I’ve seen this debated a lot, and before you read on, I can’t give you a definite answer. What works for one dog and their owners, might not work or be suitable for others.
We had one dog trainer tell us that routines are good, and another told us its good to keep the dogs guessing.
I am just going to talk from my own personal experience when it comes to this and what I do. I am not saying its the right way, or the best way, but it works for us.
We have never had any set routine for when we take luna out for a walk or to the field.
Some mornings I am up early and I will take her before I start work (I work at home). Other times, I will wait until lunch and take her for a longer walk. She seems quite happy to snooze in the morning while I work.
At the weekend, I like to walk somewhere new or longer. Maybe a country park, or a trip to a lake or a forest.
Sometimes on the Sunday we all have a lazy day, get on the sofa and watch a film. Luna doesn’t seem to mind about now going out one day a week. There will be some that say take your dog out each day, but you have to do what works for you and your dog. On the day we don’t go out, she still gets attention such as playing with the ball in the back garden.
Leaving The House
The trainer we had said you should never have a set routine for when you leave the house. However, before realising it, I had already gotten Luna into a routine for when we leave.
It’s worked well, she knows when we are leaving and has never barked the house down. We have good neighbours who said they have never heard her bark when left. I feel that if I just randomly went out now, without doing the small routine it would seem weird to Luna and *possibly* make her play up. My wife doesn’t like the fact we have a routine.
So when we leave, we put Luna into the lounge area and close the doors. As soon as we do this and have our shoes on, she knows we are leaving and is sulking. I then point to the sofa and say “go on mate, up there”. She jumps on and curls up with a sad look on her face. She then gets given a chew stick, and we leave the house.
Sometimes we have come back in, she hasn’t heard us and shes flat out on her back fast asleep! I’m quite happy to know that she settles when we are out.
This is one I’ve struggled with the most, and its the one I hear others on Facebook groups struggling with.
“My dog barks when I go to sleep”
“My dogs barking at 3 am waking us up and the neighbours are complaining”
I see this, time and time again.
When we first got Luna, she slept downstairs on the sofa without any issues. We had a bit of a routine, out for a last wee, TV on low and she knew when it was time to settle down.
This all went well, since it was usually me who was up late and I was the one doing the routine.
However, when I went on holiday with my mates, it was up to my wife to do the routine.
It didn’t go well. Luna barked all night and my wife text me in the morning complaining about how tired she was.
She then caved, and let Luna up on the bed for the other nights. I can’t blame her. Hearing a dog bark all night is hard work, not only for you, but for your neighbours.
I returned from holiday, did the routine and Luna was quite happy with being back downstairs.
A few weeks later, Luna just started barking every night and wouldn’t stop. Being a first time dog owner I wasn’t sure how to solve it. Ignoring it didn’t work, going down and getting her to stop didn’t work.
We gave in. We wanted a good nights sleep.
Luna now sleeps in our room.
Do we get all get a good nights sleep? Yes!
Is it ideal? No
Would we be able to get Luna back into the routine of sleeping back downstairs again? I’m not sure we could.
Do you have any tips on whether you should have a routine for your dog? If so, let us know in the comments below.