The Importance of Routine for Dogs

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When we lost our almost 19-year old American Eskimo, Kandi, several things became apparent in our pack. Because of her declining health during the last 5 years of her life, attending to the daily needs of an aging dog began to create sets of ritualistic behavior for my entire family. Even though much of our actions centered around caring for Kandi, each of our other 3 dogs accepted these procedures as part of their daily routine. After her passing, much of the need to carry out our daily routines stopped. While we all mourned the loss of Kandi, our other 3 dogs – in some ways – were even more deeply affected.

For years, before bed and first thing in the morning, I had to carry Kandi down the steps so that she could go outside. She also got a "treat" every night for her daily medications and I would play with the other dogs while waiting for Kandi to do her business in the yard.

Three days after Kandi’s passing, when getting ready for bed we noticed our big girl, Sunshine, waiting by the back door. Even though all the dogs could easily get outside on their own through the dog door, she was waiting patiently. As I started to walk her outside, I noticed a huge smile on her face and the other dogs jumped up and started running down the steps too. After some before bedtime play, they got their treat like they used to get when Kandi was getting her medication. The next morning we started doing all the routines over again and the dogs have started slowly becoming their normal joyful selves.

We have always knew that routines were important for dogs, but we’ve learned that even if your daily rituals don’t happen to have them at the center of attention, daily repetition goes a long way in shaping your dog’s behavior and bringing much joy to their life.

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April 7, 2014 |

Pet Playrooms That Please

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Pet Playrooms That Please

Pet Playrooms That Please

If you’re like most suburban families, you probably have been using your spare room as a storage catch-all, clearing boxes and tubs to the side on the rare occasion when guests come. Sure, it’s sorta functional, but could it be turned into something better? Why not consider turning it into a playroom for your pet? Giving your pets their own room can clear the clutter around the rest of the house, making it more comfortable for the entire family—and most likely more pleasant smelling, too.

Setting up a playroom for your pet can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. Here are some tips to creating the perfect pet zone in your spare room.


Both dogs and cats can be at risk when left unattended in a room. Exposed plugs, cords and outlets all are potential pet hazards. Remove any chemicals, small or sharp items and anything you don’t want broken. Leave as much open floor space as you can.

Photo by jumpyjodes via Flickr


The best flooring is durable, easy to clean and comfortable. While vinyl or other washable flooring might be easiest to clean, it is not always the best option. Rubber matting is more comfortable for your pet, but just as easy to clean. Rubber Flooring, Inc. offers many options for attractive, easy-to-clean flooring for your pet room.

Photo by osunick via Flickr


The room should have a window for good ventilation, but be sure to get pet-friendly blinds. Cords can potentially pose a strangulation risk for your pet. Slatted blinds are chewing hazards, and are easily broken by a pet who’s curious to see outside. Roller shades are a beautiful solution to this problem as you can lift them just high enough for your pet to see out.

Photo by emerille via Flickr

Food and Bedding

Your pet should be trained to be comfortable in their room. Placing their bedding in there and feeding them in their room can help make that adjustment go more smoothly. By feeding them in the room, you help your pet associate the space with yummy, good things. Create a feeding station and keep their water bowl full of fresh water. Encourage them with treats when they go into the room on their own.

Photo by Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis via Flickr


Dogs are pack animals and may not be happy if locked in a room away from their pack. Opt for a gate over a door so your pet can feel like he’s still getting enough quality family time. PetSmart offers many options for pet gates, including ones with cat doors, extra tall for jumpers and special locks for tricksters.

Photo by ZoeShuttleworth via Flickr


Most of all, you want to make the pet playroom a place to have fun. Put all of their toys in the room and play with them consistently. Enjoy the room with them to make it your pet’s favorite room. Offering your pet entertainment while you are away can help too. The Dart automatic pet laser can offer your pet hours of laser chasing fun when you don’t have time to play.

Photo by meanmybadself via Flickr

March 21, 2014 |
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