Dog lovers should put as much stock in their pups’ daily routines as their own. Routines help introduce structure to your pet’s life and let them know what to expect. Plus, they help your dog stay relaxed after regularly burning off some energy—a quick game of fetch could mean the difference between a calm pooch and a house left in shambles!
Morning routines, in particular, are critical for dogs, especially if you work outside of the home. Here’s why a morning ritual is so important for helping dogs start their day off on the right paw.
Why all dogs need structure
A dog’s world is completely flipped upside down the first time they step foot in your home. Puppies, rescue dogs and adult dogs alike need help acclimating to their new environment. This is where routines come in handy. When your dog can predict what will happen next, they will feel safe and let their guard down.
After your pup adjusts to your home, routines remain an important part of their day. Daily routines are necessary for monitoring your dog’s health. Regular exercise, feeding times and bathroom breaks dictate when a dog feels hungry and how their energy levels change throughout the day. Loss of appetite, lethargy and frequent bathroom accidents on the floor are usually warning signs for a number of canine ailments. Owners know their dogs better than anyone else and should consult a veterinarian if anything seems out of the ordinary.
Benefits of morning routines for your furry companion
One of the most important routines you can establish for your pup is their morning ritual. Morning rituals that are executed properly can help your anxious puppy develop a sense of independence. New dogs tend to get scared the first time they’re left alone for a whole day. But once they get into the swing of things, dogs learn their owners always come back to give them food and love. However, remember to establish structure instead of a strict routine. Separation anxiety can develop or become worse in dogs if they expect their humans to be home by 7:00pm sharp.
Additionally, even the most low-energy dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation. Otherwise, they’ll find alternative ways to entertain themselves, like sprinting around the house and chewing up your furniture. Burn off some of that pent-up energy with a regular morning workout and training session. By the time you leave for work, your furry companion will be perfectly content to lounge on the couch until you arrive home.
Pups can also avoid accidents thanks to a morning routing when you let your dog outside before heading to work. A consistent routine is especially important for puppies who are in the process of being house trained. Dogs need potty breaks when they first wake up, before going to bed and right after mealtimes. Owners who sporadically let their dogs out might come home one day to a surprise on the living room carpet! Coordinate your dog’s meals so they’ll need to go outside when you are home.
Steps to create a morning ritual
Need to create a morning ritual for your pup? Make sure you incorporate these key elements:
- Exercise: Every dog should begin their day with a potty break and a bit of exercise. The activity and length of time dedicated to it depends on your dog’s energy levels and how much time you have in the morning. Dog owners who like to take their mornings slow could go for a nice long walk with their pups. If you’re running late for work, experiment with short but intense workouts like tug of war or agility obstacles.
- Mental stimulation: After your dog has gotten in a good workout, it’s time to exercise their mind. Rigorous exercise should always be followed up with brain work. High-energy dogs can’t handle the abrupt switch from zooming around the backyard to sitting on the couch alone all day. In fact, exercise by itself can get them riled up even more! Cool them down with activities that really make them think, like obedience training.
- Food: The last part of your dog’s morning ritual is feeding time. For some dogs, it’s not as simple as shoveling kibble into a food bowl. Large, energetic breeds are born with a hunting instinct that leaves them hyperactive if they aren’t forced to work for their food. Make meals more of a challenge by sectioning the kibble into puzzle toys. These helpful gadgets give big dogs a chance to burn off additional energy, work their brains and stretch eating over a longer period of time. Once your pup is done, give them another potty break, then head out the door!
Dogs crave structure just as much as humans do. A solid morning ritual helps dogs mellow out and take a snooze while you’re gone for the day. The components of your dog’s daily routine don’t have to occur at the exact same time every morning. Puppies just need to know they’ll always get food, exercise and, most importantly, plenty of love.