Your Pet and Your Schedule by Jacqueline Valencia

My dog , Nita, is a rescue dog which I adopted when she was a year old. The early life trauma she had before coming from El Paso, Texas to Toronto is a bit of a mystery to me. All I know is that she came from a hoarding situation. Evidence of her trauma are how she hides to the sights and sounds of trucks, and her aversion to tall men. Nita also dislikes new changes to her schedule or new routes to her daily walks. A trip to Niagara Falls recently was a challenge triumphed by the use of treats, frequent breaks, and positive reinforcement.

As a pet parent, you probably already have established a daily routine for your dog or cat. Pets thrive on a set time for their food, play, social time, and walks. However, daily life can also be unpredictable. There will be times where you have to change set times and this can cause a bit of a scare or a reaction from your fur friend. There are solutions to this, but they require patience and for you to be attuned to your pets needs and wants.

  1. Give your pet some practice time just in case there are situations where you might find that you have to be outside longer or if you’re going to change their food times. Dry runs on changes help your pet acclimatize itself to different scenarios and helps them feel in charge of their surroundings. Since your pet looks up to you for reassurance, be sure to treat them or praise them for their patience with you!

    2. Exercise helps dogs and cats stay healthy, but it also helps them burn off excess energy which a lot of pets often have if they are stressed out. Tuckering them out with toys and outside play will ensure their time alone or in a new situation is less hyper and more about being relaxed with their environment.

    3. If your dog is like mine, it probably needs some practice time with new walking routes or spaces. It’s taken me a while, but so far Nita has progressed from shivering in every new change to her walk to shiver a little bit and getting on with it. I suggest looking up some positive reinforcement videos or looking into obedience or behavioral classes. Vets and animal shelters have a good network of them for new pet parents that you can also consult.
  1. Consider a doggie daycare if your dog is a social animal. You can also ask your workplace(as long as it is pet-friendly),if you can bring your pet with you some days. A lot of offices are open to having office dogs or office cats since they bring much needed stress relief to spaces.


As with anything, if you feel that your pet is reacting to changes in your life, you should consult your veterinarian. There are many solutions to pet issues that can be worked on. All you need is patience and compassion for the fur one you love.