5 Reasons Dogs Need Routines + How to Establish Dog Routines | Pupford
March 21st, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
Are you a creature of habit? Maybe you eat your meals at the same time every day, exercise at the same time every day, or do certain household chores on the same day of the week.
Routines help us stay on track and keep up with the world around us. But we’re not the only ones who benefit from routine.
Our dogs thrive on routine, too. They are happiest when they don’t have to worry about what comes next and can predict what their day looks like.
Sometimes it’s challenging to establish a routine that works for both us and our dog, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Let’s dive into why it’s so important to set routines for your dogs and how to do so.
5 REASONS YOU NEED A DAILY DOG ROUTINE
It’s important that dog parents understand just how essential routines are for their dog’s well-being. Here are the top 5 reasons why:
1. ROUTINES CAN REDUCE ANXIETY
Dogs like to know that their basic safety and survival needs will be met. When things are vastly different from day to day, it causes them to question if those needs will be met which can result in anxiety.
With a routine, your dog knows what comes next. For example, they know they will be walked and fed in the morning, played with and trained in the afternoon, and fed and walked again in the evening.
Knowing their food, shelter, safety, and other basic needs will be taken care of every day is a great way to reduce the stress and anxiety in your dog’s life.
2. ROUTINES MAKE POTTY TRAINING EASIER AND MORE EFFECTIVE
Establishing a routine is the key to unlocking success. Consistency here will help your dog understand when and where relieving themselves is acceptable.
Also, your dog is much more likely to “hold it” if they know a designated potty time is coming, which prevents accidents.
It’s important to keep this routine after your dog is fully trained as it will help ensure long-term success. It also sets a baseline for what potty behaviors are “normal” for your dog, which helps you identify potential illnesses or issues if your dog deviates drastically from their norm.
3. ROUTINES HELP MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Feeding and exercise routines help keep your dog at a healthy weight. Spreading feeding times and amounts evenly throughout the day can reduce begging and prevent overeating.
Making a part of your daily routine also helps your dog’s physical (and mental!) health. They’ll look forward to their exercise as part of their daily routine and getting to spend time with you while reaping the many benefits.
4. ROUTINES MAKE TRAINING SESSIONS MORE EFFICIENT
Consistency is key when it comes to training of any kind. There are a few key components of a training routine:
- Consistent timing/length of training sessions (whenever possible – something is always better than nothing!)
- Utilizing the same signals and verbal cues
- Using similar “yes” words and markers
Your dog will also be more likely to focus and concentrate on a training session if it’s an expected part of their day, rather than a surprise.
Routine in this area also gives your dog clear expectations for what is allowed and boundaries for what is not.
5. ROUTINES MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER, TOO!
Let’s not forget that a dog routine benefits the humans in your household too!
For example, setting a sleep schedule can not only add predictability to your day, but can also prevent your dog from waking up too early, disturbing you, and causing them to
Similarly, a can ensure your dog is well-rested, that they can spend time independently and calmly, and they are safe from getting into destructive behaviors. This is especially important for a puppy routine! It’s great for their mental and emotional well-being, sure, but it also gives you an opportunity to do things that prevent you from closely supervising your dog at all hours of the day.
HOW TO ESTABLISH A DAILY DOG ROUTINE
So how can you go about establishing a daily routine for your dog? It can take a bit of time and some hard work, but with these few tips in mind, you can set a successful routine that works for you and your dog.
1. START AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
There’s a common misconception that if you missed the “puppy” window, you have missed your opportunity for creating a routine. But that’s just not true – you can absolutely create a new routine for your dog at any time.
The important thing is to start as soon as possible. For example, if you’re looking to set a routine based on a school day’s schedule, you’ll want to start implementing changes months before school starts, rather than the week of. This gets your dog accustomed and confident in their new routine, leaving plenty of time for adjustments.
2. MAKE CHANGES GRADUALLY
Making small, steady changes over the course of days or weeks is much less likely to overwhelm your dog. For example, if you want to transition from walking your dog in the afternoon to the morning, go out for the walk a little bit earlier each day until you’ve reached the desired time.
The more time you give your dog to slowly adjust to the change, the more likely they’ll feel comfortable and take to the changes better.
3. STAY CONSISTENT, BUT FLEXIBLE
The whole point of a routine is to find and maintain consistency, but the reality of life is that things don’t always go according to plan. Stay flexible if the routine needs to change slightly on a certain day – just try to hit all of your elements (feeding, walking, potty, training, etc.) so your dog knows that all their needs will be met even on days that look a little different.
4. GET HELP FROM EXPERTS
Starting a routine from scratch can be overwhelming, leaving you unsure where to start. The has expert-led courses with printable checklists, video content, and additional resources.
There are courses for potty training, crate training, , leaving your dog home alone, and so much more – all the things you need to create a successful routine with your pup.
Although it may seem like a lot of work, especially if you are bringing home a new dog or puppy, establishing a routine is one of the best things you can do for your dog.
Does your dog have their daily routine down? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments!