2017 New Year’s Resolutions and 2016 Review

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Reviewing Life Goals

What does that mean for me for 2017? Like with anything, it's about trying, and getting back up to try again when I’m not successful. We aren't perfect. Just because I didn't reach my 2016 goals doesn't mean I can't try them again for 2017.
Best New Year’s Resolutions

How did you do with your New Year’s resolutions in 2016?

Sticking to New Year's resolutions can be hard. I mean, if you think about, it it's a goal you find challenging. If it were easy for you, you’d already be doing it, and you wouldn’t have it on a list of things you want to change.Click To Tweet

Personally, I know my challenges and try to work on them regularly. But, like so many others, I did set forth with three goals for 2016.

  1. Work on my 3-year plan
  2. Weight-loss and healthy eating
  3. Stay organized and on track

Number one on my list, working on my 3-year plan, was always at the forefront of my day. I’m in my forties, so it is important for me to stay focused on my career and future goals. This 3-year plan encompasses a lot of things in my life, some professional and some personal. This year for my career, I wanted to branch out with more pet freelance work and speaking at pet expos, write another pet book, and work on my personal pet blog.

What I didn’t know was that during this process I would end up totally re-branding my company and the focus of my brand-Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm. This rebranding was just what I needed. However, with this, I also ended up taking my main website and 3 blogs and merging them to a new website and host. This was—and still is—a HUGE project. I’m still going over 10 years of online pet articles and reformatting, fixing links, and updating images. Then, there is the issue about SEO and getting my new website listed and linked up across the internet. That’s doing well again, but I still have improvements to make.

#1 is doing well, but like with everything I do, I don’t feel like I am where I wanted to be. Maybe my goal is too high.

Next on my list is the notorious weight-loss and healthy eating. I joined a local gym in January and hit the gym almost daily. Things were on track and I was losing some weight. Eating healthy was going okay, but not fantastic. I’m always so busy and I’m single, which makes cooking a healthy meal quite challenging. At one point I told myself, before buying something to eat, I would ask myself “would I feed it to Dexter?” Basically, that meant it needed to be fresh, not from a box or filled with junk.

My #2 goal of losing weight and healthy eating went by the wayside when number #1 kicked in with the rebranding. That felt so central to my life that I didn’t even want to spend the 60-90 minutes away from other parts of my life, like work. I mean, I ALWAYS make my time for my pets and family, so something had to give, right? Since this goal is more personal and is about me, it always gets lost and deprioritized.

Real food for the human in the house. 🙂

A photo posted by Raising Your Pets Naturally (@raisingyourpetsnaturally) on

My final New Year’s resolution was to stay organized and on track. Not being organized has always been funny to me, because I’m a girl who loves drawers, bins, organizational tools, etc. Everything does have a place, but the problem for me has been to get those things back to their place when I’m finished. Maybe it ties in with the second part, staying on track. For me, I have like five projects I’m working on all on my desk, on the table next to me, over there and here. Don’t get me wrong, though—I never miss a deadline, and usually finish early.

This year, I bought a new computer desk, new office chair, a few wall calendars, and a new blogging calendar. I’m even looking at one of those 32-37” professional computer monitors so that I can have two regular-sized windows open at the same time! Keeping my thoughts and tasks in place comes and goes.

This year, I bought a new computer desk, new office chair, a few wall calendars, and a new blogging calendar. I'm even looking at one of those 32-37” professional computer monitors so that I can have two regular-sized windows open at the same time! Keeping my thoughts and tasks in place comes and goes.
Current workstation

The staying on track part for me is to stick with a daily task plan. But that’s always challenging in my line of work. My main source of income is seeing dog training and cat behavior clients in person or via phone/Skype. So I never know what time of day I will end up booking a session, and what time of day will be free for other work. Or an article idea pops into my head and I feel like I need to write it NOW. My goal, is to just keep my ongoing “to write” list going and when my writing day arrives, go down the list. Or if my website optimization day is here, work on that. At least that’s the goal. 😉

What does that mean for me for 2017? Like with anything, it’s about trying, and getting back up to try again when I’m not successful. We aren’t perfect. Just because I didn’t reach my 2016 goals doesn’t mean I can’t try them again for 2017.

My goal this year is to continue on my path. The first thing I will do is to pull out my trusty calendar, and work on scheduling my daily tasks and goals so I can stick to the plan easier. When something actually makes my planner, I am more likely to follow through.

I plan on writing another book this year, this one about kids and dogs, geared toward kids. I am also thinking about writing a cookbook for busy people who are not cooks! That’s me. My theory is if I make healthy eating part of my career (or my now 2-year plan), I will look at it as a necessity to eat better and cook for myself, instead of something to put off to the side.

