Happy New Year, everyone. It’s my first post of 2017, and I’m sharing some of the goals I have for Baxter and myself for the year ahead.

1. Take a dog training class.

Ongoing training is valuable for our dogs, ourselves and our bond. Classes are a way to try something new and have fun. It’s been awhile since Baxter and I did formal classes together. I don’t know exactly what we’ll try, but I’m looking forward to finding something new for us to experience together.

2. Better dental care.

The best trick we have for taking care of Baxter’s teeth is giving him a soup bone every so often. Chewing the bone chips the tartar off his teeth and keeps them nice and white. However, there are a few teeth where this doesn’t work quite as well, and I’ve noticed some of his gums seem a bit discoloured.

Teeth health is important to overall health. This year, I’m aiming to do a better job of regular tooth brushing, along with the bones.

3. Go back to basics.

Off leash hiking is one of Baxter’s and my favourite activities. However, as I’ve written before, dude has a very big comfort zone and sometimes ventures farther away from me than I like. On our final hikes of last year, he would occasionally choose his own adventure for up to 15 minutes at a time.

New Year's resolutions for your dog

Even though I’m proud of how he would eventually come back to me, it always made me anxious when he disappeared. And for the other people we’re hiking with, standing around waiting for him to catch up or even walking back along the trail with me to find him isn’t the most fun.

We’re going to start this year by focusing on basic obedience. Spending time on recall, leash dragging, rules, boundaries and limitations will help to strengthen our bond so that when we return to off leash activities, they’re enjoyable for both of us.

I enjoy setting goals at the start of each year. They help me to prioritize what’s most important and provide a focus the rest of the year.

And what’s most important is lots of time with my dog, experiencing as much as possible and doing fun things together.

Do you have any goals or New Year’s resolutions for your dog?

What would you like to focus on with your dog over the next year?

Any suggestions of interesting classes I should investigate?

New Year's resolutions for your dog