Having a routine with your dog can be a strangely controversial subject.
On the one hand routine can provide a structure and stability to an anxious dog, knowing what will come through the day gives them an ability to relax.
Whereas some argue a routine can create a dog who is obsessive and cant cope with any changes that may pop up. Creating a dog manic for the next activity.
I recently switched things around here. When I was providing dog walking I had a good vague daily routine. I say vague as time scales may have varied a bit up to an hour depending on dogs I had to walk, but the general daily pattern was the same. I thought Arthur was struggling to cope and getting stressed over this so when I stopped dog walking, I stopped our routine.
The past few weeks though I have picked up a routine again, and Arthur’s ability to relax seems to have improved. I thought a routine was making him more anxious, but I got that very wrong, he much prefers having an idea on how his day is going to go!
Its never straight forward though, when Marley was younger a routine simply made him obsessive and manic. He never settled and couldn’t wait for the next activity. I had to be unpredictable or life would be a challenge! If anything ventured from that routine he’d get stressed and begin showing all manner of manic behaviours.
Working through Marley’s issues over the years though, he’s settled much more more. Rewarding relaxation meant when we crept into a routine, it didn’t concern him.
Like with everything, it all comes down to the individual dog at the end of the day. Some might struggle and some might thrive with a routine. Is your dog a fan of knowing what they’re doing each day? Or would they prefer to never know what order things might be done in? 🙂