Establishing A Routine With Your Dog
As humans we naturally have changes in our lives, and dogs can easily become stressed if they are taken out of their normal environment. They rely on us for consistency, care and to provide them with a home where they feel safe. Having a structure will help your dog to feel relaxed and secure, which will mean they will ultimately be healthier and happier.
Dogs can be much more settled if they know roughly when they will be fed, walked and go to sleep. They are creatures of habit and seem to like having a routine and knowing what they can expect from their owners.
Have a daily routine that involves walking, feeding and playing with your dog. You don’t have to do these things at the exact same time each day, you just need a rough guideline. The last thing you want is for your dog to expect to be fed at 8.33am every morning, as this doesn’t give you much flexibility. If you walk your dog in the morning when you get up, try and stick to a rough time frame. Feeding your dog at regular times also helps you to accurately control their diet and make sure you are feeding them the correct amount.
When it comes to bedtime, put your dog to bed at around the same time each night so they know what to expect. Give them a safe place to go to, whether that’s a bed, a blanket or a crate. This is a place they can go to by choice when they want some quiet time, but also where they will be comfortable and happy through the night. Dogs need to have enough sleep to keep them healthy, so allow them some quiet time throughout the day. They can then sleep if they need to.
Let your dog out to the toilet regularly throughout the day, the number of times you do this depends of the age, breed and gender of your dog. Try and let them out to the toilet when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night as a minimum at roughly the same sort of time each day. Then they can feel relaxed knowing that they will get the opportunity to relive themselves.
Your dog’s routine doesn’t have to just be when they eat, walk and sleep. There are other ways in which you can establish routine behaviour. For example, when friends come round your house you can teach your dog that this is a time to be calm and not jump up. When you sit down for dinner with your family you may want your dog to lie down away from the table. These are just small examples of how having simple routines can help your dog to understand what is expected of them.
If your dog’s routine gets continually disrupted they may become stressed. This can happen when dogs are being rehomed, if new people come into their lives, if they move around a lot, travel a lot of things keep changing in their environment. Dogs can show stress in many different ways from behavioural issues to note eating their food and developing skin irritations. If you notice that your dog is becoming stressed then try and figure out why, is it because something in their routine has changed? This is why having a nice comfortable routine for your dog is so beneficial, for both you and your best friend.