It was brought to my attention in a blogger group that we must take time for ourselves. I sort of was looking at this part as #2, but if #2 still has a business angle, am I really putting work aside to JUST BE? Even when I’m in bed trying to unwind from the day, I am looking at my phone on how to improve x. So, I think I will add a #4 to my resolution list, to disconnect from anything work related. This may actually be my hardest challenge for the year!

At least those are my 2017 goals for now.

What about you? Do you struggle with New Year’s resolutions? 

Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Google Adsense—> Potty Training on Cue As a professional dog trainer, and former service dog trainer, I know how beneficial it can be if our dogs know how to potty on cue. Imagine being able to take your dog outside just before the rainstorm and ask him to pee and poo, and he does! This handy behavior isn’t just great for potty training your dog, but is so convenient in everyday life. Granted, if your dog does not have to eliminate, he’s not going to muster up a poop. Watch the how-to video and don’t forget to hit subscribe for more free content! The keys to teaching your dog to eliminate on cue are good management, timing and your reward. By associating a word for peeing and a separate word for defecating, you can start to teach your dog to do either when requested. Here’s how to get started. Tips to Teach Your Dog to Pee and Poop on Cue The best time to start to teach your puppy or adult dog to potty on cue is in the morning when he first wakes up. Grab a handful of healthy and tasty treats, leash up your dog, and head outside, ideally to your dog’s favorite potty spot. Hang there with your dog; allow him to navigate within his 6’ leash. Don’t go for a walk or sniff around the yard too much. You want to stay close and focused. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language. Subtle cues like sniffing, circling, or getting ready to squat are often signs your dog is about to pee. Right when you see one of these signs, say your pee cue, “Go potty,” and wait. It might take your pup a moment, and as soon as he starts to potty, smile and, right at the end, say, “YES!” and reward. Be careful not to reward too quickly, as this may stop your dog from peeing. If your dog usually poops next, do the same thing. As soon as you see the sign he’s going to go, say his poop word, “Go poop-poop,” smile, and reward when he’s done. Now, that he’s peed and pooped, you have the next reward, going for a walk, sniffing around the yard, a little yard play, or something fun outside. If your dog enjoys being outside, it’s important not to rush him indoors after his potty, or he’ll start to not want to potty, because he doesn’t want to come inside. Repeat this process when taking your dog outside. Even if you plan on going for a walk, do the pee routine first, reward then walk. Do you see how this is going to double up on his reward? Food then walk? It also will start to teach him to potty faster because he wants the rewards. This is a good thing. Once your dog has mastered eliminating on cue in the designated area, it’s time to take it on the road…or walk. Practice in different environments, such as the park or during walks. This helps generalize the behavior to various situations. Don’t forget, if he doesn’t have to potty, he won’t, so don’t get crazy. This valuable potty-training routine will make potty training easier, not to mention you can get those last minute potty breaks in before bad weather or during pit stops when traveling. Need help potty training your dog? Read more in this article.   Does your dog potty on cue? Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube     Google Adsense—>   [...] Read more...
TweetPinShareShareRedditShareFlipYumGoogle Adsense—> Easy Dog Chew Recipe You know I love a little doggie DIY recipe, and Dexter does too! If you follow me at all, you also understand I’m a stickler concerning healthy ingredients, when it comes to Dexter. Not so much me, but Dexter. Hahaha Watch the process! And don’t forget to subscribe. Healthy and safe dog chews can be costly, that’s for sure. And I’m always willing to shop when I run out of time, but if you do a little preparing, you can easily and, for less money, make your dog his own healthy, nutritious, and mouth-watering snack! Today, dehydrated duck feet! You will only need one ingredient and one dehydrator, and you are all set. Before I dive in, are you aware that even when a dog chew is labeled as “all-natural” it may actually have been through a process such as irradiation? Yes, that means radiation! And the kicker, most of our single-ingredient chews do go through this process. You have to dig deep and sometimes contact the manufacturer to find out if they use this process. Ah, more sneaky marketing! The DIY Advantage Creating your own dehydrated dog chews comes with several advantages. You can carefully source the raw ingredients to meet your needs carefully handle the product and avoid chemicals or radiation. I’m always shooting for no antibiotics and no hormones. Okay, a little more than shooting; I require it for Dex! Prepping Your Duck Feet for Dehydration You can trim the duck’s feet with scissors or clippers. You don’t have to; it’s a personal option. Place your dog’s duck feet evenly spaced on the dehydration racks. Close, turn on low for 24-72 hours. Time will vary on the type of dehydrator and size of the duck feet. Dexter’s took 28 hours to develop a nice, crunchy chew. Once cooled, I placed all but a couple of duck feet in a container and into Dexter’s freezer. Yes, he has his own freezer. Okay, he has two freezers! Thaw as needed. Nutritional Benefits of Duck Feet Apart from being a tasty dog chew, dehydrated duck feet offer nutritional benefits. They’re a great source of natural