5 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions. Most of us have made them at one time or another… and most of us have also broken them. In fact, research shows that the majority of people who make resolutions don’t stick with them.

However, despite their reputation, resolutions can be instrumental in helping you reach your goals. One key to staying on track is to have a friend who will keep you accountable. And since we all know that dogs make everything more fun, why not enlist your pooch to help you stick to your resolutions?

Below are five of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make, along with some fun, easy ways to include your four-legged buddy:

1. Get Fit

According to statistics, two-thirds of Americans are overweight and more than half of our pets are, too. The good news is that you don’t have to hit the gym for hours at a day to make a difference in your and your dog’s health. Simply clip a leash on your best buddy and head out the door. Just a few minutes every day can help shed pounds, strengthen bones and improve balance and coordination.

When it comes to food, losing weight doesn’t mean giving up scrumptious goodies. Life’s no fun if you’re constantly depriving yourself or trying to avoid those sad puppy eyes. So it’s fine to reward your dog with wholesome snacks and treats. The key, as with anything else, is quality and moderation.

2. Learn Something New

If you’ve been thinking about enrolling in a class or taking up a new hobby, why not do it with your best friend? An obedience or training class will not only teach you and your dog something new, it will help strengthen your bond. Up for an extra challenge? Look into doggie dancing or agility!

3. Manage Stress

Are you coming home at the end of the day tired and frazzled? Has your doctor warned you that your blood pressure has been creeping up? Luckily, you have a furry stress reliever lying at your feet. Studies have shown that playing with or petting your dog releases feel-good hormones that lower heart rate and blood pressure. Ahhhh…don’t you feel better already?

4. Volunteer

If your dog is exceptionally even-tempered, well behaved and outgoing, consider getting him or her certified as a therapy dog. You and your pup could bring much-needed light and laughter to those in nursing homes, hospitals or homeless shelters. To learn more, do an Internet search for therapy dog programs in your area.

5. Take a Trip

Are you yearning to hit the open road, see new things, explore new places? Most dogs would be more than happy to accompany their human on a car trip to just about anywhere. Imagine hiking a trail in the Rockies, strolling along historic streets in New England or watching a sunset on the beach with your best four-legged buddy by your side. It just doesn’t get much better than that!