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Episode 8 of 12

How to give your dog routines and structure

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In this lesson, Dr. Jamie provides some recommendations about getting your dog into good routines.

By nature, dogs are very adaptable, but establishing routines can help provide a strong foundation for learning and building confidence. Like most animals, your dog feels secure knowing what to expect from his or her environment. Therefore, having reliable routines is crucial when settling in a new puppy or a recently adopted dog.

These routines will also allow your dog to better understand and learn desired household behaviors and boundaries early on.

Routine recommendations for dogs

Firstly, it’s important to note that you don’t need to become rigid and devoted to a set routine for your dog — having some slack and flexibility is often helpful (and less stressful)! But as a general guideline: dogs are similar to humans, and they like patterns. So it’s up to you to figure out which patterns in your dog’s day can also fit around your schedule. But below are a few recommendations:

  1. A morning walk outside — this is great for you to get some vitamin D on your skin, but also allows your dog to ‘relieve’ itself and burn off any excess energy. Making their behavior better for the rest of the day
  2. Set feeding times — try to feed your dog at roughly the same times every day. It can be stressful for dogs if they’re always unsure when they’ll get their next meal
  3. A longer walk at some point during the day — this is the dog’s main exercise and leads to a host of physical and mental benefits
  4. A wake-up and sleeping times — these will also help you plan your day better

To help your dog adjust, occasionally make small incremental changes to the routines, such as coming home 5-10 minutes later than normal. These small changes will help your dog learn to be more flexible with daily life changes.

And this increased flexibility will help to prevent stress that can lead to separation anxiety or destructive behaviors in the future.