Nature vs. Nurture. Are we born a certain way, pre-disposed to beliefs, mindsets, value systems? Or are these things learned, the product of a lifetime of influence from those around us, our parents, our environment, our peers?
Habits are a tricky thing, but they make perfect sense to a dog, and by proxy anyone that trains dogs. A habit is something you just DO, because you've always done it that way. I sleep on the same side of the bed, every night. It doesn't matter if I'm at home, or visiting the parents and sleeping in the guest room, or on the road at a client, sleeping in the hotel. No matter the place, you can be assured of one thing: If you stood at the foot of the bed, you'd find me sleeping on the left.
I drive the same route to work, every day. Back out of the drive, north to the T-intersection, turn left. To the stop sign, left again. Next stop, a right, then a left. End of the road, right. Left at the end of that road.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Dogs learn this way. If you make the dog sit and wait every time before the dog can go out the door for a walk, then pretty soon the dog will sit and wait at an open door, even when he hasn't been told to do so. Why? Because he's done it that way EVERY TIME.
So it was with a small measure of amusement that I found myself folding the laundry the other night... just another mindless chore that needs done... and, just like my mother did EVERY TIME, I folded my towels... lengthwise into thirds, then crosswise into thirds.
Why? Because that's how I was taught, and that's how I've done it... EVERY TIME.