Tips for Creating a Happy Day With Your Dog
Structure and schedule are elements that dogs thrive on in their lives, just like humans. Knowing the plan helps dogs be more calm, get the necessary rest they need to behave appropriately, and reduce anxiety related to the unknown. On the other hand, it's also valuable to recognize that dogs learn in patterns. Patterns are established as you create and stick to routines. So, make sure the patterns you are creating lead to positive results!
Structure: When you are consistent in communicating with your dog using clear options, the dog will naturally gravitate to choices that lead to a valuable outcome. Dogs are opportunistic, which means they seek experiences in life that they believe will best serve themselves. Properly communicating a full understanding of behaviors that reap rewards and those that garner less desirable consequences is critical! You can't just tell your dog “No,” and expect them to stop making a specific choice without also teaching them about how a better choice… a “Yes”… is how they can achieve a reward. Keep in mind the reward needs to be something the dog values. Your idea of a reward may not be the same thing that motivates your dog. The dog will always choose what THEY think is most rewarding. Consistency is key, so the dog has the same experience each time. Optimal learning takes place when all humans in the dog's world are on the same page and create the same structure patterns for the dog.
Schedule: The best routine is a non-routine. For example, dogs need to eat every day, but they don’t need to eat at exactly at 8:00 a.m. every morning. Dogs do best with short, simple training sessions each day; but again, sessions don't need to occur at the same time or they don’t have to do the same exercises each time. Sleep is one of the most important pieces to your dog's schedule. Sleep makes everyone happy. Weave a nap into your dog's day in a kennel or pen. Little "cat naps" are not quality sleep. So, if your dog follows you around the house and rests for a couple minutes here and there, that’s not going to cut it. Your dog… and you… will be happier when a deeper, more relaxed sleep occurs. There are essential elements to a dog's life, but mixing up when certain things take place in a day will keep the dog from falling into negative habits associated with the time of day.
If you need assistance establishing structure and a schedule for your dog's interactions with the world, let Full House Dog Training help guide you to a successful, more joy-filled experience!