Why Is A Regular Routine Important?
Dogs are creatures of habit, and the way they feel about the world around them depends on how happy they are in their environment. Therefore it is important to establish an orderly routine to give your dog structure and confidence. Dogs thrive on routines and a routine will let your dog to know what to expect each day and when to expect it.
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, Your dog will soon learn to anticipate your sleep schedule and will get into a routine of sleeping when you sleep and waking up when you do – unless something disturbs them. The nightly sleep routine you establish for your dog will reassure and comfort them and enable them to get the rest they need to power through another exciting routine-packed day ahead.
Feeding your dog at the same times every day is important not just for his emotional and mental wellbeing, but also because their metabolism will get used to the pattern. Their meal and snack routines help you to control their weight and set the pace for other important routines, like play, toilet and sleep times. Try to feed your dog in the same place every day ensuring the area is safe and comfortable. Try to be as consistent as possible and avoid dramatic changes in his feeding schedule. If you have to make any changes phase them in gradually.
Your dog will find a way to let you know when they need to go to the toilet. Watch for the signs and take them out to relieve themselves, praising them and rewarding them when they do their business. In time these comfort breaks will become their daily toilet routine. If you have a puppy and you are house training them, they’ll need frequent breaks, primarily around meal and sleep times. If your dog is an adult, an outside trip at least once every eight hours should suffice. Normal routine break times should include first thing in the morning, after meals, during walks and play and before bedtime. Establishing your dogs toilet routine will help to avoid feelings of discomfort or anxiety for them and nasty clean-ups for you.
Walking and Play Routines
Dogs love to walk and play and look forward to these healthy activities. If you regularly take your dog out for a walk you can guarantee they’ll perk up the moment you pick up the lead. Make sure that at least one walk a day is a scheduled walk and happens around the same time each day. These walk and play routines, will be something that they’ll look forward to each day, and soon become a precious bonding routine for both of you.
Training and handling consistency
Make sure that your training commands are clear and that you apply them in consistent circumstances. You need to provide your dog with a clear framework for what is and is not allowed, and then stick to it. 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.
How to make changes
However committed you are to ensuring you dog has a consistent stable routine, sometimes you may need to make changes. When you need to introduce something new into your dog’s daily life, try to do it as gradually as possible. Only change one thing at a time to help them deal with the new routine. Keep your treatment of them and your responses to their behaviour consistent so they continue to have faith and respect in you as their owner and boss.
How do you help your dog get into a routine? We’d love to hear your comments!