Home > Dog Behavior, Dog Training, Fun Stuff, Pet Ponderings > Doggie Schedules – Do you have one?

Doggie Schedules – Do you have one?

Duncan and JasmineCan a blog post generate another blog post and then another? It appears the answer to that question is yes, because I am about to be the third in the chain. I hope you will be able to follow along.

This weekend I was reading something that Pamela, from Something Wagging This Way Comes, had posted on her Facebook page. It turned out to be a blog post by Jodi Stone of the blog named (funny enough) Jodi Stone. Jodi was responding to Pamela’s post called “Do you have dreams for your dog?”

Pamela’s wonderfully thoughtful blog post asked:

Did you get the dog you wanted? Or did you get the dog you needed?

If you had expectations for your dog, did they work out? Or have you had to shift your attitude and accept that some things would never happen?

What has been the best thing you’ve received from your dog that you weren’t looking for?

(If you get a chance, go read a few of the interesting answers to Pamela’s questions.)

Jodi’s blog post was a response to Pamela’s questions, but what really caught my attention was the alternating activity schedule she has for her dogs. Check it out:

“On Saturday and Sunday we take at least an hour’s hike each day, with lots of running and sniffing.

In the winter on Mondays and Wednesdays they get a twenty-minute around-the-block leash walk, once the time changes and the days are longer, they will get at least a half hour hike.

Tuesdays and Fridays they get a half a day of daycare, and yes it’s true most days they don’t play a lot, but they are awake the entire time and it is a different type of mental stimulation.

Thursday nights are obedience class, which is where Delilah really gets her mental stimulation. Sampson just doesn’t care for it at all and I think I’m going to have Hubby start walking Sampson somewhere else, because I don’t think he should have to do it if he’s not enjoying it.”

What a great idea! Alternating your dog’s schedule probably adds more stimulation to their lives and addresses the monotony that comes with doing the same thing every day. Why didn’t I think of this??? Our schedule usually consists of a little training reinforcement in the mornings and a walk at the dog park in the evenings. But, maybe it’s too predictable? To boring? Maybe I need to switch it up a bit. Hmmm…..

Reading Jodi’s post made me wonder if anyone else was doing something like this with their own dogs. Do you switch up your schedule for your dog? Do you have a daily schedule or routine? And if you do, do you notice a difference in your dog as a result? What do you think of the idea of creating a schedule like Jodi’s to make things a little more fun for your dogs?

  1. March 5, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    Wow! Thanks for the shout-out Mel.

    I had thought of this post a couple weeks back based upon a blog post I read and I put it in the back of my mind. When Pamela posted and I started to respond I just thought….this needs an entire post.

    The dogs of course really love the hiking in the woods, since there are lots of interesting smells up there, and they get to do a lot of running.

    I also love walking in the woods so we both win. 🙂

    This was a great post!

    • Mel
      March 5, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      You are so very welcome Jodi! It’s kind of cool when something we read or see spawns a post that leads others to join in the conversation.
      My dogs love hiking in the woods too. I don’t get to do it as often, but I so enjoy seeing them when they do. I wish I loved closer to the woods so we could do it all of the time. It’s my favorite place to be with my dogs.

      Thanks for inspiring me!

  2. March 5, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    I don’t think not having a schedule would be a good thing at all for my dog. By that I mean, a predictable enough routine that he can guess when I get my gym shoes on in the morning that that’s where I’m going and that I’ll be home in an hour and a half. Or that when my husband leaves in the morning he’ll be back around dinner time. Or that I will wake up every day around 5 and let him out and feed him.

    I think it would be much harder for him to not know what’s going on than to have a good idea of what will happen to him. When we put treats and leashes in a backpack and we all get in the car, he knows he’s going on a fun walk, where as when I just put my shopping bags in the car and wear my nice coat he knows if he gets to go he is staying in the car. All this has helped him calm down–he’s way over the top in excitement levels, so perhaps it depends on the dog.

    • Mel
      March 5, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      You know Kathy, reading your comment made me realize how much Lady loves routine too. I don’t think she could have handled my old schedule as a pet sitter. Daisy did okay with it, but Lady would have hated it. I guess routine benefits all of us in some ways doesn’t it?

  3. March 5, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Great question! My response is going to be similar to Kathy’s above. With our dog’s zaniness and separation problems, having a fairly set schedule and routine brought her a lot of comfort during the first year or so. She knew that in the morning I would get up, have a shower, then let her out of her crate and take her for an hour-long walk. Now that things have settled somewhat, I don’t mind changing things up a little when different activities come up but we do often stick to a pretty set schedule of events. Perhaps it brings me some comfort too.

    Every dog is different, right? Sometimes for our own mental health, though, it is a good idea to keep things fresh. Even if the only thing you change is the direction of the walk or the time you get up in the morning.

