Dogs are social creatures. Their instincts are to run with a pack. At your house, that pack is your family. From the moment you bring your new dog home, she is working hard to figure out her place in her new home. By providing your dog with a daily routine and good training, you are providing her with a secure, stable environment-she doesn’t have to guess at what she should do next. She will be a secure, confident dog that will be more tolerant of stressful situations.

Routine also means being consistent, and consistency is essential to establishing you as the leader. Your dog needs to know that, if she is not allowed on the bed, she is never allowed on the bed. Any dog will begin to feel that she’s the top dog if she feels you are slipping in the consistency department.

The basis for teaching your dog is repetition. After a particular behavior or action, such as assuming the “”sit”” position to greet guests, is repeated many times, your puppy will have developed a habit-the guests come through the door and her behind hits the floor. Thus, routine plays a critical role in your dog’s ability to establish habits. The opposite is also true-by not providing an adequate routine you may be establishing unhealthy or bad habits in your dog, and you’ll certainly be confusing her. With a lot of work, you can teach an older dog new behavior, but it will take time and rigid consistency to extinguish her old, bad habits.

Maintaining a routine reaps other benefits, too. Namely, you’ll have fewer messes to clean up. From the day you first begin to train your puppy, you begin a schedule she will follow for many years to come. Her body will adjust to the routine and the natural rhythm of eating, sleeping, exercising and eliminating at set times, and she will stay on track and healthy. Without this, a dog becomes anxious, and she may even get sick. It is a good idea to make yourself available to your new puppy full-time during the first two weeks she is home.

Posted in: Dog FAQs