We can help our dogs to cope in our world by providing predictable patterns that they can follow, even when the unpredictable happens. This requires consistency, repetition and patience, but dogs quickly learn what to do when that behaviour creates a predictable, positive result.
Predictability lowers anxiety, allows the brain to conserve energy and creates a sense of trust and security. Like other animals, dogs are experts at finding patterns. They look for patterns in their world and in the behaviour of others and just like we do, feel so much better when they can make sense of a situation rather than feeling confused or anxious when they can’t find a pattern.
When we create predictable patterns, dogs begin to understand what happens and how they should respond when a specific situation occurs. The situation becomes the cue for the behaviour rather than the cue itself. We often get caught up in using cues instead of just showing our dogs that this is what they should do in this situation. Being consistent and following a pattern with our dogs, creates trust, stability and security in helping them to know what to expect.