Last week, we told you about discipline, this week it’s time to talk about routine.
A dog’s routine is his bible. He loves consistency. He enjoys waking up around the same time, getting his food around the same time, producing similarly timed bowel movements, and understanding when you’re going to be at work, at home, or at the park.
This consistency leaves no choice up to the dog. If he had to choose, what do you think he would do? Eat everything, play all the time, and bug you constantly. You have to be in control of your dog’s routine, not the other way around.
Set a schedule.
A few weeks ago, we discussed the importance of setting a schedule for potty training. This applies to more than simply letting your dog outside. Setting a schedule creates consistency, which enables your pup to thrive under limited circumstances.
Do you ever wonder why some dogs are incredibly well-behaved, almost to the point that the owner doesn’t even need to pay attention? What do you think that’s from? Sure, some breeds are easier to train than others, and there’s a good chance that you rescued your dog without prior knowledge of his previous circumstances. But all dogs, like humans, crave routine.
Dog’s brains need routine.
As much as our human brain needs routine to thrive, a dog needs it more. Because dog’s cognitive ability is extremely limited, dogs don’t necessarily choose. A dog will go to the bathroom after he eats, but he will also hold it for hours and hours if he has to. A dog will sit quietly under your feet at the table or sleep on his bed for the whole night.
The key in these activities is to establish a routine that both stimulates the dog’s brain as well as exercises the dog’s body. A well-balanced and healthy pup will eat around the same time every day, and he will exercise around the same time. He will go to the bathroom and sleep at the same time. These consistencies take away some of the fear associated with not knowing what to do.
Left to their own devices, your pup might destroy your house. Think about what a two-year old would do! If you’ve ever gone traveling in a third world country with wild dogs, behavioral themes will emerge among those dogs. They essentially sleep, eat, and roam for about the same amount of time and around the same time, everyday. That’s because they just don’t have the capacity for much more. So, create your pup’s schedule and stick to it. You’ll find it very rewarding.