I thought dogs liked routines? "Calming Signals" book has me confused! - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 10:55 AM
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I don't think she meant dogs shouldn't have routines. It was a summary at the end of the chapter about why dogs get stressed, how it affects them mentally and physically, how to spot it and how to lower it, sometimes by changing the dogs routine, environment etc., when it's a problem.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 11:10 AM
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On page 57, under the heading "What we can do about stress in our dogs?" the first bullet says: "Change environment and routines whenever possible"
As others said, point of breaking routines is that if they come to expect things they get stressed if it doesn't happen, or doesn't happen in the way they thought.

For instance, separation anxiety is dealt with by changing routines. If you pick up your keys, get your coat, then shoes and then leave, they say pick up your keys, then step outside, then put them down and get your shoes, walk around a while then get your coat and keys, etc.

Change it up.

I can see how that'd address quite a few anxieties actually.
When foster dogs come here, they have to learn new routines and often want to "cling" to the foster mom as a lifeline. We try to break that in all instances, until the dog has settled in, and learned our household.

We have a routine of feeding that causes a great deal of stress in our dogs but we've tried to change it, and due to the amt. of dogs/fosters we feed 2x a day, it's difficult to keep that changing.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 01:42 PM
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BTW if you can get your hands on Temple Grandin's books, she goes into this at length...excellent reads I'd recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about animal behavior in general and dog behavior specifically.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:59 PM
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Without having read the book in question, I also would say that some variety is necessary for many dogs. If all you do is follow the exact same routine every day, including the same play and the exact same walk, a clever dog may wind up getting bored and stressed. That's obviously really dependent on temperament, of course. I'm just thinking of one of my dogs who, when we were living in the city, went a bit nuts until I started changing up our walking route and adding new activities into our routine. He had been getting plenty of exercise, but was still bored.

I think changing things up in terms of exercise and activities can also help stressed dogs by giving them something new to think about. I'm a big fan of mentally engaging fearful or stressed dogs.

Not sure if that makes sense at all in that context, but everyone has already covered my other thoughts.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 11:05 PM
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I saw an episode of the dog whisper he spoke of changing up the walks so them wouldn't get bored. He put it something like "tree here, curb there, same bird poop there!" change up the scenery thing!
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 11:32 PM
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I kind of agree with what others have said. Keep the routine, but change it up. For example, when I walk the dog, sometimes I'll go the opposite direction that we normally go. We're still going for a walk, but its slightly different. And on that vein, the walks aren't always the same exact time. Sometimes I'll take her out right when I get home, sometimes I wait a few mins and take care of a couple little things first. We're still going for a walk after work, but there's always slight variation.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 04:47 AM
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I don't do routine for myself or my dogs, never have. I'm a housewife so what I do every day changes though I can understand some people having a routine, I used to sort of have one when I was able to work.

But for example my GSD pup gets fed three times a day but he has never been fed at the same times during the day. I'm not saying my way is better but he never begs for his meals. Same goes for walks, sometimes he gets walked at 6 and sometimes at 9 or sometimes he doesn't get walked but goes out on a socialization trip(he's 4 months) which usually wipes him out, lol.

But he never expects anything to happen at a certain time, he never gets anxious and that applies to all my dogs(I have four). I don't think it's impacted any of them negatively, in fact it's helped my golden quite a bit with his separation anxiety! We used to follow more of a routine with him when he was a puppy and then he came to expect that things were going to happen and would whine and pace and bug us if it didn't happen right then. Now he's much more relaxed and he doesn't do that anymore.

I'm not saying routine is bad but I think it's a good idea to break it up as well because what if something happens like a family emergency or a move or whatever and that routine is broken... The poor pup is going to be pretty stressed.

Just my two cents.

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 05:15 AM
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I'm a stay at home pup momma and we have about zero routine. His morning potty is at about the same time each day because he goes out before hubby leaves for work. He doesn't eat until after I wake up which varies or until we get to our training facility which doubles as a daycare / boarding facility. His training schedule is pretty strict but it's because we have classes everyday after I help clean kennels at the training facility, but he doesn't miss it if mom is sick or the roads are to icy. Dinner is usually 12 hours after breakfast-ish, if I feeds sooner than that he tends to not be hungry. Playtime is mixed it there whenever I want it to be.

I like our lives this way he is never stressed out when something doesn't happen on time. My moms chihuahua is on a strict schedule and is a grouchy bitch when things get off kilter even just a little bit

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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by runnershigh108 View Post
Gem did the same thing (barking at the mailman). If you just want to cover your windows when your at work or not home invest in some good draps or just use a blanket for the time being. This doesn't always work as GSDs have impeccable hearing.
I'm discovering that! We could all be in the back room, and all of a sudden Joey will run to the front window and start barking.

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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheerful1 View Post
What's the best way to cover the windows? Joey goes bananas when the mailman comes, or if he sees a cat or squirrel on the lawn.

Once the windows are covered, will he stop the barking?
We used blinds that can be opened from the top down. Then we can open them enough so that we can see out, but Tehya can't. It has really helped a lot. She was barking at everything, even if it was a cat that was way down the street. She still barks if she hears something, but she doesn't just sit and stare out the window waiting anymore. I'd say it took care of 80% of the problem. We're still working on the other 20%...
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