If you’re lucky enough to have a dog in your life, then you’ll probably know just how much they love their routine.
Having a routine in place can be great for your dog. The predictability and structure can ensure your pup leads a less stressful life and can help them to know what to expect day in, day out.
In our article, we’ll explore why routine is so important for dogs, and how to introduce and maintain one.
Why Is Routine So Important?
Most of us will have a daily routine of some kind, but it’s particularly important for our four-legged friends.
The absence of a consistent routine can result in your dog feeling anxious, unsafe, or depressed. Like most domesticated animals, dogs are creatures of habit, and having a structured routine can help give stability and consistency to your pup’s life. When your dog’s basic needs are taken care of (food, shelter and water), they’ll be less stressed and will feel safer and more confident in their environment.
As well as having a happier, more contented dog, a good routine can also have a great impact on your dog’s behavior and can help them learn to better adapt to change.
Introducing a Daily Routine
Having a daily routine is a great way to maintain structure in your dog’s life. This may include waking up around the same time each morning, and having a regular bedtime routine, too. In between morning and night, going for a walk around the same time each day and having a regular feeding schedule can also help your dog maintain consistency and know what to expect in its day-to-day life.
While daily routines are important for dogs, it’s also important to introduce some variety. Too strict a schedule can leave your pup feeling reliant on these times and events, which can lead to anxiety should something change or disrupt the routine. A good way to introduce some flexibility into your dog’s daily routine is by including an extra walk or playtime session, or by giving them a healthy treat to enjoy outside of their regular expected mealtimes.
A regular feeding schedule can also help your dog to maintain a healthy weight. Without regular mealtimes, it can be easy to lose track of how much your dog is eating, and those extra portions can soon add up!
Having a regular dinner time and a set amount of food each day can help your pup lead a happy, healthy life. It’ll also help your dog know when to expect its food, meaning they’ll be less likely to beg for food or treats throughout the day.
A consistent routine is particularly important for puppies. The early adjustment period after you bring your new puppy home is a great time to introduce the idea of a schedule, with consistent times for when they eat breakfast and dinner, go to the bathroom, play and sleep.
As your puppy grows older, it’s a good idea to introduce mixing up your dog’s routine, for example, varying their breakfast time by an hour or two, or beginning to leave them home alone for slightly longer periods at a time. This will help your puppy learn to better adapt to change and not to panic if, for example, you’re home from work slightly later than usual one evening. It can also help to prevent separation anxiety later in life.
Going On Vacation
But what about when you go on vacation? Of course, you’ll want to cause as little stress for your pets as possible, but leaving them at a kennel or boarding facility – or even having them stay with a friend or family member – will inevitably disrupt their routine, and can be very stressful for pets.
That’s where in-home dog sitters, like those on TrustedHousesitters.com, can help. These sitters stay in your home while you’re away, effectively stepping into your shoes to provide care and company to your pets. So not only does your dog get to stay in their own home – where they feel safest – but your pet sitter will also maintain your dog’s routine and send you daily updates on how they’re doing. Just be sure to let your sitter know everything about your dog’s current routine – such as their regular walkies time and mealtimes. That way, both you and your dog can relax.
Having a regular, consistent routine is great for dogs, and can help them lead a less stressful, happier life. Routine is particularly important for puppies, and mixing up their routine is a great way to gently introduce the idea of a structured – but not strict – schedule, which can have a huge impact on your dog’s behavior.
The next time you head off on vacation, you can help your dog stay safe and happy at home with the help of a pet sitter. Visit TrustedHousesitters.com to find verified and reviewed pet sitters to provide your dog with loving care, time and companionship while you’re away.