Creature of Habit!

Dogs are “creatures of habit” but then, aren’t we all?

Most of us, if not all of us, like our routines to work as usual and can get a little perturbed if something changes. Ray is certainly no different in that he can really get confused if things don’t happen the way they are supposed to!

Just the other day, I came up from the basement and, as usual*, Ray associated this event with him getting a biscuit as long as he goes into his den. He duly wandered into his den and sat  down. The routine was complete………. but was it? Why was he now following me around and looking rather lost? Why did he keep hovering around Carol’s bedroom door? 

On a normal morning Carol gets up, while I am still downstairs,and goes out into the back garden with him so that he can “take care of business”. She then gives him his breakfast which is followed by a piece of rutabaga.  After all this has happened, I come upstairs and give him his biscuit.

Ray is clearly confused when things do not happen in the correct sequence, and one can only guess what was going through his mind (ref 2nd paragraph). It could be “What happened to my breakfast?” or “Is this it?” or “Where’s my rutabaga?”

Being aware of these circumstances, and as there were no noises coming from Carol’s room, I gave Ray his breakfast followed by a piece of rutabaga. Moments later Carol appeared and I let her know that he had his breakfast, rutabaga and biscuit so everything was done. “Has he been outside yet?” (Ooops!)

I took him outside and, after he had satisfied nature’s “urges”, he rushed back to the house. As soon as I opened the back door, he dashed in and went straight to Carol with clear expectations. I really didn’t know whether it was a case of “Hi Carol! Can I have my breakfast now?” or whether it was a conscious attempt at working the system with the goal of perhaps a second breakfast!

His ploy, if that is what it was, did not work and so Ray eventually settled down and I had to finish off something in the basement. If nothing had changed from this point on, it could have developed into a typical day, but things did change. As I came up once again from the basement, I saw Ray disappearing into his den and sitting down!

Why was I surprised? His routine is very clear.  He goes outside after which he gets breakfast and a piece of rutabaga. Upon his return and as soon as he hears me switching off basement lights, he goes into his den for his biscuit! This can really get quite complicated!

*See Posts “Back to Crate Training” – Apr 25, 2015; “The Biscuit Routine” – May 9, 2015; “Toast Anybody” – June 22, 2015

12 thoughts on “Creature of Habit!

  1. Rutabagas are good human food. My mother used to speak of growing them in Germany and I think they fed those and beets to the cattle and of course cooked them to eat. I don’t know if they will grow in a mild climate or not but will investigate that, I love them and now know that maybe my dogs might like them after learning that Ray likes them. Anything to help clean the teeth. I don’t have a set routine to feed my animals; anytime from 8am to 12 noon and sometimes later so they do not have any expectations of normalcy/routine.

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  2. Poor guy was probably trying to figure things out. Like new dance steps and hoping there was an extra biscuit along the way. My cats are routine oriented too. This morning, after several bad nights with old cat Jake, I slept an extra hour. That meant breakfast was an hour later. I got a tongue lashing from one of my cats who was clearly hungry at the usual time! They are so time related that we have a struggle when the clocks change. It’s only an hour but they know it.

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  3. Some of our local dog walkers have also been disconcerted after storms first ripped out their tree and then removed their rock after severe sand erosion following the storm. We seem to hold onto these certainties. We rearranged our kitchen and moved the microwave and the kettle and I’m still heading back to where they used to be at times. But perhaps I’m just slow. xx Rowena

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    • There may be some deep psychological reason for it? Perhaps the world changes so fast that we are frantically holding on to any constants that we have? In your case re kettle and microwave ……….that’s just aging (and I know about that stuff!!!) 🙂


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