Set Goals For Your Dog
Here’s an interesting question — do you set goals for your dog? I do. I’m a big believer in goal setting for myself but I’ve extended this practice to my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie as well and I believe there are huge benefits.
Like with my own goals, I set specific ones for my dogs in different areas. Here are some of the dog goals we have.
Dog Health Goals
This is one of the key areas especially now that my dogs are older at 12 years of age. I want them to be as healthy and fit as possible. So one important goal that we can actually measure (since goals are always better when you can measure them), is their body weight.
In the past, Chester and Roxie have gained a bit of weight over the cold season due to lower levels of activity during our cold Canadian winters. So the past few years as with this past one, we set a goal in maintaining their body weights over the winter. We did this by continuing with exercise if not outdoors, then indoors running up and down our house stairs. Also, I watched what they ate. No junky treats, just healthy and low calorie ones were allowed. And with my girl Roxie especially, since she was the one more prone to weight gain, I limited the amount of food during meals.
I’m happy to report that they did not gain weight over the winter and both are weighed each month to monitor their levels regularly. For Chester since he has EPI or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, he is actually prone to loss of weight so I made sure that he maintain adequate body weight by adjusting food as well.
Both Chester and Roxie did quite well from a fitness point of view this past spring season with 1.5 to 2 hour hikes at conservation areas with our small dogs group.
Dog Grooming Goals
We don’t like the idea of paying hundreds of dollars to have our vets clean Chester and Roxie’s teeth so we set another goal of keeping their teeth as clean as possible with home teeth brushing as well as applications of gel like Petzlife. So far we have been successful at this as their teeth are not bad enough that the vet needs to do teeth cleaning at the clinic. If you missed our dog teeth brushing video, just click on the link.
Dog hair tangles and mats are a big problem with Lhasa Apsos so although they were tangled up during the winter since the air was so dry indoors and they needed their coats for winter warmth, we are now getting hair trimmed each month at home over the summer season with our electric clippers. We are also clipping their nails each month too as well as cleaning ears – see our dog nails clipping video.
As a goal, if we could reduce the number of ear infections that my girl gets, that would be great. She use to routinely get an ear infection every other month almost on cue but so far this year she’s had only one.
As a goal for next winter, we would like to minimize all tangles and mats while leaving a longer coat for winter warmth if possible. I’ll just have to be better at daily hair grooming for my dogs.
Dog Social & Mental Fitness Goals
This is an area that unfortunately many dog owners out there don’t bother with. I want Chester and Roxie to have decent dog social lives and we do this by going out regularly with our small dogs outings Meetup group. Although each winter our group activity was low since many dog owners just wanted to hibernate, as soon as spring came, we were right back on schedule with two outings each week and this past spring season was great with many of Chester and Roxie’s doggie friends returning as well as many new doggie friends successfully integrated with our group.
For mental fitness, my dogs and I still go through our basic obedience drills almost daily. They earn apple pieces during these drills since I have an apple after lunch each day. These drills keep my dogs mentally sharp. And when we get to one particular local dog park that has an agility ramp and hurdle jumps, we do those too. If you missed that fun dog agility video, just click on that link.
New Interesting Experiences As Goals
I also want to expose my Lhasa Apso dogs to new interesting experiences that they will enjoy. This is set as yet another one of our goals. So just recently, I brought them along to a fishing day at a Island Lake Conservation Area near Orangeville, Ontario where they got close up to a real live fish for the very first time in their lives. Here’s a short video clip of that experience which shows Chester particularly interested in the little fish caught.
Overall Benefit Of Setting Dog Goals
So as you can see, these goals are meant to keep my dogs as healthy and happy as possible. I want to give them the best life I could and by actually setting goals for my dogs, it makes me much more committed to making sure that these goals are achieved each year. This would be the overall benefit in setting goals for my dogs, ie., it makes me totally committed to my dogs to ensure they have the best life possible.