The Myth of the Routine in Dogs

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Enjoying the water? Not the routine!

When most people research dogs, they read that dogs love routine. While this is certainly true, it doesn’t mean you have to become a slave to your dog. You need to make your dog’s love for routine work for you, like any good employer!

Dogs live to work. Whether it’s guarding your home, playing with your kids or making you laugh.

I’m an entrepreneur so I have a very variable work week. I could be up until 7am or up until 10pm. I don’t have a typical schedule at all compared to someone who works a consistent 9 to 5. I also have two large dogs and three cats (well currently nine). I used to worry about my pets adjusting to my ever changing schedule, but I soon realized that if I could adjust, then they could too. And it’s a lot less painful that you may think.

What people don’t realize that is that your dog loves any routine you can offer them, and everyone has a routine.

Even the most erratic schedule can become the “routine” for a dog. A dog does not need a routine schedule in the formal sense at all, and I even think it can be beneficial to avoid a set schedule with certain activities like feeding. If you feed your dog every day at the same time, you know what happens. Your dog knows exactly what time it is, they begin to salivate and remind you that mealtime is approaching… I find this annoying. I never really deal with this anymore after implementing my “chaos” training but I know what it’s like. Dogs can become very demanding in situations like these because they know they will be fed no matter what. Because it’s the schedule.

Try feeding your dog on a wholly erratic basis. Some days you should not feed your dog at all. This has the added benefit of not having your dog freak out and have a heart attack if they have to miss a meal for some reason. I often feed my large wolf mix a whole chicken carcass, feathers and everything. I will then usually not feed him the next day. As long as you monitor your dog’s weight closely, you should really only feed when your instincts and your dog tell you the dog looks thin and the dog seems hungry. Dogs and cats (like humans) do not benefit at all from being overfed.

So relax about worrying your new dog will not fit into your routine. It’s possible they truly may not, but if you do your due diligence as a responsible pet owner, it’s more likely your furry friend will adapt to your schedule like a furry chameleon.

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