If you’re like the rest of us, your daily schedule is filled with recurring activities, be it doing your nails or going shopping. Routines are helpful because they let you go about your day with ease. How do you feel when they’re interrupted? It throws you off, right? Well, it might be news to you, but dogs are just like us in that regard so creating an effective puppy training schedule is important to break bad habits and thus, necessary for their wellbeing. Stick around to find out how to plan an effective one.
Why Is a Puppy Schedule Necessary?
A young puppy can adapt to anything but needs a daily routine to thrive because the structure of a schedule makes them feel safe. It’s a way to help them understand our human-controlled world. A lot goes on during the first few weeks of a puppy’s life. They get a new pet parent, visit the vet for shots, get to meet your friends, etc. Things are usually busy and so people overlook the fact that the new member of their family needs a firm puppy schedule.
For instance, do you know how many times per day they’ll eat and at what time? Have you planned their walks? Playtime? Setting up a puppy schedule doesn’t require you to plan every single detail, only important things like potty breaks and mealtimes.
Furthermore, you’ll need a puppy schedule anytime you bring a new dog to your home. Think for a moment about how you would feel in that situation. You’d probably be trying to understand your new reality and adapt to it. A daily schedule is about structure and training for potty times, good eating habits, and overall good behavior is important. You also want to make them feel safe and bond with them.
Not only that, a puppy’s schedule makes the animal’s world more predictable and knowing what’s next makes them feel at ease. Any inconsistencies, especially if these happen often, will lead to poor potty and eating habits. It’ll also promote negative behavior like barking, separation anxiety, and even the destruction of your property.
You must understand that your new puppy has a short-term memory so repetition is important when it comes to training them. As you can imagine, a puppy schedule can help in this regard. You must consider the needs of every participating member of your family and keep them in mind when crafting their schedule.
Find a sample online and use it as a reference to create your own if you don’t know where to start. It won’t just make your life easier but you can also share it with the dog walker or anyone else assisting you. The main thing to keep in mind is that the puppy’s schedule must be based on the needs of your animal and adjust as they grow.
How Soon Should You Start?
Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit and need a socialization routine from a young age. Thus, carefully consider a daily routine that’ll keep them calm when you have to leave them behind when you go to work.
Begin as soon as you can, from day one, as soon as you bring your puppy home, if possible. Think about ways to make them feel at home in their new environment. Make it as fun and enjoyable as you can for the both of you.
Designing an Effective Puppy Schedule
We’re all different so there’s no right or wrong way to plan a puppy schedule. Mainly, keep in mind that the main purpose of puppy classes, a feeding routine, and a balanced puppy schedule is to meet their needs as well as those of their pet parent and family.
For instance, creating a strict schedule around the needs of your puppy alone will drive you nuts. People do it all the time when their whole focus is on the new cutie in the family. Of course, it eventually becomes stressful to try to work your schedule to accommodate their needs.
As you can see, you must plan your puppy schedule around your needs. Mainly, you have to leave some room to feed them, take them out, and spend quality time with them.
The Basic Skills Your Puppy Should Know
There are a few things you must teach your puppy before moving on to fancier tricks. Dogs are social creatures and you must introduce them to their new surroundings and give them plenty of opportunities to socialize with people and other animals as soon as you bring them home.
Puppies should also know their name and come when you call them, and most importantly, your puppy should know where to go potty. It’s best to teach them to go outside but if that’s not possible then be clear about the places where they can relieve themselves and those that are off-limits indoors. Moreover, they should know the proper way to walk on a leash.
Potty Training Is an Important Part of a Puppy Schedule
This one requires patience as you must do it in the right place and at the right time. It’s one of the most important first steps for happy cohabitation. We aren’t exaggerating, improper potty training is often the reason why people abandon their pets. It’s not the dog’s fault, it’s only that most people are unwilling to put up with a dog who destroys their belongings and leaves pee and poo all over the place.
Do some research on how to house train a dog and opt for the method that best suits your needs and your dog’s. Some proven methods are crate training, paper training, and indoor potty training. You can also take them out first in the morning, before bedtime, after playing indoors, after spending time in a crate, upon waking up from a nap, after chewing a toy or bone, after eating, and after drinking.
A good schedule should have four to five potty outings around the block, at least. You can get away with three times when it comes to older dogs.
In addition, you might want to control their diet by keeping a consistent feeding schedule and providing regular exercise. This is because it helps with their bowel movements. Furthermore, reinforce their behavior by praising them when they do their business outside.
The thing about puppies is their bladders are still in development so the water they drink runs right through them. The same happens with the food they eat so give them several opportunities to relieve themselves throughout the day.
10 to 12 hours is a long time for anyone to hold it so don’t make them wait for that long. A puppy can only hold it for about 6 hours but keep in mind that every dog is different and this timing isn’t the same for all. Arrange for someone to take them out in order to stay on schedule. It’ll help them understand that it’s only acceptable for them to do their business in certain places while others are off-limits. The more you stick to your puppy schedule the quicker you’ll leave housebreaking behind.
Observe your dog in order to identify their individual signals, some can hold it longer than others. Also, some can’t help letting it out when they’re excited. Then there are those who will pee in the middle of a play session.
Praising your puppy for doing the right thing works best for everything you want them to do. Make them feel really, really good when they pee and poo where you want them to. You want to be effusive in your praise and rewards.
