Lucas rests his muzzle on my pillow and waits. As soon as I open my eyes, he starts a full-body wag. “Morning’s here!” his eyes say, then he licks my nose.
Every morning, that’s how Lucas wakes me up. And I think it’s pretty precious every morning.
Except when the time changes.
When the clock said 5:30 yesterday, I groaned. Now, I know it’s sort of the “same” as 6:30 was on Saturday (huh?! why do we do this again?!) but it feels so different when the first number on the clock is a 5.
So we made them wait… and wait… and we fed them at their “usual” time, 7:00. Then they started asking for dinner at 4. Again, we made them wait.
And I felt bad.
Imagine if you had zero control over your schedule. Someone else told you when and for how long to exercise. It was up to someone else to allow you to go to the bathroom. You were at the whim of someone remembering to put water out for when you get thirsty. Sleeping and eating? Those are decided for you, too.
Maybe this is personifying, but I think this is why dogs need/thrive on routine. If you had zero control over most of your life, wouldn’t you want to know what’s going to happen and when? So you may not get to decide what you eat for dinner, but you know it’s coming at 5. You might not get to pick your bedding or where you lay your head at night, but at least you know light’s out is around 10. And when your belly starts rumbling at 6? You know breakfast is only an hour – and an trip outside – away.
It seems to me that would be reassuring that, even though you don’t really know what’s going to happen, you sorta know what’s going to happen. Or, at least, when.
Are your dogs super routinized? Do they expect breakfast, dinner, potty breaks, and bedtime on the dot? Or do they have a more flexible schedule?