We all have our routines, whether it’s showering in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee in the same chair, or taking the same route to work every day, we often find ourselves do the exact same thing at the exact same time. Dogs are creatures of habit as well – best shown by the sighs and stares that happen a half hour before dinner time! While our routines have been thrown off by the global pandemic, it seems Canine Companions® puppies, including Wes, are learning the importance of flexibility.
On a “normal” day, volunteer puppy raisers Christa and Steve try to mix up routines to keep Wes guessing. Whether it’s a pre-breakfast walk one day and a post-breakfast walk the next, Christa tries to teach Wes that there isn’t always a strict routine for a Canine Companions puppy. Some habits are harder to break than others!
“Dinner is normally between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.,” Christa says. “If we need to feed Wes early on a particular night, say at 4:30 p.m. then the next day Wes will remind us when it is 4:30 p.m.!” What a smart puppy! While sheltering in place, Wes is having more opportunities to vary how much he is practicing commands, playing, going on walks or even just lying quietly while Christa and Steve get through their routines.
“Staying at home has been a much slower pace for Wes. It different from what he is used to, but this is good for him too. We have been doing a few chores that are usually difficult to make time for, like cleaning closets. This has been a good exercise for Wes. There are a lot of items on the floor that he isn’t allowed to touch.”
Some Things Don’t Change….
Naturally, there are routines that haven’t changed. Wes loves his belly rubs and playing hide-and-seek every day, and each night, he curls up in his favorite chihuahua-sized bed. At 15 months old, it’s a tight squeeze, but even in unusual circumstances, a favorite toy or tiny bed can always be relied upon. It’s also a good way to learn to be flexible!