I thought dogs liked routines? "Calming Signals" book has me confused! - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 08-31-2012, 09:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I thought dogs liked routines? "Calming Signals" book has me confused!

I've seen Turid Rugaas' On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals mentioned several times on these forums, so I got a copy. Now something is really bugging me and I'd love for one of you to be able to help me digest the information:

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"

My brain is telling me that the word "change" should have been something more along the lines of "stabilize" when the book was translated from the original. But she's written several other books, so maybe she explains it in more detail in another one?

Please help me understand this, it really is annoying me, lol.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think that depends on the dog but this is how I am interpreting it...

I have a pretty intense routine here and before each thing that is supposed to happen, everyone gets wound up. If you were to call me at 6:58 pm, my dogs would hate you. Because they eat at 7pm, and they are anticipating that so strongly that their excitement probably is stressy. Same for bedtime potties.

So if I mixed it up they wouldn't have that heightened arousal during those times and it would likely lower the stress they feel about things. That's my guess. They would be more go with the flow, surfer dude dogs, instead of uptight checklisty dogs.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My dogs and I both enjoy our routine and they do get out of sorts when the routine is broken on a normal day

However they seem to realize if we have guests over or aren't home that the normal routine doesn't apply.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I read the book a while ago, I do follow a lot of her methods and like her theories. But just like everything else you learn from what you read and try to fit it into your own lifestyle and dog(s). For the most part you could set your clock by my routine, my dogs are fine with that. Sometimes I have to feed dinner early (never a complaint) sometimes I am running late no complaints. I think a lot of animals get into a routine and if for some reason it's broken it really disrupts balance causing them to act up.
My kitten on the other hand gets frantic when its dinner time and I am doing something else, half the time I just get him his dinner so he will settle down.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade View Post
My dogs and I both enjoy our routine and they do get out of sorts when the routine is broken on a normal day

However they seem to realize if we have guests over or aren't home that the normal routine doesn't apply.
Oops, I meant to say "or WE aren't home"
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for trying to help me understand - don't ask me why I have to be such a nit-picky weirdo, but it really irritates me when I can't completely grasp the concept of something.

My puppy does get demanding when the routine is messed with, so I can see how this connects to stress. That's why I thought the wording was off: as in, keep the routine the same or the dog will get stressed. Instead of: change the routine so the dogs doesn't get too familiar with it which will lead to stress. Am I making sense, lol?
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanketback View Post

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.
I read that as, "If something in the environment or in the routine is stressing your dog, then if you can change it, do so." For example, cover windows if your dog gets overly stressed watching other dogs walk down the street, avoid walking by the house with the really aggressive fence fighter, etc. So, don't change the routine as often as you can change it, but if it is possible to change whatever it is that stresses your dog, then change it.

I might be totally off, but that was my interpretation.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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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?
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Gem did the same thing (barking at the mailman). I curbed this behavior by bringing her out "on leash" around the same time the mailman would come. Once he showed up we would walk with him up the driveway to my mailbox and then back down to his truck. The first week I told the mailman not to acknowledge Gem as she was very excited. The second week after we walked up and down the driveway I allowed the mailman to acknowledge her if she was calm. The third week we would just train in the front yard and ignore the mailman as he went about his business. The fourth week I stood behind my gate or inside my house with Gem still leashed up and finally the last week off leash inside or outside in the backyard. No barking. Nothing. Yes it did take nearly 1.5 months but its worth it and I'm sure my mailman appreciates it as well. She still occasionally barks but once she realizes its the mailman she is cool with it.

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.

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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?
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanKBBMMMAAN View Post
I think that depends on the dog but this is how I am interpreting it...

I have a pretty intense routine here and before each thing that is supposed to happen, everyone gets wound up. If you were to call me at 6:58 pm, my dogs would hate you. Because they eat at 7pm, and they are anticipating that so strongly that their excitement probably is stressy. Same for bedtime potties.

So if I mixed it up they wouldn't have that heightened arousal during those times and it would likely lower the stress they feel about things. That's my guess. They would be more go with the flow, surfer dude dogs, instead of uptight checklisty dogs.
Yep, mine are the same way. Mine never know when they get fed until I say "Are you hungry?" and that's when they get all wound and fired up."
That being said, there is good and bad stress. I don't think the stress they feel when they are fed is bad stress. it's more like "Yes, FOOOOOD GIMME GIMME GIMME FOOOOOD, MORE FOOD, PLEAAUZE!" instead of "OMG, OMG, OMG that bridge is going to eat me, I'm going to fall, omg, omg, cars those scary Monsters, LEAVE ME ALONE, LEMME GO HOME AND Hide in the biggest darkest corner available, HELP, SCREEACH, YIKES, JUMP!"
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