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Even pets can have New Year’s resolutions

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Updated: February 14, 2013 6:29AM



Dear Ollie: It’s that time of year again when I break most of my New Year’s resolutions.

I think about them all through Christmas and listen to humans talk about adopting new behaviors in 2013. It’s all about being a better dog companion and sending good karma and happy vibes into our universe. But I stink at keeping them.

For your information, here’s my top 10 list for 2013. I resolved to:

1. Stop eating everything that falls to the floor.

2. Eat better books.

3. Run after a stick only after it leaves someone’s hand.

4. Stop barking from the back seat when my human places an order with the talking heads at the drive-in restaurants.

5. Learn the definition of dogma.

6. Stop extracting squeakers from absolutely every toy that my pet parents buy me.

7. Quit turning inside out with excitement when my pet parents come home from work, barking like mad and scooting backward.

8. Never bark and growl at a dog I can smell but can’t see.

9. Sleep on the floor and not in the king-sized bed with my pet mom and dad.

10. Share my toys.

I have already broken resolutions No. 1, 2, 4, 8, and especially No. 9.

Scooter, the terrier

Dear Scooter: Boy do I get your frustration.

Your resolutions are very much like mine and I would have broken the same ones as you but not in that order. Research says humans break almost every resolution by February. So, by dog standards, you should have broken every one of your resolutions by now and not just five.

One definition of dogma is a point of view put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds. Really, who came up with the dogma of New Year’s resolutions? The whole idea of denying yourself what you love is bound to fail.

In the first place, just thinking up resolutions is depressing. Who wants to give up all these fabulous things all at once? The answer, Scooter, is no one. Not one dog, not one person has the resolve or willpower to stick to a draconian schedule of abstinence masquerading as resolutions.

If your pet parent really wants to change behaviors, it takes concentration and breaking one habit at a time for a period of 30 days and then, and only then, does the habit change.

Now, we understand that’s the deal for people. I think dogs can be trained faster than that if the right treat is used by the right person and the right time.

Keep your faith, Scooter.

You have kept resolution No. 5 because I told you one of the dictionary meanings of the word dogma. Pretty cool, yes?



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