Every loving dog-owner knows that their pup often feels much less like a pet and more like a child of their own! Like children, dogs can also benefit from having a solid daily routine in place – especially in these very strange times.
Setting regular times for meals, walks, play and rest can be helpful to dogs in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at how your pooch could benefit from having a routine in place, how it could benefit you and how to implement a routine into your dog’s lifestyle quickly and easily.
Routines Help Dogs Feel Calmer
Believe it or not, dogs can struggle with anxiety just like humans. This can be down to a number of different factors, from negative experiences with previous owners (particularly common in rescue dogs) to simply being just the way that are and have always been.
Whatever the cause of your dog’s anxieties, there are a few different things that you can do to combat this. Implementing a routine for your dog is one of the simplest ways to introduce a greater sense of calm into their daily lives.
It Can Contribute To Effective Training
Dogs naturally pack animals, so it’s in their make-up to need a leader – and that’s you!
By implementing a solid daily routine for your pup, they’ll learn that they’re very much on the timetable that you set. They’ll learn when it’s time for dinner, when it’s time to play, when it’s time to go for a walk – and they’ll naturally look to you for other instruction. This is why giving your dog a routine will make training easier and much more effective.
One element of training that can be drastically helped by giving your pup a routine is house-training. Dogs are incredibly intelligent and it won’t take them long to catch onto the fact that you let them out to do their business at the same reliable times throughout the day. This means that, very quickly, they’ll realise that there’s no need to make a mess in the house, as they’ll always know when their next opportunity to go outside is coming.
It Can Help You Both Get Onto The Same Schedule
Owning and raising a dog is obviously a very hands-on experience, and taking care of your dog throughout the day takes time away from the other things you’re doing – and let’s not forget that humans need routine, too!
By establishing set times for walks, playtime, dinner, etc., you’ll be able to better plan your own day, and your dog will naturally learn to be in sync with you. If you get up at the same time every day, you’re less likely to be woken up by your pup at the break of dawn whilst you’re trying to sleep. If you play with and walk your dog at the same time each day, they’ll be less likely to disturb you whilst you’re trying to get work done later on in the day and will be more likely to play by themselves or take a nap.
Establishing a routine for your dog will allow you to better develop your own routine, too, and will make things much easier for the both of you on the day-to-day.
Where Do I Start?
To begin to build a consistent daily routine for your dog, you should first look at the routine you tend to follow yourself.
For example, what time do you get up each day? It can be helpful if you get up at the same time every morning, though we understand that not everybody does this. However, having a consistent wake-up time in the morning is something which your dog will quickly catch onto, meaning they’ll be less restless whilst you’re trying to get that last bit of extra sleep in before your alarm goes off!
After that, it’s good to get into the habit of feeding your dog first thing in the morning. Your dog will likely be a little more rambunctious and somewhat less obedient if they’re waiting to be fed, so try to do that as soon as you can.
Look at the other times you can set aside during the day. Is it possible to establish a consistent dog walking time? Walking your dog at the same time each day will stop them from pining at the front door or pawing at their collar and lead.
Try to also find other regular blocks of time during the day to play with your dog – even if you can just set aside fifteen minutes every so often for a game of fetch. They’ll quickly get used to this and will be less likely to feel ignored during the times where you’re tied up doing other things, as they’ll learn that your attention will be back on them soon.
Same goes for toilet times – if your dog tends to need to go out every few hours, make it the same times each day. As previously mentioned, knowing when their next opportunity to do their business outside is coming will mean that they are less likely to do it in the house and leave a mess for you to clean up.
Perhaps the most important part of the routine? Bedtime! Try to get to bed each night at the same time – this isn’t just good for your dog, but we all know how good it can be for us to establish a consistent sleep schedule, too! Hitting the hay at a similar time each evening will allow you both to get a better night’s sleep.
It’ll take some time for your pup to get used to this schedule and all of the different times where certain things are happening, but stick with it! Teething problems are natural, but once you get past them, both you and your beloved pooch will be much better off.