collagen and glucosamine, which promote good joint health. The act of chewing also helps remove tartar from your dog’s teeth. Instead of relying on a manufacturer, grab some fresh duck feet and your dehydrator and go! Print Recipe DIY Healthy Dog Chews: Dehydrated Duck Feet Yum Apart from being a tasty dog chew, dehydrated duck feet offer nutritional benefits. They’re a great source of natural collagen and glucosamine, which promote good joint health. The act of chewing also helps remove tartar from your dog’s teeth. Course Healthy Dog Snacks, Healthy Pet Snacks Prep Time 5 minutes Passive Time 24 hours Servings Ingredients 2 pounds duck feet Course Healthy Dog Snacks, Healthy Pet Snacks Prep Time 5 minutes Passive Time 24 hours Servings Ingredients 2 pounds duck feet Instructions You can trim the duck’s feet with scissors or clippers. Place your dog’s duck feet evenly spaced on the dehydration racks. Turn turn on low for 24-72 hours Placed all but a couple of duck feet in a container and into the freezer. Thaw as needed. Recipe Notes Your questions or comments are welcome below. Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome. Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube Check out My Cavalier Eats Better Than Me apparel and gifts     Recent ArticlesDIY Healthy Dog Chews: Dehydrated Duck Feet (Early access for our Patreon community) Read more...Caring for a Blind Dog: A Guide for Pet Parents (Early access for our Patreon community) Read more...Overcoming Dog Car Anxiety: Tips for Dog Car Anxiety Desensitization (Early access for our Patreon community) Read more... Google Adsense---> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Share this Recipe [...] Read more...
Google Adsense—> Tips for Caring for a Blind Dog As a dog lover and positive dog trainer, I have always been amazed by dogs’ adaptability, even when faced with challenges. I am constantly amazed at Dexter’s persistence and determination to meet every challenge he’s faced with. At fourteen, Dexter’s eyes may be a bit hazy, but his eyesight seems to be fine. However, many dogs are born blind or develop blindness at some point in their lives. Dogs can become blind for a variety of reasons, but they are very adaptable and resilient. In this article, I will talk to some pet experts and take a deeper look into the world of dog blindness. Understanding And Identifying Blindness in Dogs A variety of conditions can cause a dog to go blind. Genetic factors, age-related degeneration, trauma or injury, and certain medical conditions can all contribute to a dog’s loss of vision. It may take keen observational skills, knowing what is normal for your dog, and a watchful eye to spot any minute changes that could point to blindness in your dog. You know your dog best, and when things seem different or off, it’s always time to investigate further. Dr. Linda Simon on the veterinary consult team for Fetched points out, “When a dog becomes suddenly blind, they can be very distressed and may knock into things, howl, and act confused. Their pupils may seem dilated, and they won’t react to things being moved right in front of their face.” If you notice that your dog’s eyes seem black or dark, he could have dilated pupils that are not responding to changes in the light. This could be an indicator of vision impairment. Additionally, observe their reaction to visual stimuli like toys or other pets in the family. It is important to take your dog to their veterinarian in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Simon emphasizes the importance of timely veterinary care with this example: “A retinal detachment can actually be reversed if treated promptly, but the prognosis for vision returning is much poorer if diagnosis and treatment are delayed.” A thorough evaluation will provide a conclusive diagnosis and rule out any underlying medical conditions. The veterinarian will perform a series of tests, including checking your dog’s pupillary response, tracking their eye movement, and assessing their overall vision. Your dog’s veterinarian can assess the degree of visual impairment and provide advice on how best to meet their needs. Dr. Simon also stated, “A slower onset of blindness is much better tolerated by the dog, and often the owner is not aware that their vision is poor as they learn to compensate and navigate the room around them with their senses of smell and hearing.” Creating a Blind-Dog-Friendly Environment Implementing a blind-dog friendly environment involves thoughtful modifications that accommodate your dog’s unique needs. Begin by ensuring a clutter-free living space to minimize obstacles. Arrange furniture in a consistent layout to prevent sudden changes that could confuse your blind dog. When I asked one of my dog training clients who has a blind dog, she gave me some advice: “Do not change things up and keep her things in the same spot. Ensuring that water bowls and bed placements are in the same location.” Dr. Simmon provided the following advice: “Owners of blind dogs need to keep them safe, which means keeping their home environment predictable and not moving furniture or allowing them close to steps and stairs. To enhance their safety, utilize baby gates at the top and bottom of staircases and other potentially hazardous areas.” Noah Davis from Power Up Cook suggests, “Incorporate scents and textures to assist your blind dog in navigating their surroundings. For example, using different scents on specific objects or surfaces can help them recognize and locate certain areas or items.” Scent-marking mats can be placed strategically around the house to help your blind dog identify specific areas, such as their sleeping spot, feeding area, or entrance/exit. Different scents can be associated with different locations. This allows your blind dog to recognize essential locations through