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The Importance of Structure & Routine by Ginger Martel from Keep it Real Dog Training

The Importance of Structure & Routine by Ginger Martel from Keep it Real Dog Training

The Importance of Structure & Routine by Ginger Martel from Keep it Real Dog Training

Dogs, and many people, myself included, do better in life when there is a predictable routine. Social Distancing and being at home over the recent weeks has led people to feel a myriad of feelings and has really turned the day to day life of many of us completely upside down, without your noticing, this change may have been equally as disruptive to your dog.

Moving from a day that was spent predominately alone and quietly resting, to having their humans around 24/7 for weeks on end is a HUGE change, and though they love being with us, and us with them, round the clock contact, can be quite overwhelming.

Many of the training inquiries I receive come from owners who spend most of their time with their dogs, full-time work from home folks, retirees and stay at home moms. Many dogs that live their lives without structure and routine struggle behaviorally, now think of the double whammy of a dog that was settled into the family routine to life suddenly becoming unpredictable, that unpredictability can be quite unsettling to your dog and not recognizing the potential effect this disruption can have, could lead to your dog acting out and general bad behavior, including clinginess and separation anxiety.

Where possible try and stick to an established routine

  • Maintain established mealtimes
  • Be sure to schedule downtime for your dog, if he or she is accustom to being in a crate during the day, ensure that there is adequate crate time, even if you are at home.
  • Make sure your dog is receiving the required exercise and the right kind of stimulation.

Now is also a great time to establish new healthy patterns where they did not exist before, for example:

  • Work on crate training - feeling comfortable in a crate is beneficial for EVERY dog, even it's only for the purpose of making that overnight stay at the vet a little less scary.
  • With social distancing rules in place, you are slightly ahead of the game when working on leash skills because people are already maintaining a minimum distance and it removes the “can I pet your dog?” question from the equation.
  • Does your dog take issue with the UPS truck an/or the mail person? While home you have the opportunity to consistently address these issues as they are occurring.

And if you are just looking to have some fun and pass the time Enrichment and Confidence games are the way to go! Your dog will be mentally challenged which is just as important as being physically challenged, and you just might be surprised how much fun you both will have

In our house, we have been working on Leia's excitement level when one of us comes in the front door, and I have been doing lots of heelwork with Tripp.

Whether it’s taking existing skills to the next level, or working on the foundations, make the most of the time that we all currently have together and continue to move yourself and your dog forward, channel those feelings of uncertainty into the power of good vs allowing them to fester and result in a behavioral backslide for you and your dog, which will last far longer than quarantine will.

We are here to offer ideas or suggestions should they be needed.

This article and advice was written for you by Ginger Martel of Keep it Real Dog Training.

You can contact Ginger through her Facebook page  or Instagram


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