The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Liz R. Kover
Animal Assisted Activities Director Marleys Mutts Dog Rescue 

Why it's important to keep your dog guessing

It's a Dog's Life


Dogs thrive when their lives include a balance of predictability and spontaneity. I believe the same is true for us humans, which is reason #4,325 why we and dogs make great life partners. If your dog is anything like mine, he might wake you up at precisely 6 a.m., ready for breakfast. At 3 p.m., he might stand up abruptly out of a dead sleep, and gaze longingly at the closet door behind which hangs his leash, and your walking shoes. Each day when you grab your favorite mug, and the rich aroma of dark roast fills the air, your dog might wander over to his favorite spot in the sun to relax while you drink your morning coffee. Any of this sound familiar?

This all makes sense, considering how similar dogs are to children, in that structure and consistency help them to understand the way things work, what to do, how to do it, and when. So - as with everything - predictability is a good a point.

When a dog's (or anyone's) life is too predictable, it can lead to some undesirable behaviors in a dog, and consequently, some heartache and/or headaches for that dog's people.

Without adventure and newness, your dog won't find challenge in life. And without challenge, opportunities for growth and potential-fulfillment are scarce. Without shake-ups in your dog's repertoire of sights, sounds, smells, and environments, he may find it scary, even downright anxiety-producing, to leave the comfort bubble of his home, yard, and family. If your relationship with your dog consists of nothing but (A) being glued together, or (B) being totally separated when you go to work or leave to run errands, your dog is likely to develop separation anxiety; his response to the sound of your jangling keys (a.k.a. following you around whining and going bananas), becomes just as predictable as the rest of your daily routine.

So, in a nutshell, shake things up and keep things exciting in your dog's life. In addition to providing him the structure he needs to feel safe, keep him physically, cognitively, and emotionally fit by providing productive challenge, fun, activity, work, and diversity in his day to day doggie life!


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