Routine is a funny thing. For some dogs, second hand, nervous type, worriers or fearful dogs, routine can be a great thing. It often gives them a sense of security in a big scary world. For other dogs routine can become a problem quickly. I want to talk about routine and dogs because it’s a thing for a dog like Riggs. He’s smart, scary, crazy smart. He gets over stimulated quickly and can take some time to calm and settle. So…..
This morning as I put my socks on; something I typically do each morning, whether I’m going to the gym or going to walk a dog. Elsa sat quietly watching to see what the socks meant. Was I going to the gym or was she going for a walk? Riggs was starting to puff (open mouth panting) in excitement. To him socks means a walk; he has not noticed that socks also means that Mom is going to the gym. He has only focused on the “walk” result of putting on my socks. Along with his panting, he is nibbling my toes. Yes it’s cute but part of his whole ramping up to over excitement. Then he starts to run out of the bedroom and back again. He’s trying to get me to get a move on.
Riggs is one of those dogs that doesn’t miss a thing. I mean he really doesn’t miss a thing; like sniffing the little trucks that are on my Grandsons pajamas noticing things. Crazy. He also learns routine very, very quickly which can be great and it can be bad. He most definitely keeps me on my toes. I am constantly trying to foil the little bugger. So I’m on the switch it up routine currently.
Just yesterday I decided to take him out for his walk first instead of Elsa. Elsa doesn’t mind waiting so we headed out nice and early and made our way to the field. Now Riggs has only been to this field twice and we don’t get there until a long walk before hand. That and I have approached the field from a different direction the two other times. So we get about half way there and he starts to pull, I mean really pull. So we start working on loose leash walking which means it takes us a long time to get to the field. Before we were anywhere near the field he knew where we were going; to the open field where he gets to play chuck it.
It was very clear to me what was going on but I was still shocked that he knew. So, when we got to the field and he began to spin with excitement we left the field. We immediately head up the hill, leaving the fun field behind. That field definitely wields far too much power for now in this puppy’s life. So we will use the field in different ways that are not much fun until he can control himself a little more.
As far as the caster of stone routine boy? It is a great thing in many ways. Day three of feeding Elsa and Riggs together, he clearly understood that he did not eat from the bowl that was placed first on the floor, he always waits for the second. When he was still in his crate he would run up at night and charge in the crate, sit nicely and wait for his treat. He goes under the table when we eat (a shaped behavior). He knows that he must wait for me to grab hold of his harness before the garage door is opened. He must sit and wait until told otherwise when the back hatch is lifted on our SUVs. So getting the routine of things is good in many ways. But in other ways it must be constantly changing until he matures a bit (which may be a long while).
For those dogs who are fearful, nervous or just plain worriers, routine can be a great thing. Routine is a problem when a dog won’t listen to you and just goes with the routine. It is a problem when it starts to run your life. Feed your dog at 8 am and 5 pm everyday and your dog goes crazy if you don’t? A problem, time to switch it up.
Although I do love some routine; most of my routine are safety measures that will not change. I’m all about safety, ask anyone who knows me. But for everything else, routine is okay but when it starts to be cast in stone, time to get a new stone and change it up. Change is good for everyone, some more than others.