smell.” My client concurred, stating, “Yumi uses her sense of smell the most. She tracks my scent, and I’m pretty sure my other dog Haru’s scent.” Creating a sensory path with different textures on the floor can help your dog navigate their home more confidently. For example, using carpet runners, rubber mats, and tiles with varying textures can signal changes in direction. Blind Friendly Dog Yard Designing a blind-dog friendly yard involves a blend of safety and sensory enrichment. If possible, begin by fencing an area to provide a controlled space where your dog can walk and explore without the risk of wandering off. Also, make sure the ground is flat and free from holes or things your dog could trip over. Incorporate sensory elements like textured paths or different ground surfaces to stimulate their paws and enhance their spatial awareness. Dog friendly plants, flowers, and herbs can introduce appealing scents, adding to their sensory experience. Consider incorporating gentle wind chimes or hanging toys to create auditory cues. Providing a consistent layout with minimal changes helps your dog feel more secure and confident as they enjoy their outdoor space. With your thoughtful design, your yard becomes a haven where your dog can engage their senses and enjoy the outdoors safely. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, be outside with your dog; do not leave them alone. This is especially important if your dog is blind or has other special needs. Health and Well-Being Keeping a close eye on a blind dog’s health is essential to keep them in good shape. Regular veterinary checkups are essential for monitoring your dog’s health and addressing any specific concerns that may come up. They should ideally have routine visits to the veterinarian at least twice a year. These appointments provide your dog’s veterinarian with the opportunity to perform a thorough examination, assess their well-being, and spot potential health concerns. Since their visual impairment might make them more reliant on their other senses, any changes in their behavior or personality should be discussed with your dog’s vet. This can be a sign of a developing medical issue. Due to their impaired vision, blind dogs are more prone to mishaps and injuries. Take safety measures to avoid collisions and falls in their environment. Regular grooming and ensuring they have healthy ears are important as well. A blind dog uses their other senses more, which include hearing. Communication and Training Techniques for Blind Dogs If you want to communicate effectively with a blind dog, you need to be very in tune with their body language and genuinely understand their specific needs. Since visual cues are off the table, they rely on other senses to interact with you and their environment. Pay close attention to their ears, tail, posture, and even their whiskers to measure their emotions and comfort level. For instance, a relaxed and soft body posture typically indicates happiness, while a tight body and face might signal fear or discomfort. Additionally, familiarize yourself with their vocalizations. Barks, whines, growls, and whimpers can help you determine their emotional state. You can learn more in these articles and videos. It’s important to be thoughtful in your interactions with your blind dog. This means being mindful not to startle them from behind or make sudden movements that could cause fear or confusion. Approach them calmly and use a gentle tone to let them know you’re close by. When introducing them to new environments or experiences, provide guidance through touch, and encourage exploration with positive verbal reinforcement. Get down to their eye level to ensure they know you’re there and feel secure. Patience is a must in dog training, and it’s even more important when you’re working with a dog with special needs. By closely watching their body language, understanding their vocal cues, and being kind, you will build a remarkable bond. In my role as a dog-training instructor, I consistently advise individuals to use spoken cues over relying solely on hand gestures when training their dogs. Occasionally, I encounter the concern, “What if my dog loses its hearing and can’t grasp the task?” This is a valid consideration. Dogs often pick up on visual cues faster than verbal cues. So, if your dog encounters sudden hearing loss, introducing a hand signal is likely to be a straightforward task. However, if your dog heavily relies on gestures, teaching them verbal cues can prove to be quite a challenge, especially if your dog loses their sight. Training a blind dog requires patience and a different approach. While hand gestures are commonly used, they are not helpful if a dog is blind. Verbal cues are going to be your best bet, along with touch. Mr. Davis points out, “Verbal commands and cues can be essential for communicating with a blind dog. Consistently use verbal cues such as their name, commands like sit or stay, and gentle vocal encouragement to guide them and reinforce positive behavior.” Begin in a quiet environment, positioning yourself in front of your dog. Choose a distinct verbal cue, such as “look” or “watch,” and use it consistently each time you want their attention. As you say the cue, take your food treat to their nose and up towards your face, say, “YES!” and give them a treat. Practice this throughout the day in various locations in your home. When you start to see your dog turning their head up to you after the cue, say, “YES!” and treat. Gradually increase the duration of their attention before giving the treat. While you are increasing the duration, say, “good boy” until you say, “YES!” and treat. With patience, practice, and plenty of rewards, your blind dog will learn to focus on you and strengthen your communication and connection. Teaching a blind dog the “stop” cue