New Year Resolutions for You and Your Dog in 2021

New Year Resolutions for You and Your Dog in 2021

 

Welcome to 2021, which is basically so far the same trash heap that 2020 was. If you are in Ontario like us, it also means you are in lockdown - which means you and your dog have probably taken a million walks today and it's only 9 am. 

Unfortunately we are headed into a polar vortex here in Ontario which means even walking outside might be taken off the table. Good luck lasting more than 10 minutes out there in that kind of cold. Thankfully, there are some pretty cool ways you can bond with your dog that don't require yet another walk. Below we have ten new years resolutions you can make with your pitbull or bully breed in 2021.
  1. Stuff your toys more. This is a fantastic way to challenge your dog because it forces them to mentally and physically work for their food. If they wanna eat, they have to get to work that food out. You can prestuff a few of our rubber treat toys like our Sodapup Skull Rubber Treat Dog Toy and throw it in the freezer. You might be asking though, well what the heck do I stuff it with?

    Here is a list of a few great options:

    - Dog treats (I find the thicker and longer the better like the Pork Hearts from Wild Carnivore Raw)
    - Raw dog food or kibble (you can add water to the kibble and then freeze for a better challenge)
    - Cucumbers (surprisingly a great and healthy option since you can cut them pretty thick and they smoosh well)
    - Peanut butter (the tried and true method most use)



  2. Practice your "leave it command". It's tough for dogs to remember how to do this one when they are faced with a cool new toy from Pitbull Tough. But having a good leave it might save your dog down the road from eating something it shouldn't (and needing a costly surgery to remove it). 

    If your dog doesn't know a good out command already, there are about a hundred free videos on Youtube you can check out. If your dog already knows it, give them some challenges. Try stacking treats about them, putting treats around the house, or putting treats on them and telling them to leave it. If they can handle that, they can definitely handle that out command in the real world.



  3. Make your own snuffle mat and work your dog with it. Snuffle mats are fantastic for pitbulls or bully breeds, as they have to search through the mat to find their treats. It is also a good way to reinforce a calmer behavior, because they can't just shred through the mat to find the treats. The important step is to make sure they are working their nose, but not destroying the mat in the process. 

    You can check out a Youtube video here to learn how from Proud Dog Mom.

  4. Play fetch more. A well structured game of fetch is a great way to teach your dog control while also tiring them out. Dogs will often get pretty excited if you start throwing their favourite toy around the yard. The important thing to remember is that the dog is never allowed to jump up and grab the toy from you, and they aren't allowed to act totally crazy during the process. The dog should be mostly focused on you the whole time.

    I find it's nice to take breaks during a game of fetch to regain focus with my dog and ensure they are listening to her commands. A perfect toy to play fetch with is our SodaPup Bottle Top Frisbee. It flies through the air well but is still durable enough to last.



  5. Speaking of playing fetch, how about a game of tug of war? Tug of war is great for your pitbull or bully breed in order to teach it to focus and build up a stronger bond with you. A good technique to remember while playing is that their eyes should be focused on you, not just the toy. If you can get your dog to focus on you during play, it makes that bonder even stronger between the two of you.

    We have a fantastic tug toy here made of our premium durable black rubber. It's the perfect interactive toy to keep your dog busy on a cold day.



  6. Spend time in the crate. I mostly mean your dog and not you, but like if you need a minute from your kids that's a great place to go. Your dog really benefits from some alone time to unwind and relax, and it sets them up for success when we do all finally leave our houses again.

    If you feel like they need something to keep them busy, something like our giant Barkbone Zombie Nylon Cheddar Dog Toy is a great fit. It's quite large and difficult to break so you don't have to constantly be checking in on them.



  7. Some some time with doggie best friends. This one is probably the easiest on the list, since who doesn't want to spend time with more dogs. It's good to have a dog or two that you see regularly and trust, so that your dog can burn out some of that extra energy. Just make sure it's a dog that also has good habits and matches your dogs energy, so that it's like they are meeting up with their best friend rather than being forced to socialize with someone they don't like (we've all been there).



  8. Create more independence for your dog. Probably easier said than done, but the easiest way to do this is to teach them place and ensure your dog doesn't follow you everywhere you go. Just because you get up to go to the bathroom, doesn't mean they always need to follow.

    Teaching them to be by themselves will create a space for them to make their own choices (gotta use that brain) and also cause them to learn to play independently (which also takes the stress off you). 



  9. Play hide and go seek. This one is super fun because it's something that you both can enjoy and have fun with. All you do is put your dog in a place, you go hide, and then you call them. Wait to see how long it takes for them to find you and once they do, big celebration! 

    This is another way to make them use that brain while having super amounts of fun with their human.


  10. Last but certainly not least, give them a bone! Wild Carnivore Raw has some great bone options that challenge your dog physically and mentally. I always keep some bones on hand, so that if me and my partner are ever unwell or if we can't go outside - I know I can give her a good bone which will tire her out with very little work from me.

    Just like hiding treats in a toy, this works both their brain and their body!

Phew, that about wraps things up. Hopefully this gave you some great ways to challenge your dog when going outside isn't an option. The goal at the end of the day is spending time doing something rewarding with your dog, so there are definitely more than 10 ways to do these. Got some great ideas? Comment below!

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