Sometimes we get into ruts. Life starts to feel a bit like Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, where you’re re-living the same thing over and over and over. One day you wake up and realize that you’ve eaten oatmeal every day for breakfast for the last six months. We get into ruts with our pets too. Are you making the same walk around the block with your dog? Is every night a snuggle up in front of the television night with you and your cat? Maybe it’s time to try break out and try something new. And speaking of Groundhog Day, we heard the groundhog predicted an early spring this year so it’s a great time to get started and get ready for spring!
Trying new things is another thing I like to see on a New Year’s list. What better way to break out of your routine than to shake it up by trying something new. And doing something new with your canine or feline friends can be incredibly rewarding, strengthening the bond between the two of you.
Have you ever tried agility?
If you’re wanting to get off the couch and get moving for both you and your dog, agility might be right for you. In this popular dog sport, dogs go up, over, through and around obstacles. Handlers run along side their dogs so you’ll get some exercise too. Agility is not only lots of fun, it also teaches dogs confidence as they learn how to handle different obstacles. For more information you can visit www.usdaa.com.
Don’t have a dog, but agility sounds fun? How about agility for cats?
If you don’t die from the cuteness overload of this kitten doing agility, then you should check out http://agility.cfa.org/index.shtml for information on how to get your cat involved in agility! What a fun way to get your cat active and learn some new skills!
A dog sport that is rapidly growing in popularity is Dock Diving (also known as Dock Jumping).
This sport uses pools or lakes that the dogs jump into. Dogs run down the end of a dock and chase a toy into the water. They are then measured on the distance of how far their jump is. Okay, this sport is probably not suitable to start in February unless you can find an indoor pool to practice in. But when summer rolls around again, what a fun thing to do with your dog! There isn’t a cat version of this, for which I’m sure your cat is grateful.
Something else you might try to add some new incentives to getting your daily walk, is walking for a cause. Support your local rescue organization or a national organization by signing up for a walk and collecting sponsors. Giving yourself a goal of a five kilometer walk in the spring helps keep you motivated when it’s dark and cold outside. Sign up with a few friends and you can support each other in getting out and walking every day. Remember to increase your distance gradually if you and your dog are only used to going around the block.
Or how about training your cat to walk on a leash so you two can make jaunts around the neighborhood? Using a harness for your kitty makes it more secure. Some cats also like to ride on their owner’s shoulders, though this negates the exercise portion of this activity for your cat.
Flyball is another fun dog activity. If your dog loves to fetch tennis balls and jumps things with ease, then flyball might be for you. Flyball is a rowdy team sport, involving four dogs, jumps and a tennis ball. The dogs are run relay style through a course of jumps which culminates in the ball box, an ingenious box that pops out a tennis ball when the dogs press it with their paws. The dogs then grab the ball, head back for home over the jumps and back to their cheering team. When they cross over the last jump, the next dog is released. It’s all about speed in this fast paced sport. There’s lots of cheering and happy yipping in Flyball, so if your dog is a shy, retiring sort this sport might be a bit much for them.
I haven’t seen Flyball for cats. Most likely because it’s a highly organized team sport and trying to get multiple cats to participate would be like…well, like herding cats.
So get out there and start crossing things off your list. Try something new this year. And if you don’t want to try a new sport, how about a new flavor of food? Yes, I totally just went there. Addiction Pet Foods makes all sorts of unusual foods using novel proteins. We even have our own facility to manufacture them in. Maybe your pet is tired of the usual chicken or beef and wants to branch out. How about Brushtail? Kangaroo? Buffalo? Variety IS the spice of life, after all. So go ahead and branch out. Do a new sport. Try a new activity. Or sample a new variety of food. After all, it’s a brand new year.