is necessary for their safety and to prevent them from approaching potential dangers. To start, find a quiet spot where your dog can focus. Stand in front of them and gently say “stop” while placing your hand on their chest. It’s important to keep the training positive, so no negative words or unpleasant touches. When your dog pauses in response to your cue, immediately offer praise and a treat to reinforce the behavior. Repeat this process during each training session, gradually increasing the distance your dog needs to stop before receiving the reward. Over time, practice the “stop” cue in various locations to help teach the “stop” cue and make it reliable. Socialization for Blind Dogs When it comes to socializing your blind dog, their comfort and safety should always be the top priority. Avoid overwhelming them with too many new experiences all at once, and be ready to step in and guide them if they appear unsure or stressed. Look for dog-training classes designed for dogs with special needs. If specialized classes aren’t available, it’s a good idea to contact the instructor beforehand. I’ve personally seen many special needs dogs succeed in class over my career. Socialization plays a crucial role in helping any dog gain confidence, especially those with special needs. When introducing them to new people, start with individuals who are calm, gentle, and understanding. Allow your dog to approach at their own pace, and encourage people to use a soothing tone and offer treats to build positive associations. This advice holds true for socializing any dog or puppy! Exposing your blind dog to other dogs should be done in a controlled environment with dogs that have a friendly and calm demeanor. No guessing games! Begin with one-on-one interactions, with the new dog on a leash. Closely supervise their interactions and use happy verbal cues. As their confidence grows, you can gradually introduce them to more dogs and different settings. Play and Games for Blind Dogs Proper care for a blind dog goes beyond emotional support. Dr. Simon emphasizes the importance of mental and physical enrichment. She said, “Blind dogs still need mental and physical stimulation and will enjoy being taken to new places to sniff and explore. They would enjoy different textures between their toes, such as walking on a muddy path or a beach.” Use scented toys and markers to encourage exploration and play. Scented toys can help your blind dog locate and interact with their toys, while scented markers can be placed near objects they need to find, like their water bowl. Scents can include catnip, valerian, mint, lavender, vanilla, etc. These scents are safe to use around dogs. Making Use of Support Equipment Supportive equipment can be a game changer in enhancing a blind dog’s quality of life. Special harnesses designed for blind dogs come with a padded handle that allows you to guide and support them while walking. These harnesses can be helpful during walks and outings. A variety of products, such as head or chest hoops, can help dogs navigate by providing a protective barrier around their body. These vests and headpieces have a circular frame that extends beyond the dog’s body, allowing them to sense objects before bumping into them. Ramps and Stairs: If your home has stairs or elevation changes, consider installing ramps with textured surfaces and a rail. These ramps provide a safer way for your blind dog to move from one level to another. Baby Gates: Ensuring stair safety is important for blind dogs. Using a safety gate can help create a secure barrier and avoid accidents near the stairs. It’s a good idea to install gates both at the bottom and the top of the stairs. Dog Strollers: Let’s not forget about one of my favorite tools, a dog stroller!  This is a great option when taking your blind dog out on an adventure.  It can provide a sense of security in an unfamiliar location. Embracing the Journey Taking care of a blind dog requires patience, understanding, and unconditional love. In addition to keeping blind dog owners safe, as Dr. Simon suggests, we should give them stimulating experiences that improve their quality of life. In my experience as a dog trainer, I’ve learned that using verbal and physical cues is a highly effective method for interacting with blind dogs. As my friend Yumi always reminds me, you can always be spunky, no matter what! Your questions or comments are welcome below. Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. 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Google Adsense—> How to Help a Dog with Car Anxiety Naturally Does your dog experience car anxiety, car sickness, or even fear of getting into the car? If you’ve ever struggled with these issues, you’re not alone. Many dog parents are trying to help their dogs feel comfortable and relaxed during car rides. In this blog post, I’ll discuss dog car anxiety, including causes, natural remedies, and behavior modification training, to help your dog enjoy car rides as much as you do. One of my favorite things to do is travel with Dexter. He’s a veteran fourteen-year-old traveler, and our adventures have taken us across the US and even to Canada. But how did I turn Dexter into a fantastic little traveler? The secret was frequent short trips to enjoyable destinations. Dexter’s socialization as a puppy involved regular car rides. This approach helped him become confident but not overly excited about the car, making it a natural part of his life. Understanding Motion Sickness in Dogs Megan Conrad, BVMS from Hello Ralphie told me, “In theory, motion sickness in dogs, just as in people, can result from the brain getting mixed signals from different body systems. The vestibular system, which is in the inner ear, regulates balance and tells the brain if you’re up, down, or moving. When this system sends a different