I love the idea of a starting with a clean slate and believing that a New Year can mean a new and improved me. Often by March my New Year’s self improvement list has been shelved and my old habits start to pop-up like daffodils and tulips in Spring. This year, I decided to look at my New Year’s resolutions from a dog’s point of view in the hope that I might strengthen my resolutions and stay the course like a good dog.
From the moment my dog, Ted, wakes up his tail is wagging with eager anticipation for what the day will bring. From Ted’s perspective, the daily schedule can be punctuated with tail wags – it’s all about having a positive vibe.
Just Do It – Sometimes its easy for me to overthink things – I will try and embrace life’s adventures with the exuberant carefree attitude my happy-go-wiggly Ted does. Sometimes leaping before you look can be fun.
Carpe Diem – Rather than checking my iPhone for the weather, I’m going to follow Ted’s lead and simply stick my nose out the door and sniff-out the day. That doesn’t mean I won’t head back inside to add or remove a few layers – I don’t have the benefit of an all weather self-regulating fur coat.
Stay Balanced – I’m lucky enough to work from a home office. When I get that wet-nose elbow nudge from Ted to step way from my computer for a break, I’ll take his canine cue and head outside for some ball play or stretch my legs on a woods excursion.
Life’s technologies make it hard to focus on the present – texts, social media, emails and phone calls can be constant distractions whether I’m hiking a snowy trail, trying to get some work done or taking a break. Staying connected can be addictive and I’m trying to wean myself off. Switching off is not a new resolution for me but it’s definitely something I still need to master.
Go off the grid – When I’m out for a walk with Ted, I’ve made a four-paw pledge to only carry my smart phone for safety purposes and to capture happy moments. The everyday interruptions can wait. I’m looking for quality play-time with my best friend where I use all my God-given senses to absorb nature’s tranquility and recharge. When I focus completely on Ted, he focuses on me (and possibly the cookies in my pocket) and not on the scent of something he shouldn’t be eating – did someone say “poopsicles”?
When we train dogs, we typically teach them not to bark too much. Talking too much is something that I need to work on too.
Less is More – If I keep my commands to a minimum when I’m walking with Ted, he focuses on me and pays more attention to the essential spoken commands. When I’m walking with friends and have Ted off-leash, I need to be mindful that when I get lost in conversation Ted is much more likely to get distracted and goof off.
This is something I love to do and my focus is always on finding fun new experiences that have a dog-friendly ring to them. So as we navigate our way into 2015, let me know if you have any fun new dog-friendly places or events you’d like Ted and I to sniff out. If you’ve only just started following The Maine Wag, take a look back at last year’s adventures and look for my weekly online features that focus on the dog-centric side of life in Maine. Live to wag – Happy New Year!