with him or her and, if you are a new pet owner and not sure where to start, your first step should be to look for a professional trainer to help you so you will keep and enjoy your new pet.

If you made a New Year’s Resolution to make 2022 a better year for you and your family, then don’t put that resolution on the back burner; get started by living up to what you promised yourself.


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