message to the brain than the ones from the eyes, muscles, and joints, the resulting confusion can lead to dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. One system says that there is motion happening, while another senses a different motion or no motion at all. “Motion sickness appears to be more common in puppies, as their inner ear structures are not completely developed. When this is the case, the puppy may grow out of the tendency for motion sickness. An inner ear infection or disease of the vestibular system can also cause motion sickness in an adult dog due to it causing balance issues. Treating any underlying condition can help.” Dr. Michelle Burch, from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance, added, “Impairment of the vestibular system can occur due to an infection affecting the middle ear, or toxicity due to an ear cleaner or medication, idiopathic or an undiagnosed underlying cause typically seen in older dogs, stroke, inflammation, and tumor.” Make sure your puppy is securely restrained in the car to avoid motion sickness. Avoid letting them look out the window, as the fast-moving scenery can cause confusion and nausea. Consider using a crash-tested crate or harness and block the window view. Watch my video on YouTube and don’t forget to subscribe for more free content! Natural Remedies for Car Anxiety If your dog suffers from motion sickness, you can look at adding natural remedies like flower essences or a bit of ginger, which can help alleviate their symptoms. If you continue to take your puppy on pleasant car rides and adventures, over time most puppies will become accustomed to car rides, reducing the likelihood of car anxiety. Behavior Modification Techniques If your puppy or dog has developed a fear of getting into the car, it’s crucial to help them feel comfortable with the process. Determine the situations that cause your dog anxiety, such as putting on the leash, walking up to the car, or opening the garage door. Desensitization and Counter Conditioning Desensitization and counter conditioning are effective techniques to gradually make your dog more comfortable with these triggers. For instance, if your dog becomes anxious when you open the garage door, start by opening the garage door and giving your dog a high-value treat. Repeat this process at various times of the day. You will want to do this with all the triggers that are associated with your dog’s fear of car rides. Getting to the Car Start by walking around the car and providing treats or playing a fun game. Your dog’s comfort level will dictate the distance at which you interact with them around the car. If your dog shows signs of stress or resists approaching the car, try working farther away, such as ten feet from the car. Depending on how anxious your dog is, the training sessions could last days or even weeks. Getting into the Car The ultimate goal is to reach a point where your dog can comfortably remain secured in their harness or crate while your car is on for ten minutes. This step is essential in helping your dog become less anxious about cars. Moving to the Next Stage Once your dog can relax in an unmoving car for ten minutes, it’s time to introduce the motion of the car. But during this stage, it’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s emotional state. If you notice signs of stress, it’s vital to take a step back or return to the previous phase in your training. The primary goal in dog behavior modification is to always work below your dog’s anxiety threshold and slowly build positive associations in response to small criteria. Let’s Go Once your dog is happy sitting in the car for ten minutes, it’s time to get moving. If your dog remains calm, you can then proceed to back the car down the driveway and immediately drive it back up. This short trip will be your dog’s first car ride in this new training approach. Building Distance over Time As your dog becomes more comfortable with car travel, you can gradually increase the distance and duration of your trips. Keep in mind that each dog’s progress is unique, and the trick is to customize the training to your dog’s special needs and emotions. You can help your dog overcome car phobia and make car drives fun for both of you by following these guidelines and being patient. Natural Calming Aids and Medications for Car Sickness and Anxiety When it comes to lessening car sickness in dogs, there are several options you can consider. One effective solution is the Thundershirt, which applies gentle pressure to help calm your dog’s anxiety during car rides. You can also try using ADAPTIL Spray or placing one to two drops of organic lavender oil on your dog’s collar or bedding for a soothing effect. Other natural remedies include Safe Journey Pet Essences or Homeopet Travel Anxiety for Dogs, car window shades, and organic ginger (about 1/2 tsp mixed in canned dog food or in the form of a supplement or ginger cookies). However, it’s important to consult your veterinarian before incorporating ginger into your dog’s routine if it’s a frequent addition. Some dogs may benefit from Cocculus 6c, with three pellets given thirty minutes before travel, although prescription medication like Cerenia (maropitant) is an option to reduce the risk of vomiting but may not alleviate nausea. It’s always a great idea to discuss with your dog’s vet to determine the most suitable solution for your dog’s needs. With patience and training, you can help your dog overcome car anxiety, motion sickness, and fear. By using desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques, understanding your dog’s triggers, and offering tasty rewards, you can turn car rides into enjoyable experiences for both you and your dog. Your questions or comments are welcome below. Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow, and Subscribe. Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube   Google Adsense—>   [...] Read more...