Don’t make a fuss and just clean up the mess if your puppy has an accident. Be sure to use a cleaner that’ll remove the scent to discourage continued use. Furthermore, prevention is the key so if you catch the dog in the act, ask them to stop, proceed to pick them up, and rush them outside. Lavish them with praise when they complete the job outdoors.
Set Specific Meal Times
You might want to control the diet of your puppy as their digestive systems haven’t yet fully developed and can’t handle a lot of food. Break their feeding schedule into three or more small quality meals. Examine their stool to figure out if they need a change of diet. Those that are bulky, loose, and stinky are a sign your dog needs different food.
In addition, assess how well your puppy can control their bladder and bowels and schedule feeding accordingly. Take them out frequently, especially after a meal. Also, hire someone to do it for you if you can’t do it yourself.
An Effective Puppy Schedule Should Contain Play Time
All dogs benefit from physical and mental stimulation and playing games is great to do so, so schedule at least an hour of playtime per day. You may not realize that your puppy is a social animal and needs to build relationships and communicate with others. The best way to teach them is through playing.
Not only that, you learn about your dog’s personality through regular play so it strengthens your mutual bond. Furthermore, you can prevent inappropriate behavior by providing this kind of outlet for their natural instincts. Encourage them with gentle praising, both physical and verbal. It’ll make them more enthusiastic. You can also encourage your puppy to play with toys, especially with those you can put food inside. Just show it to them and allow them to sniff it, they’ll be rolling it on the floor trying to get the food out in no time.
The games your dog likes to play will depend on their personality so pay attention to those things that excite them. Experiment with different toys to find out what they like. There are various types of games:
Tug of war, throw and fetch, hide and seek, pounce and shake.
Be sure to pick toys that are suitable for your puppy and check them regularly to verify that they’re still safe. Verify that you can take things from your dog before you begin to play. You might want to teach them to leave things if not.
Furthermore, skip the rough games and teach them not to chase children. Your dog loves both and gets really excited but could take these kinds of games too far. Also, when handing them a toy, be sure to keep it under your waist so as not to encourage them to jump up on you.
Play with your dog as much as you can, both at home and at the park. When playing, keep the sessions about five minutes long and quit even if they’re not tired. That’ll make them excited to play again the next time. These animals respond to a squeaky voice so use one to praise and encourage them.
Never force your dog to play and only play with them when they’re doing something you want to encourage good behavior for. Don’t forget to have fun and take away the toys at the end of each play session.
Training Sessions and Teaching Your Dog to Play
It may be hard to believe but some dogs don’t know how to play, especially with toys. This is common in dogs that were separated from their mothers too early and didn’t have a chance to interact with their siblings. Whatever the case might be, you can encourage yours to play.
You can only train one dog at a time so you must be alone with them and keep everyone else out. We already mentioned that dogs respond to a high pitch excited voice so do your best rendition while you bend down to their level. Instead of pushing the toy towards their mouth or face, pull it away and hide it between your hands. You want them to believe it’s very special and of course, they’ll die to take a peek. Allow them to but don’t give it to them just yet.
Turn away from them and occasionally drop the toy but snatch it before they do; it’ll encourage them to compete for it. If they happen to grab it before you do then have a little tug-of-war before you surrender it. Some dogs may be reluctant to grab it so encourage them by placing a few bites into a bag or an old sock and wiggle it in front of them.
They’ll be excited and will try to take it away from you, of course, but don’t let them have it just yet. You want to build their excitement and encourage them with gentle praising. You can also encourage them to play with toys by using a Kong toy, the kind designed to put food inside. Show them the toy and allow them to sniff it. Then toss it so it rolls on the floor.
Your dog will follow it in no time and love the treat inside so they’ll make a connection between food and playing with the toy. They’ll be fetching in no time.
You must add this as daily training time on your puppy’s schedule as it’s the kind of mental stimulation that deters bad behavior. Your schedule must have both specific training sessions and opportunity training, the kind where you take the opportunities that arise day after day to teach them something. For example, you could teach them to “sit and stay” while you’re having dinner with your family.
Nap Time and Bedtime
Schedule naps and bedtime according to your schedule and stick to it. Remember, dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. You may allow breaks on special occasions so as not to make it too stressful. Just lie there and cuddle once in a while, healthy cohabitation and enjoyment go beyond the rules.
Ways to Incorporate Training Into Your Puppy Schedule
As you can see, the key to healthy cohabitation with a furball is to begin training them as soon as you bring them home. An effective puppy schedule must allow enough time for play and interaction. In fact, you can train them as a game because learning new skills is exciting for them. Especially if you praise them as they love high-pitched voice and will do anything to please you – and get your yummy treats.
Keep in mind that young puppies get easily tired and keep the training sessions short and sweet. Any youngster will lose focus after 15 minutes. Thus, plan a short, manageable puppy training schedule that reinforces what you want them to learn by repetition. A couple of minutes three to four times a day is often enough. You’ll be surprised!
Finally, as we said above, most dogs thrive on having a routine because they like predicting what’s next, be it a mealtime, a walk, and so on. A puppy schedule will help you establish a routine when training your dog. Knowing their routine makes them feel safe because they know what’s going to happen. Definitely consider hiring a walker if you have to work really long hours. Maybe a friend or a neighbor would love to come and spend some time with your pet. Ask around!