It’s 7 am. Freezing rain is slapping you awake. Your dog is grouchy and you’re no better.
Just a few months ago everything was working perfectly. Summertime… The sun was out and you barely had to lift a finger and the best puppy in the world (your pooch) would listen. Now he is giving you the middle claw and doing as he pleases.
I have days like this. Every trainer does.
There are some days where it feels like the universe is out to get us. There is a way to keep this from happening to often, if you are willing to put in the time.
The special ingredient is: routine! Don’t make your walks boring by always doing the same thing, but develop a general routine.
Here is mine (I live with 4 dogs):
- Wake up – dogs need to stay calm while I get ready and get their leashes.
- Put on leashes – every dog sits and waits until everyone has a leash on.
- Open door – I go first, dogs follow.
- Time to take the leashes off – every dog sits again (unless it is raining or very cold) and waits patiently for me to take leashes off.
- Every dog waits by my side until I give them the cue that they can go and play.
- Time to go home – I call them, they come and sit and we go back.
So you see, it’s always the same – no matter where we are or what is happening. How does that affect your bad days? You and your dog/s will always know what to do and what’s expected. There will always be tiny surprises (bad weather, other aggressive dogs, etc) but if your routine with your dog is solid, you will be more calm.
We will act differently around our dog on a day we got a job promotion vs. a day when we broke up with our partner. This is why having a routine that will always remain the same is so important.
I can be half asleep (heck, I usually am) and still walk all of my dogs with on problems. I truly believe that my routine plays a huge partin that.
I am doing the same thing every dog owner does – putting on a leash, walking, taking off the leash – but what I expect my dogs to do before and after is what makes it a routine.
They know they have to wait for my „okay“ before they can go play.
They know they always have to come directly to me and sit when I take the leash off and put it on.
They know the routine in the morning is a calm one, no matter how badly they have to pee-pee.