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Why I love going to Wetherspoons

What has talking about a pub chain (which ironically doesn’t let dogs in) have to do with dog training?


Predictability!


Hear me out. I get anxious about going to pubs.


Where will I park?

Can I take my dog in?

Are they open all day?

Do I go to the bar or order at the table?

When do they stop serving food?


But at ‘Spoons’, I know exactly what to expect. I have the app, I know that I can either use it or go to the bar. That I need to tell them the table number and they’ll bring food and drinks to my table. Most of them even serve the same cider, which I know I like!


I also know I can’t take my dogs in, which, whilst that may be disappointing, at least I know the rules and I’m not going to be at risk of trying to and be turned away – that’s embarrassing!

Now this doesn’t even just apply to my local ‘Spoons’ in Barnstaple and Bideford, this applies to any of their pubs in the country.


They also compliment my other anxiety, where will I park? The ones outside of town usually have a car park and the ones in town are usually near a car park.


So can you see how even though I find going into pubs a bit nerve wrecking, I can confidently stroll into any Wetherspoons and know what to expect?



I thought this was a blog about dog training?


Ok, lets get back to dog training, in particular, dog training classes, although this is not just specific to classes.


Dogs, like people, find predictability reassuring. It gives them confidence when they know what to do and how to do it.


At DREAMS Dog Club, we take predictability very seriously. When the dogs come in, they have some ham waiting for them to sniff out on a chair. Find out more about the benefits of sniffing in this Blog - Scentwork is for Every Dog. After eating their ham, they have a bed waiting for them to lie down on (their own bed which smells of home). They then do one of the exercises we are working on before returning to their bed for a brain break. This predictable routine means that even if there are new dogs in the class, we are starting a new activity or the class is at a different venue, the dogs know exactly what to expect. The predictable pattern gives them all the information they need.


Away from classes, I use predictable patterns for my dogs every day. In the morning, when they go outside to relieve themselves, there are always a few bits of food scattered around the garden. This means instead of looking for things to bark at, they get their noses down and sniff out their breakfast. They know it will be there so they get straight to the important job of eating, bypassing their previous habit of barking at the neighbours.


When I take them out in the car for a walk, they all know to wait in the boot until they are asked to get out, and when they get out they get a few treats for checking in with me. One of my dogs is dog reactive so this pattern means he doesn’t need to scan the area as soon as he is on the ground. He gets out and looks at me. If a dog happens to walk by, I have his attention without having to prompt him.



Predictability for your dogs is more important than routine


Another thing about me that you may not know, is that I am probably the most disorganised person on the planet! I don’t do routine and for my dogs, it’s not an issue.


No matter what time I drag myself out of bed, the dogs know what will be waiting for them when I let them out.


If I want to walk them at 10am or 7pm, at one of the lovely North Devon beaches or in Tesco’s carpark, the pattern is the same. They get out, check in with me, have a few snacks and then we go for our walk.


For me and my dogs, its not about having a daily routine but knowing what to expect during the activities we do on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.


Predictable patterns can help your dogs in so many ways, from vet visits to dog reactivity, training classes to competition.


Have a think about how you can bring some predictability into your dogs life and let us know what you come up with.


Bonus points if you can add up the number of times I’ve written the word predictable!


By Sooz Foster - Sooz Dog Training

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