    • Mel
      March 5, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Routine can sometimes help dogs who suffer from separation anxiety. I know not all would agree, but Daisy is a dog who seems to do better when she has a routine so she can know when I will be gone and when I will be back. I like the idea of keeping things fresh too, so I try to alter my routine in ways that allows for that. My old schedule as a pet sitter allowed for more of varying schedule. I think Daisy prefers the one I have now in some ways.

  4. March 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Isn’t it fun when blog posts become conversations?

    I also loved reading about Jodi’s routines in one post. I knew she did different things with Samson and Delilah but it was great to see it all spelled out.

    I try to keep our routines pretty regular for Honey as far as coming and going. One of us always comes home to visit her at lunch. And one of us always comes home on time when the other one has to work late.

    Now that I can’t drive her to activities or the dog park, I try to give her as much variety as possible in our outdoor time. I often let her choose the route for our walks. And I try to vary it between city walks (where she’s mostly smelling other dogs that have been there before us) and “wild” walks in the gorges, cemeteries, and creek beds where we can walk safely off leash.

    But I see that Honey misses playing with other dogs so we’re going to have to build some play dates into our schedule.

    • Mel
      March 5, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      Yes it is Pamela! I loved Jodi’s routine a lot. I think I could do that.
      I like that you try to provide variety for honey. I do the same for my three. I think they like checking out the new smells in a new place or direction. I also like trying different parks so they can have that opportunity. (One of these days Honey is going to hop in that cart and beg for you to bike her to the dog park. I just know it!)

  5. March 5, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    We do have a routine in so far as Georgia gets 2 walks a day. The timing is regular too, around 6 in the mornings and evenings, except on weekends when we get up later. Where we go on the walks is something else. We try to mess it up and go to different parks so she meets different dogs. Sometimes it’s a leash walk, more usually it’s off leash and play. She pretty much picks what she wants to do and we go with the flow.

    I know she prefers routine. I suspect most dogs rely on it to set their day. With Georgia, for example, when she gets back from her walk, she’ll harass us for her brekkie or dinner. Every morning, around 5, she’ll ask to get up on the bed for a cuddle. From my observation, when we change the routine for whatever reason, she gets disoriented.

    Personally, I like a more laid back dog and a little less routine. I think of randomness as part of her training – so she doesn’t get fixated or upset when things don’t go a certain way or as she expected.

    • Mel
      March 5, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      Georgia is such a lucky girl. I like switching it up once in a while too – like going to a different park or in a new direction on a leash walk at home.
      I know Daisy and Lady prefer routine. Jasper seems to be okay with a little change. I like your philosophy on randomness!

  6. March 5, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Having 4 dogs of my own, routines have become common place. Walks, baths, feedings, and playtime among other activities all seem to happen around the same time every day. My dogs are most definitely creatures of habit.

    • Mel
      March 5, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      Yikes! Yes. 4 dogs would require a bit of routine. With 3 of my own I can relate!

  7. Jen
    March 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    I have been trying to get a routine down for my dogs forever, our schedules just change all the time it is so hard! I am actually in the process now of trying to get a better one worked out!

  8. March 5, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    We’re kind of all over the place at Casa de Kolchak. The only thing w do on a schedule is Tasty Tuesday. We seem to do whatever strikes our fancy at the time. It’s organized chaos over here!

    • Mel
      March 6, 2012 at 5:57 AM

      I kind of like that too Jodi!

  9. Tammy
    March 6, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    We totally have a schedule. The thing is, I think Lucy knows her schedule and when it has to change for any reason she isnt happy. She gets day care on tues and fri. On Mon and thurs we go to the indoor dog park for an hour or so of ball tossing. Wed nights are just our neighborhood walk and playing at home. Weekends we wing it based on what is on the schedule. She knows when its a daycare day and she gets to come with me in the car. The other days she just sits in my chair and watches me leave. I think its incredible how perceptive she is.

  10. March 6, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I don’t currently have a schedule but I need one! We are going to train (hopefully…pending family obligations) train to hike the second highest mountain in Washington state. That is going to take some consistent training…probably more for me than the dogs 🙂

  11. March 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    desmond pretty much tells us what his schedule is, because he’s such a princess. lol

    during the week, he’s on a pretty set schedule of 5:30 AM walk, then breakfast, an evening walk either while i cook dinner or after we eat dinner (depending on whether or not i have work to do at night), and he eats dinner either before or after his walk.

    some nights we do some training.

    weekends are a free for all and are never the same. maybe we should do something about that.

  12. March 12, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    I love the blog posts that breed other blog posts… so fun to read the ongoing conversation.

    Bella’s a fairly schedule driven dog – especially when it comes to food, as her internal clock is extremely accurate! She’s adaptable, but she has a certain order to things and she usually keeps the whole family on that schedule quite well on her own with minimal direction from me. 🙂

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