Google Adsense—> Dexter, my best friend, is about to celebrate his 14th birthday! Can you believe it? I’m absolutely tickled pink. Dexter has been more than just a dog; he’s been an inspiration to me and everyone who has met him. Little did I know how profoundly he would impact my life and bring my family closer together. He has a way of motivating us to enjoy ourselves, go on trips in our neighborhood every day for his socialization, and even go to regular dog training lessons. I fondly remember teaching dog training class while Grammy attended with Dex. In his younger years, Dexter was a bundle of energy and shenanigans. We affectionately called him Leroy Brown because of his mischievous nature. He was a silly monkey and a stinkpot at times, but his love was limitless. However, in 2012, life threw us a curveball when Dexter was diagnosed with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia. I thought our days of carefree fun were over, but boy, was I wrong! After a challenging first year, where we learned how to take care of his condition, we’ve been able to embrace life fully once again. Dexter’s resilience and spirit have been inspiring. He’s not just my best friend, he’s also been my muse for a children’s book and even a children’s activity book that humorously explores his objection to baths. This year, to mark Dexter’s 14th birthday, we’re doing something a bit different. Instead of baking a special dog Birthday cake for him at home, we’re hitting the road to Duluth to celebrate his big day with my sweet 3-year-old niece and the rest of the family. My niece and I will be baking a surprise snack for Dexter. In the past, for Dexter’s first through fifth birthdays, we hosted a big event called “Dexter’s Birthday Bash,” which doubled as a fundraiser for Cavalier Rescue USA. While we’re not throwing a big party this year, I’d like to take this opportunity to ask if you could make a small donation in Dexter’s honor to support this wonderful Cavalier rescue. Every contribution counts, but if you’re unable to donate, that’s perfectly okay too. Most importantly, I want to encourage each and every one of you to embrace life to the fullest with your pets. Cherish the special moments, big and small, and never take a single day for granted. Dexter has taught me that each day is a gift, and I’m so grateful to have him by my side on this incredible journey. So, here’s to Dexter – my silly monkey, my inspiration, and the one who continues to remind me that love and joy can be found in the simplest of moments. Happy 14th birthday, Dex! Your questions or comments are welcome below. Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome. Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube     Google Adsense—>   [...] Read more...
Google Adsense—> Stop Puppy Biting Hands Today, I’m going to address a common behavior in puppies – puppy mouthing and biting. I received a question from a concerned dog parent whose almost one-year-old Golden Retriever often play-bites for attention. They’re looking for tips on how to stop this behavior. Let’s dive. Understanding the Puppy Adolescent Phase It’s essential to recognize that a one-year-old dog, like a Golden, is transitioning into adolescence. Much like human teenagers, adolescent dogs can become a bit more mouthy, bitey, and full of energy. This phase typically lasts from about six months to two years of age. So, when your dog starts asking for attention through mouthing and biting, it might be a sign that they need more engagement. Increase Playtime and Bonding One way to address this behavior is by increasing the amount of play, exercise, and bonding time you share with your dog. Dogs often resort to undesirable behaviors when they feel they aren’t getting enough attention or mental stimulation. Engaging in games, tricks, or even short play sessions can help redirect their energy and reduce the need for inappropriate attention-seeking behaviors. Watch on YouTube Provide Appropriate Chew Toys Golden Retrievers are known for their retrieving instincts. These dogs often enjoy carrying things in their mouths. To encourage them to channel this behavior positively, offer a variety of toys and teach them to have a toy or ball in their mouth. Reward Appropriate Behavior Whenever your dog has an appropriate item, like a toy, in their mouth, shower them with praise. Reinforce the idea that having a toy in their mouth is a good thing. You can also carry treats in your pocket to reward them when they exhibit this behavior. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in training your dog. Dealing with Inappropriate Biting Sometimes, your dog might grab onto something they shouldn’t, like your shirt. In such cases, it’s essential to teach them a “drop” behavior. You can wait for them to release the item or gently offer a treat near their nose until they let go. Once they’ve dropped the item, reward them with praise or a treat. However, avoid turning this into a game. You want your dog to understand that letting go of inappropriate objects leads to rewards, while inappropriate behavior results in no attention. Managing Excess Energy It’s worth noting that excessive jumping, body slamming, and biting, excluding playful “zoomies,” can be signs of pent-up energy. Ensure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent these behaviors from emerging. Puppy mouthing and biting involve a combination of increased playtime, providing appropriate toys, rewarding good behavior, and teaching a “drop it” cue. Remember that patience and consistency are key when training your pup.   Your questions or comments are welcome below. Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube         Google Adsense—>   [...] Read more...

