Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Creatures of Habit

Dogs are creatures of habit. This was demonstrated - again - at my house last night. Every night I go upstairs to read about 8:00. Corey and Carina come up with me and have very specific places on the bed where they lay down. Corey is at my feet and Carina is at my waist, about the middle of the bed. Dusty - now gone - was at the head of the bed. No one has moved into this position. Let something happen, like a pillow in the wrong place, and NO ONE is happy. Corey couldn't possibly lay down on the pillow - he will just move around, stare at me and be restless. Move the pillow and he sighs as he lays where he belongs.

Then, come bed time and I turn off the light. Corey immediately jumps off the bed and goes into his crate, whose door is blocked open. Carina stands up, moves so she can get under the covers, snuggles with me and goes back to sleep.

These routines start the day the puppy comes home - or make the move from the puppy pen to the bedroom. Remember - what you start doing on Day 1 will remain with your puppy for life. If you don't want her to sleep on your pillow for the next 15 years, don't let her do so starting at 8 weeks. Gently place her by your legs every time she is on the bed and soon that will be where she expects to sleep. Have her sleep in the crate starting on Day 1, KEEP IT UP, and that will be where she is happiest sleeping.

Don't get up and feed your puppy at exactly 6:00 every week day morning and expect them to sleep in on the weekend. Their week long calendar all looks the same. Get up, put the puppy out, bring her back in, take a shower, drink your coffee, and THEN give her breakfast. They won't wake up expecting a meal, and maybe they will learn to go back to bed on weekends. They will, however, still need to go out at the same time everyday.

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