Being spontaneous can be really fun —a last-minute cook-out, a weekend getaway or even just going out after work. The problem? Your dog has no idea what’s going on.
Routines are how pets understand the world.
They tell them what’s supposed to happen next and how to respond if they want to participate. Without structure, dogs feel a bit freaked out. They’re sensitive to everything going on around them. It’s not just that dogs are wary of new people and new places. They also pick up on mood changes, especially yours.
If you’re overly excited at an event or experiencing anxiety on a trip, your dog will notice it in your posture, energy and tone of voice.
Basically, it signals them that not only are they in a different situation than usual, but that you’re different too. And since you’re the center of their universe, this immediately puts them on edge. Pets aren’t just sidekicks, they’re animals with minds of their own. And if you pay attention, you’ll see the signs.
WHAT DOES A STRESSED DOG DO?
Tremble and cower
Refuse treats or meals
Experience diarrhea or vomiting
Lick or yawn excessively
WHAT DOES A HAPPY DOG DO?
Sniff or lick people
Nudge people and makes body contact
To reduce stress, keep the four most important pet routines constant.
New situations are part of life, and your dog wants to be along for the ride. That said, if you can manage to keep certain parts of their usual schedule in place, they’ll be much happier and calmer.