3 Reasons To Throw Your Routine Out The Window

From breakfast at 8am to bedtime at 10pm, as humans, we thrive on routine.

And there’s good reasons for it…

A routine is predictable, which can be comforting. Routine can help manage the chaos of a busy life, making us feel organised and more productive. And, on a practical level, having a routine is a useful way to plan our time so that we can fit everything in (that’s certainly the case for us here at Tug-E-Nuff HQ). 

However, because we enjoy routine, we can sometimes inadvertently impose a routine on to our dogs.

It’s done with the best of intentions, of course, but there’s a growing school of thought that routine isn’t always a good idea when it comes to dogs.

Here are three reasons to throw your routine out the window…

1. Your dog will be happier

We all love our dogs and, more than anything else, want them to be happy. Playing with interactive training toys is certainly one way to make them happy. And according to some in the field, ditching routine could help with their happiness too.

The dog training experts over at absolute absoluteDogs agree that dogs who have less predictable schedules are much happier in their everyday life. That’s because dogs who aren’t fixed on a strict routine are more flexible. They adapt better to different situations, meaning they spend less time feeling anxious and stressed out, and more time feeling content.

2. You’ll increase your opportunities to reward and reinforce desired behaviour

As part of ditching your routine, the Absolute Dogs team recommend getting rid of structured meal times – and even your dog’s food bowl.

Instead, they suggest feeding in an interactive way by scatter feeding and using toys (like The Clam or our Food Bags), and using food as a reward used as part of positive reinforcement training.

By ditching the routine of ‘mealtimes’, you gift yourself more opportunities to reward and reinforce desired behaviour with food. Everyone’s a winner!

3. You’ll boost your bond

When it comes to training a dog, bond is everything. And what’s the best way to improve your bond? By spending quality time playing with your dog.

However, to keep your dog on their toes, it’s important not to have scheduled play time which feels forced in any way.

According to absoluteDogs, dogs can sense a ‘faker’ a mile off so it’s important to be genuine in your play and to remove all pressure and expectation from play time.

YOUR SECRET WEAPON: Want some extra help to succeed? We’ve put together a FREE complete guide on boosting your bond, plus we’ve selected a range of toys that are perfect for helping you along the way. Get them HERE.

What do you think? Would your dog benefit from a life with less routine? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Sue hutchinson - July 4, 2018

Tried an experiment last week! As it has been so hot I slept outside for four nights. Completely out of Izzy’s routine! Yes I am lucky – I have a big garden and escape free ( oh yes she’s an escape artist as well) haha. I have to consider neighbours who have young children so when neighbours to the left of me arrived home very late on the first night – Izzy barked. Second night – she found a hedgehog- she barked- in fact I think the whole road heard her! Third night – my neighbours brought her back to mine as Izzy was sitting by the gate whining and looking at them then the house ( oops)- they thought I was ill/ injured. To date sleeping out outside has stopped! I think routine is important but am open to new ideas.

Danny - Tug-E-Nuff - July 3, 2018

Hi Sue, as with everything it’s not a one size fits all approach and we totally understand this isn’t going to work for all dogs.

I would take an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude and as you say routine works well for your rescue dog, but equally routine can cause behavioural problems in some dogs.

Great to hear your thoughts Sue, we love hearing everyone’s experiences and learning from them 👨‍🎓

Sue Hutchinson - July 3, 2018

I have had a rescue dog for 4 years now. When I brought her home she knew nothing – words like sit, stay, wait, etc was a foreign language to her, plus she suffered anxiety problems, plus to crown it all she had not been socialised with other dogs. So as you can guess I have had my work cut out to help her. YES routine works for us – ok when holidays arrive Izzy ( my dog) has happily fitted in. Now, nearly 5 she is one happy bunny( sorry, happy dog). So I think routine is good for dogs – yes be flexible in some case’s and they adapt well. Hope this is of help.

Danny - Tug-E-Nuff - July 2, 2018

Great question Sylvia. Raw feeding can have its challenges when removing set dinner times but you can use things like stuffed Kongs, using refillable squeeze tubes are also ideal :)

Click here to get absoluteDogs ebook on ditching the bowl – https://game.absolute-dogs.com/mc-ditch-the-bowl

SYlvia - July 2, 2018

You say take the food bowl away and throw food on the floor what do you recommend I do for my two raw fed labs ?

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