Ditch the Routine!

ditch the routine

Image credit: Devon Dogs

ROUTINE – is it actually healthy for our dogs? … our view is that it isn’t!!!!


OK, so this is slightly controversial as lots of trainers and dog training books talk a lot about the importance of setting a solid routine. Here’s the thing; predicability —another word for routine— grows pessimism, anxiety, stress and over-excitement. We don’t want that in our dogs, right?!

We know that this may go against what you have been told, trust us, we were believers in routine too, until we saw the major pitfalls and how lots of training struggles are actually the result of a routine! From the get go, dogs want to naturally figure out predictors of events in their lives. Whether the prediction is for a positive event or negative event, it is exhausting for your dog to be constantly seeking out prediction.

So, if possible mix things up, don’t have a rigid set routine. Grow more flexibility into your dog’s life and they will find day to day living easier to deal with and they’ll be much happier.

Here are some tips on how to start to Ditch the Routine:

  • Take your dog to different walking locations, don’t always visit the same dog park or beach
  • Mix up it up with your dog’s food; sometimes enjoy a training session using your dog’s food, some times use food puzzles etc. We have talked about ditching the bowl before!
  • Pick up your keys, then put them back and go and sit down
  • Take your dog for a car journey which leads to them coming home again, or take them along when you pick up the kids from school, or run errands
  • Put your walking shoes on, and then hang out in the house
  • Pick up your dog’s leash and then walk around the house with it, then put it away
  • Leaving for/coming home from work at different times – yes you have set work hours, but your dog doesn’t have to know!

Really the possibilities are endless when it comes to ditching the routine! Read more Thursday Blogs HERE.

kelly-murrellAbout the Author: Kelly Murrell helps out with some of the work in the office at Devon Dogs, particularly with marketing and advertising. She used to work in the office at East Bowerland Farm, but recently moved to Vancouver Island, Canada with her husband. She is an avid dog trainer and regularly posts dog training tips for Devon Dogs, Bowerland and Progressive Paws.

Spread the word. Share this post!