What does that mean for me for 2017? Like with anything, it's about trying, and getting back up to try again when I’m not successful. We aren't perfect. Just because I didn't reach my 2016 goals doesn't mean I can't try them again for 2017.

37 thoughts on “2017 New Year’s Resolutions and 2016 Review

  1. I have found that in order for New Year’s Resolutions to stick is to make them very specific. “Working on weight loss and healthy eating” is very vague. Set a specific target, as in “I will weight “x” by “date”. I will eat “x” servings of fresh fruit and veggies per day. I will eat no more than “x” unhealthy items per day. Much easier to stick with. Just a thought.

    1. Thanks, Judy! I do have weight loss goal/date. 🙂 Missed it in 2016. 🙁 I think you’re right about having more of a food plan. That might be better for me since eating fresh is so hard for me. Maybe if I force myself to eat those things I will start to enjoy them more and even feel satisfied. Thanks for the tips!

  2. I am so impressed with all you hope to have in store for yourself in 2017! I like the thought of not giving up all you had wanted in 2016 and letting it carry into 2017. Life happens and the goal to just keep striving is the best attitude. My only hope is that you succeed in moving yourself up more to the forefront and not leave yourself at the bottom. Your family human and furry and your friends who care about you..want you to be happy and healthy..not perfect. Give to yourself more often so you can give to others as you choose in a happier state. Putting your family high up in priorities is so important and its admirable that you do. Some have lost sight of this. On the food front, eating healthy as been a challenge for me, I did not meet my goals..at all. I know my body has suffered and most likely I’ve had more migraines as a result. One thing that helps and I hope to utilize more, is to look for uncooked but prepared foods. Like meats and veggies prepackaged together..minus all the extra chunk. I am also going to try harder to have two crock pots going for freezing meals, one for pups and one tweaked more appetizing for humans. I actually love cooking so I guess that motivation and time is lacking..or more accurately time management. Your comment on being organized and liking drawers/containers and such made me laugh..same..same here. I hope 2017 brings you closer to your dream! The beach is waiting..you will get there. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Barbara. That is very kind of you. I really am hoping to take care of myself this year. Reminds me of the old Seinfeld episode, The Summer of George. lol

  3. Long ago I forgo making any resolutions, at least I don’t call it that anymore. Instead I focus on what I would like to do and accomplish in the upcoming year, that way it’s not as overwhelming.
    Professionally I want to focus on my blog – refining it and planning out my posts in advance.

  4. My hardest job is setting aside time just to….be. With nothing else going on. When you work for yourself, and are always “on” with never ending projects, there’s no quitting time. So I’m struggling to get better about that.

  5. You seem like you have your goals figured out with a plan on how you will achieve them. I think that is a really big deciding factor if you’ll actually be able to stick to them. Good luck to you, I’m inspired to set my own!

  6. Oh my gosh, you and I have SO much in common! This year I marked 16 months of a serious lifestyle change, re-branding of my blog (still working on that) and the struggle to pay more quality attention to myself is ever-present. We are twinsies! 😀 You go!!! You can kick butt this year! It sounds like you have already come so far!

    1. Hahaha Thanks, Shannon! I’m glad I’m not the only one with these struggles. You go too!

  7. Hey – I think you are doing fantastic! Good golly, you’re doing a lot and often times it’s when we are busy ‘doing’ that it’s harder for us to practice self-care. But I hear you – exercising and losing weight are tough, maybe if we focused on health (like you asked yourself about “would you feed this to Dexter”). We often laugh when we nibble on Cheetos, admitting that the dogs eat better than us. Hey, maybe we need to start a healthy eating pet blogger support group!! I’m right there with you!

    1. I wish you the best in 2017. Being open for new things would be a great one for you! 🙂

  8. I have had a hard time thinking of resolutions for this year. 2016 was a great year for my blog! I know I need to set some goals to help 2017 to be just as good, or hopefully better!

  9. Those sound like wonderful New Year’s Resolutions! I have found that my own resolutions don’t last that long, so now I’m just try to make better adjustments. Unfortunately, I haven’t been very successful with some of them, especially exercising and eating healthy. I bought some new cookbooks and I hope that will make a big difference.

    1. Thanks for sharing Beth. I hope those cookbooks help. I’m not sure about recipes for me, that’s my downside, I just tend to wing it, hence not such a tasty meal. I need to be better!

  10. You’ve had so much success, that’s wonderful! You tackled a huge project in 2016, that alone is a giant goal. I like to tell myself to set goals but to be Flexible, that way I’m not too disappointed when I go off track with a new idea or opportunity. Flexibility is important. I’m finalizing my goals for 2017 right now, I’m hoping for a successful year!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Thanks, Cathy. I appreciate your comments and support. I try to go with the flow, and I do, but my type A kicks in….haha

  11. Those look like great goals, and you seem to be off to a great start. Well done! I’m working on daily goals and organization. I plan to celebrate each accomplishment and not beat myself on anything that will be carried over to the next day.

    1. Thanks, Sadie. One of my goals is to have daily goals, so I can feel like I’ve done something. 🙂

  12. Good luck on your goals! We have several goals we wish to accomplish as well. Healthy eating is definitely one of them!

  13. Best thing I ever did was focus on nutrition. About 7-8 years ago I slowly dropped sugar, wheat, refined and processed foods and so on … it’s 70% of any weight loss process versus exercise that counts for the remaining 30%. Feel so good…. but it was a HUGE lifestyle change. That is for sure. YOU GOT THIS!

    1. Thanks, Sonja. I’m so scared about trying to drop sugar. I’m such a sugar junkie. Little steps, little steps.

  14. I have to ask myself the same question when I’m about to eat something – I’m picky when it comes to what my dogs eat, but I forget to eat fresh foods myself!

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