Dog routine – it is what all breeds love. If you understand that one simple fact about your dog, you have a powerful tool to train your dog. Try to picture yourself as your dog. You essentially live in an alien environment created by another species. You love your humans but they:
- Speak another language.
- Apparently walk on their hind legs
- Display displeasure when you sniff their crotch and engage in many unfathomable behaviors that escapes your comprehension.
Then There’s Your Home
You home is filled with monsters. You’ve heard your humans laugh and sometimes even cry at the strange screen with the flashing pictures and the talking sounds. You’ve seen them put food in a metal box and could smell the delicious odors as the little box hummed and eventually made an irritating beeping noise before your human took the food back out. Often they touch something on the wall and the room becomes filled with light even though it’s dark outside. Then there’s that awful monster with glowing eyes that growls and smells as master pushes it back and forth across the carpet. She always tells you “the vacuum cleaner won’t hurt you”, but you have your doubts.
Living with monsters can be stressful. Routine is one of the prime coping tools that dogs have to relieve the stress and enjoy happy lives. Dogs find peace in routine and ritual. It provides them with reliable guidelines as to how to cope with a world designed for humans.
This little gem of knowledge can help you teach your dog perfect manners.
Common Challenges in the Home
As an example, let’s take the common problem of your dog rushing to the door and jumping on your guests. Why not establish a more polite greeting by employing the power of routine? Here you would find a convenient spot about five feet away from the door. Try to pick a spot with a natural boundary such as a step or a throw rug. Place a strip of painters tape on the spot you desire.
From that day forward and for as long as you occupy that dwelling, when the doorbell rings, say the command, “doorbell” and place your dog on a down stay in the designated spot where you’ve placed the tape. Your dog will now know exactly what to do when the doorbell rings, he has one less strange thing in life to figure out and you have a dog that doesn’t jump, bark and maul your arriving guests. It’s all about routine.
An Investment Worth Making
The only thing required on your part is a small investment. Yes, your dog will break his stay the first several times you try it. But if you are consistent in enforcing the command and reward your dog when he obeys the command, he will eventually do it every time the doorbell rings. The reason I call it an investment is that to think in terms of the number of years your dog will be with you. Would it not be worth two or three weeks of effort to have over a decade worth of polite greetings?
Don’t want the dog to beg from the table? Establish a routine where your dog lies in a certain spot whenever humans sit down to the table. Problem solved. You want your dog to …………..(fill in the blanks), make the desired behavior a routine that is practiced consistently and your dog will do it.
Dogs teach humans so many things, but so do we. Once you understand the power of a dog routine in his/her life, your imagination is your only boundary.