Why is keeping a puppy to a schedule helpful?
While puppies can adapt to basically anything, some puppies thrive on a daily routine and a schedule. Having some structure to their day can help them feel safe, and make the human world feel more predictable for them.
So when should you start?
As soon as you bring your puppy home, it’s important to start thinking of how to make him feel safe and at home in his new surroundings. With a little bit of planning, the adjustment period will be so much more enjoyable for both of you.
Dogs are creatures of habit and can learn and adapt to their routine from a very young age, so you can start building a routine with your pup from the moment they arrive.
Taking the time to think through your puppy’s daily routine is particularly useful for before the humans go to work or school, or nap/bedtime where the puppy needs to learn to be calm.
How to find the right schedule for your puppy
There’s no right or wrong way to plan a schedule for your puppy. Every family is different and the key is to make the puppy’s schedule work with yours and everyone else’s in the family.
If in the early days you create a strict schedule around the puppy’s needs only (this can be tempting in the beginning when all your focus is on the puppy) it could create stress for both of you when the schedule needs to change to accommodate your own routine later on.
So plan your puppy’s bedtime around yours, make time for fun doggy activities when it best suits your own daily schedule, and of course make enough time for lots of naps, play and cuddling.
Tips for creating a puppy routine:
- Establish your puppy’s schedule early: plan in potty-time, meal-times, play & training time, nap-time and bed-time.
- Make it work with your own schedule
- Try and stick to it, dogs thrive on routine
- Allow a little deviation every now and then to avoid unnecessary stress for you or your pup
- Allow enough rest & cuddle time — it’s not all about activities!
For an example of a daily puppy schedule, check out this infographic by the AKC — it’s clear and helpful, but we love it for the cute Corgi illustrations too.
How to incorporate training into the puppy’s routine
The key to living happily ever after with your puppy is of course training him from the day one, and teaching him to become the dog you always dreamed of. This is why it’s important to also plan training time into your daily routine together.
The cool thing is, training your puppy can be part of the puppy’s play time. Learning new skills is exciting for the puppy, and even more so when you praise him for his learning. He loves hearing your happy voice, and will do anything to get some yummy treats too!
Young puppies get tired easily, so training time doesn’t have to be very long. The usual one hour puppy training class can be fun for the social aspect, but it’s also often tiring for a young puppy and he can easily lose focus after the first 15 minutes or so.
This is why it’s best to plan a puppy training schedule with short, manageable chunks throughout the day. As puppies have a very short term memory, repetition several times a day will reinforce their learning — another reason why several short sessions a day works well. Even a couple of minutes 3-4 times a day is great and you’ll be surprised what your puppy will learn with this!
What basic skills should a puppy know?
Before going into any fancy tricks, the basic skills you want to start teaching your puppy early on are of course:
- Learning their name
- Coming when you call them
- Teaching them when and where to go potty
- Teaching them how to walk on a leash
You’ll also want to start socializing your puppy and introducing him to his new surroundings (people, other pets, spaces, surfaces) as soon as you bring him home.
If you need some more specific help and guidance in planning a simple, but super fun and effective puppy training schedule, check out OneMind Dogs Puppy Training program with over 100 easy-to-follow and fun training lessons.
Try it out free for a week and start building that magical connection with your new bestie!