November 17, 2012
The poor dogs have been a bit on the confused side this week. After close to 4 months of getting to stay inside 90% of the time, they got thrown out in the pen every morning, and not brought in until some time between 6:30 and 7:30 PM. Between 3+ hours of drivetime and 10 hours of work per day, I've been leaving early and getting home late. WS left even earlier than me on a couple of days, and got home late on one day (the day the dogs didn't get in until 7:30).
This is one reason I have never understood dog trainers that insist that your pets should be on a rigid schedule - life throws changes at the owners, and the pets can get more stressed out if they aren't used to changes. Our two current dogs haven't had much of a changing schedule over the years, so this throws them a little, however not too bad since we are still on a first shift schedule.
Years ago, when we had three other dogs (Bogie, Niki and Sampson), we were constantly on different schedules; rotating a lot between 2nd and 3rd shifts. Then when the dogs were getting on in years, we switched to first shift. Additionally, our shifts would be anywhere from 8-16 hours, though a whole lot of 7 day weeks, which just made keeping them on any kind of actual schedule impossible. However, since the dogs were used to that from a very young age, there weren't any issues. When feeding times were changed because the shift had changed, it wasn't a big deal and they didn't get stressed or upset about it.
Now days, poor Prince, who has a very precise stomach (it can tell within 15 minutes whe he "should" get fed - the end of daylight savings time just kills him!), gets all worked up - which doesn't do him any good. Unfortunately, he seemed to have been on a strict schedule when he was young so any major change just upsets him for a while. Missy, on the other hand, is just a happy dog no matter the circumstances, so takes the changes in stride. And of course the cats just don't care since their food is always available.
The dogs and humans are adjusting, just some adjust more quickly than others.