Good Monday morning; wow we just finished a very long weekend and now my batteries are charged and ready to start the week. As I saw my husband and son off this morning I headed upstairs to write; while watching my Jack Russell tear up the steps and wipe out around the corner. Honestly she is like a torpedo when she's on a mission and in the morning her mission is the morning cookie; the routine morning cookie.
I like to give my dogs a cookie in the morning, this way I have more time flexibility with breakfast. Once they have a cookie in their stomach they are good for a while and they seem to enjoy their extra long snooze afterwards. What has become an issue which typically does with my little Jessie is too much of a routine. She becomes out of control until she gets her cookie. So it is now time to mix it up again.
When I see a routine becoming too ingrained in my dogs I switch things around. I like routine myself but only a bit, I do not like days to go by carbon copies of each other. And with dogs; too much routine can be a bad thing. A behavior can become too much of a cue to a proceeding behavior. Say like putting on a specific pair of shoes, the ones you only put on when you walk your dog or dogs. Or everytime you go in the cupboard above the microwave; this is the cue that tips your dog off that they are receiving a cookie.
Although i'm not big on routine, I do like structure. And by structure I mean rules; daily rules that the dogs must follow. Rules which are put in place to obtain easily living. And when and if they do not follow these rules, things can get out of hand. Like the "door bolting" rule, the "out of the kitchen"rule, or "no snatching" food rule. These are rules that must be in place; rules and routine are entirely different.
It is always good to keep your dog on their toes as far as scheduling goes. Changing the time they eat, where they eat, what they eat. Changing the meaning of a leash; just because you pick up the leash does not mean they are going for a walk. You can and should alter walks; the same ole walks day in and day out usually leave dogs doing the leading. Adding new behavior cues here and there when your dog does not expect it like asking them to "down" for no reason. Or having them learn a new boundary that is completely flexible; meaning if you want them out of a room you just have to say so.
Switching around your daily routine is good for dogs, it keeps you in control and your dogs ever watchful. Afterall you are the boss and the phrase "because I said so" also includes out dogs.