As we embark on a New Year, we often set expectations for ourselves, our family, and our business or careers. So, why not include our dogs?

If you’re starting this New Year with a new puppy, your resolution list may look like this: potty trained by March, three new tricks every month, complete a training class, obedience title by the end of the year, and focus on socialization. The list for an adult dog may include joining you on the paddleboard by summer, becoming your jogging partner, losing a few excess pounds, or having more playdates with other dogs.

Let’s also consider ways for you to step up as his guardian this year. This resolution list may look like this: set aside time every day to bond with my dog, have patience when he doesn’t behave as I expect, take my dog’s nutrition to the next level, and be the best healthcare advocate I can be for my dog.

The start of a New Year is a great time to form new habits that lead to more enjoyable, productive days. These daily habits are just as important to your dog as they are to you. Dogs rely on routine and repetition for comfort. Some success habits that you may want to create for you and your dog include an extra half hour in the morning to enjoy each other before your day starts, an evening stroll after dinner, or lying on the floor with your dog for at least 15 minutes every night.

As you follow through with your resolutions to teach your dog to be a better dog this year, he also has some beautiful lessons to share with you. If you’re paying attention, your dog can teach you to love unconditionally, he will teach you to be present in every moment, and he will teach you genuine forgiveness. Meaningful lessons to guide us to a better year.

Happy New Year my friends! Here’s to a beautiful year filled with many magic moments and a dog by your side to share them with.