Dogs love routine, and so do I. That makes us particularly well suited for each other. But I do laugh at how little it takes to create a routine with dogs. Do it twice, and it's a routine. That's assuming it's something they like, of course. Like a bedtime snack. I often have a glass of skim milk before I go to bed, and one night, a few years ago, I gave the girls some too. I'm sure it wasn't more than 1/3 of a cup. They liked it. So (and this was my mistake) the following night I did the same. The next night I was brushing my teeth and noticed that they were both out in the kitchen, quietly waiting by their bowls. I decided to ignore them, but they didn't move. They weren't barking or whining or anything, but they were persistent and I finally caved and gave them some milk. Wellllll .... that sealed the routine, and now they expect (and get) their drink of milk every night.
But then came the night when Princess wasn't feeling well. I can't remember what had happened, but she was limping for some reason and had crawled into her bed early. Dee Dee, however, waited by her bowl as usual. So I poured a little in her bowl, and - not wanting to show favoritism - poured a little in Princess' bowl too. I could see her out of the corner of my eye, and she was in a dilemma. She wanted her milk, but she didn't want to get out of bed. So ... (now, please don't think I spoil my girls when I say this) .... I brought her milk to her. The next night she still was having some pain, so I brought the milk to her again. And ... you guessed it ... we had a new routine! Dee Dee gets her bedtime drink of milk in her bowl in the kitchen, while Princess gets her milk in bed - brought to her by me. Last night, just for fun, I decided to put her milk down next to Dee Dee's and see if she'd come get it. I peaked around the corner and there she was, in bed, with her head arched way up - towards the kitchen - waiting for her milk to be delivered. And of course it was. Sigh. I do wonder sometimes who the alpha member of the family is. I'm pretty sure it's not me.