4 reasons why routine matters

We humans tend to see routine as boring. But, for dogs, it's very reassuring! Habits give canines a framework and reference points to rely on, and help them react appropriately in any situation. This article features the four reasons why routine is important for dogs. 

1. Avoid stress 

While dogs are loyal companions who we can count and rely on, they're also highly sensitive. Your dog feels all your emotions. If you're uneasy in a new or unfamiliar situation, your dog will quickly notice your emotional state and react. 

Your goal as owner is to teach your dog (with training) how to behave "correctly" in each situation. This will mean your canine companion feels comfortable in familiar situations as you'll have taught them to react appropriately. 

Situations that can stress out a dog: 

  • Moving house¬†
  • A new baby or dog¬†
  • Travel¬†
  • Changing a room's layout¬†
  • Lack of socialisation or poor socialisation¬†
  • Unfamiliar situations¬†
  • Separation anxiety
  • Boredom or lack of physical and mental activity¬†
  • ‚Ķ¬†

Signs of stress in a dog: 

  • Destructive behaviour¬†
  • Listlessness¬†
  • Unwelcome barking
  • Uncontrolled yawning¬†
  • Fixation on lighting, doors or certain objects¬†
  • Excessive saliva¬†
  • Digestive issues
  • ‚Ķ

Did you know? 

Chronic stress can make a dog's intestines hyperpermeable, which can lead to serious health problems like allergies, autoimmune diseases and cancer! So, make sure you get your dog to relax (and yourself too ;-))

Tip: It's worth exposing your dog to as many situations as possible as soon as you can. Get them used to going in the car, socialise them with other dogs, walk them through crowds, etc. Want to know more? Read this article: My dog barks and growls: what can I do?

2. Teach the dog to be alone 

Dogs who trust their owners and have solid reference points don't get separation anxiety. For these dogs, it's normal to see their owner leave the home without them and they know they will always return. 

Whether you're leaving for 5 minutes or 3 hours, your dog trusts you and knows that, whatever happens, you'll be back. They watch you leave and return on a routine basis and it's not scary for them. 

3. Create a framework for security 

Your dog doesn't know how do anything without your input. That's a fact. And as our behaviourist Loranne says, in dog training small changes make a big difference. 

If you teach your dog to sit by the door and not rush through, you will prevent some dangerous situations. Imagine getting home one day carrying lots of shopping or a car seat, and, when you open the door, your furry friend charges straight at you... See the danger? So, teach your pet to wait calmly by the door to avoid a whole range of unhelpful problems and stress. 

4. Provide reference points

Give your dog one or more routines so they have reference points to rely on: 

  • Shortly after they eat, you'll walk them¬†
  • You leaving doesn't mean they're being abandoned¬†
  • When they're alone, they have a chew bone to keep them busy (and not your nicest shoes)
  • When on a walk, they have time to play and sniff
  • ‚Ķ.¬†

A routine has lots of benefits: 

  • A calmer dog, who is therefore in better health¬†
  • A companion who can be alone without destroying the house when you're out
  • A safer dog and family
  • A reassuring framework that soothes your furry friend.¬†

So, what are your own thoughts on the topic? Have you introduced any routines at home? Tell us what you do! 

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