Did you ever ask yourself “ how does he know he’s getting a bath today?”  or “how does he know I’m going to put him in the crate?”. 

Dogs are masters at reading body language and recognizing patterns of behaviour.  We follow patterns often without realizing it. We develop very strong habits. The combination of behaviour patterns and habits make us pretty predictable!

If you stopped to think about it, you likely do the same thing every morning when you get up. From going to the bathroom to getting your morning coffee to picking up your keys as you leave the house. The weekend may have a slightly different pattern, but a pattern nonetheless.

Your dog can recognize the difference between putting on your shoes for work and putting on your running shoes for a walk.

Try this: without saying a word to your dog, go through your morning or afternoon ritual of preparing for a walk. Take note when your dog tunes into the fact you are going out. Do the same thing preparing a bath for him. Go through the motions without saying anything. If your dog is anything like my older one, he will run to the crate and not come out pretty early in the preparation stage ☺
I have to regularly mix up my pattern to keep him guessing!

When dealing with dogs who have Separation Anxiety, one of the first things we go over is the need to change the ritual the client goes through before leaving the house. We need to figure out the pattern of  behaviour as you prepare to leave, take note of when  the dog begins to notice and then take each element and practice until it becomes non-predictive.
Picking up keys, putting on shoes, brushing hair, drinking coffee, picking up a bag: the list can be quite long.

I believe it’s important to be aware of patterns and the effect they have on your dog and his behaviour.

I realized early on, that I fell into a pattern of removing the leash and tossing the ball as soon as I got to the park. That resulted in a very bouncy Beardie. Over time, he’d get more bouncy as we approached the park in anticipation of the toss.

I’ve made a conscious effort to try and not be predictable when I get to the park. I don’t always remove his leash. Sometimes its on, sometimes its off. Sometimes I toss the toy when we get to the park, sometimes it doesn’t get tossed until we are halfway through the park.

Be aware of what you do and how it impacts your dog. If you are getting a behaviour you don’t like, stop and think how your actions may be contributing to it before you get angry or frustrated.