Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. It makes them feel safe and secure to have things in life they can count on and rules they can follow without confusion. With that said, however, dogs also thrive on new adventures to alleviate boredom and challenge or stimulate their minds. This might sound contradictory but it's really just about balance.

The basic rules, patterns and guidelines of life should always be consistent but that doesn't mean life has to be the same-old-same-old day after day. Your dog wants some structure to count on but doesn't want to live like Bill Murray in the movie Ground Hog's Day.

Let me show you what I mean…

  1. Example 1- Consistency: Let's say the kitchen is agreed by the whole family to be off limits. It needs to be off limits all day, every day, no matter who is home, whether or not you have company, during holiday season….whatever. If the kitchen is off limits,  it's off limits, period. That is very black and white, consistent and easy enough for any dog to get.
  2. Example 2 – Variety: Daily walks should also be part of any dogs routine and should be done consistently, everyday. But, it doesn't have to be the SAME walk everyday. Walk a different route or at a different time of day. Alternate which family member walks the dog. Jog, bike or rollerblade on some days. Mix in a visit to the park for some fetch or obedience training. Hike in the hills or walk downtown. Sometimes do a strict Heeling walk and others do a free-to-sniff walk.

Get creative and you will find a good balance of consistency without boredom.

-Chad Culp, Certified Dog Trainer and Canine Behavior Consultant

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