Just like humans, some dogs need routine but how can you tell whether your dog will benefit from a routine?
Look at their personality / behaviour.
- Is your dog unsettled during the day?
- Does your dog constantly follow you around?
- Is your dog a "worry wart"?
If you answered yes to any of these then having your dog in a routine could be the answer.
A dog that is "on edge" may be worried about what will happen next. Without a routine they don’t know what is going to happen next and may not settle as they have to be prepared at anytime. For example, a dog that doesn’t get a daily walk won't know when the next one will happen so has to be prepared at all times, meaning relaxing is not really an option.
Personally I'm not a routine person but I soon learnt that Princess CC my ridgeback x and soon to be ten year old, is!
Right from the realisation at 6 months, we started off as we meant to go on - a walk first thing in the morning and another in the evening - rain, hail or shine - everyday is the same for the princess. For her this means she is stimulated by her morning walk, doing all her important business on the way then coming home to relax all day, only worrying about which sunny spot she should sit in next!
She knows her next walk is around 5 so she truly relaxes right through till about 4pm! This is when she likes to remind me she is still there, usually by shaking and stretching near me - in case my body clock is out - and then the last reminder is to bring me a ball at 5pm.
Part of the princess’ routine is to go to doggy daycare once a week. On her regular day she sits patiently by the door waiting for her ‘boyfriend’ to pick her up at 7.30am.This means she is part of a regular pack, gets to see her furry friends weekly, has a change from the usual daily routine (yet still keeping to a routine as she goes every week) and is exhausted from running around all day as opposed to her normal routine of sleeping!
A routine works so well for the princess - she is content and relaxed that she never has to worry about "what will happen next". If she does get to come with me during the day then this is a bonus for her, there is no following me around - just "looks" to make me feel guilty if I don't take her with!
Having a simple routine so your dog does not have to worry about what is to happen next can make the difference between a well balanced, loving pet to one that is constantly on edge, never settling and driving you nuts in the process.
So just as some people need/like routine so too do some dogs. The breed and your dog's individual personality will determine this. Listen to your dog and implement a routine if they seem to fret during the day or are constantly following you around.
And remember once implemented your dog will expect their routine. For example having had a 5 month summer with no rain meant that the dogs beds were put outside in the sun - every single day. Now each morning Bhindi will stand and stare at me, doing her flippy-dance thing (which is her way of telling me something) until I click that she wants her bed outside. As soon as I pick up her bed she runs off outside wagging her tail waiting at the designated sun spot!
Routines are very easy for a dog and we all know that happy pets make happy owners - It's the Eezapet way!