Dogs Need A Routine and this is something that is usually drilled into the minds of dog owners.It’s a true statement, a regular routine to follow is incredibly important for all domestic dogs. But do you know why this is the case. Do you know what keeping to a routine entails. Even more important is how to deal with times when you need to break from the schedule or introduce new things into your dog’s world.
If you don’t yet have a dog but are just doing what you can to research thoroughly first, in order to get things right, or if you are already a dog owner and think it might be beneficial to review your current routine in regards to your dog, keep reading!
The importance of a routine for dogs
Dogs are habitual creatures, and the way they see the world around them depends on their viewpoint. This is itself shaped by how they feel and how happy they are in their environment. In order to have a positive outlook on life and be able to deal with any changes and new things that come their way.
Dogs must already be established within a stable routine and be handled with consistency This is so that they know what to expect from their owners and their lives. Their behaviour will reflect this accordingly. Dogs that do not enjoy a sufficient routine or feel otherwise insecure in the consistency that their lives contains or the way they are dealt with by their people are much more likely to feel stressed, anxious or depressed.
They then either act out accordingly, or it can actually affect their physical health. Well-balanced dogs that are secure in their environment, routine and every day lives find it much easier to bear any changes or upsets that do come along from time to time, whether planned for or unexpected.
The daily routine
The day-to-day routine in your home regarding your dog is the underpinning of the fabric of his life, and one of the key areas in which routine and consistency are particularly important. Try to ensure that your dog gets up at around the same time each day and is put down to sleep at around the same time.
Also that he has activities such as feeding times, walking times, play times and quiet times all regularly scheduled into his day at times that he can rely upon. This goes a good part of the distance towards helping your dog to feel loved and secure, and is part of the bonding process with you. Additional walking, play and other activities, and changes such as going to new places with you is all fine- as long as the main structure of how your dog’s day goes remains consistent regardless of what you are doing.
Feeding your dog at the same times every day is important not just for his emotional and mental wellbeing, but also because his metabolism will get used to the pattern and adjust itself to fit the set feeding times and amounts that it comes to expect. Try to feed your dog in the same place every day, and make sure that the area is safe and comfortable for him. It is also important to be consistent with the food that you give and not to make any sudden changes to the quantity or content of his meals, instead phasing in any changes gradually.
Walking and toileting routine
It is obviously important to take cues from your dog and let them out to go to the toilet at times when they need to, but as well as this, you should seek to establish a routine of times when your dog is always let out to go to the toilet. For instance, when you (and he) first get up, and just before bed would be obvious times to introduce. Also, walking your dog as much as possible is brilliant, and of course, at some times you’ll be able to walk him much more and for much longer than at others. But do make sure that at least one walk a day is always scheduled into the routine, and that it happens at around the same time of day each time as well.
Training and handling routine be consistant
Part of your dog’s routine and consistency foundations come down to how he is treated and handled by you and other members of the family. Make sure that not only are your training commands clear and not open to interpretation, but that you apply them in consistent circumstances. You might think it is a kindness to allow your dog to break with his usual behaviour norms on occasion- for example, sitting on the furniture or sleeping on the beds- but these kinds of ‘exceptions’ and lack of consistency in his training and handling will only serve to confuse him. Your dog needs you to provide a clear framework for what is and is not allowed, and stick to it- take away his frame of reference for what is and is not allowed, and you will do him a disservice in the long term.
How to make changes
However committed you are to ensuring that your dog has a consistent, stable routine and you follow it religiously. Somewhere along the line you will have to accept that you will need to make a change of some kind.
How you handle this is the key to how easy it becomes for your dog to whether the change successfully, and how happy and confident your dog is within his existing routine is a mainstay of this.
Dogs that know their routine and are happy with it tend to whether changes of any kind much better than dogs that are not sure what each day will bring.
When you do need to introduce something new into your dog’s environment or change something about his daily life. You need to try and do this as gradually as possible.
Also, only change one thing at a time don’t attempt to introduce a range of new things or changes to existing norms all in one go.
Assess how your dog is dealing with changes and new things on an ongoing basis. Remember at all times to keep your treatment of him and your responses to his behaviour firm and consistent. This way he can have continued faith and respect in you, his owner, boss and favourite person.
Further reading on routines for dogs