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— 2010 is the Year to ‘Do More with Your Dog’! —

As the end of the year approaches, the American Kennel Club® (AKC) urges pet owners toremember the family pet while pondering potential New Year’s resolutions.

“Eighty-one percent of dog owners buy gifts for their dogs,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “But what you should really be giving them is consistent exercise, training and stimulation. Try to start the year off right by resolving to do more with your dog in 2010.”

So if your Beagle isn’t being walked briskly, your Terrier getting trained, your Rottweiler racking up ribbons in the ring and your Great Dane’s not a canine good citizen, consider these suggestions from the dog experts at the American Kennel Club’s Canine Partners program:


  • Young and old dogs can learn new tricks. Start your puppy off on the right foot with an AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy training class. Adult dogs (over 1 year old) can take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Both programs teach basic manners and socialization needed to help both dog and owner to be a responsible member of society. All dogs are eligible and they earn a special certification upon completion.
  • Train your dog for competitive events. Every weekend all over the country there are dog events where you can earn ribbons, titles and trophies.  Plus there’s the reward of meeting new people with a similar love for dogs and ensuring that your dog is well-behaved, even tempered, physically fit and a joy to live with. Mixed breed owners can get started by enrolling in the AKC Canine Partners Program and purebred dogs can enroll in the AKC Purebred Alternative Listing.
  • Get Fit with Fido. The National Academy of Sciences reports that one out of every four dogs and cats in the western world is now overweight. Daily walks are a great way for both dogs and owners to avoid gaining extra holiday pounds. According to a recent study, dog owners get more exercise walking their pet than someone with a gym membership
  • Dogs love helping others. Dogs are invaluable in providing service to humans – visiting the sick, helping the disabled, locating missing persons, and much more. If a dog has the correct temperament, there are many ways dog owners can put their special skills to use in service to their community. Contact the volunteer director at your local hospital to find out how you and your dog can qualify to volunteer or visit a home-bound neighbor.
  • Help kids learn to read. There is no better listener than a dog. Many libraries have programs for children to practice their reading skills and gain confidence by reading with dogs. Contact your local library to learn about available reading programs or volunteer to start one with your dog.
  • Travel with your dog. Planning vacations and getaways that include your dog will save you boarding fees and will keep Fido from getting lonely while you are having fun in the sun. More hotels are becoming dog friendly, such as Motel 6, who recently removed its restriction on the number of dogs allowed and offers discounts to AKC registered dog owners.