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Getting a new puppy can greatly affect your daily schedule. It may seem overwhelming to think about the number of potty breaks, meals, and walks your new puppy needs each day, but establishing a routine can help make life much easier. Routines provide a consistent, reliable schedule that will increase your puppy’s confidence and help him flourish in his new environment.
Why Is it Important to Establish a Daily Routine for My New Puppy?
Establishing a daily routine is important for both you and your new puppy for many reasons. First, puppies like to know what to expect. Having a consistent routine reduces the stress of uncertainty and helps your puppy become more comfortable in his new home. Routines give puppies a sense of security.
Additionally, it is helpful to have a routine so that you know how to structure your days. Life after getting a new puppy can sometimes feel chaotic. Daily routines give pet parents a greater sense of control and predictability when their days are better planned.
Establishing a routine also improves the human-animal bond. It gives you and your puppy activities to do together each day so that trust can build. The puppy knows that his needs are being met, while the pet parent feels a sense of empowerment when caring for his new companion.
Important Parts of a Daily Routine for Your New Puppy
While getting a new puppy may bring some unexpected events to each day, an established routine provides some level of expectancy. Pet parents should consider the following:
- Consistent meal times: Feed meals at the same time each day. Generally, this includes a meal in the morning, afternoon, and night. Puppies should always have access to clean, fresh water as well.
- Frequent potty breaks: Potty breaks should occur regularly throughout the day, typically every two hours. This includes a potty break first thing in the morning, directly after each meal or nap, and right before bed. During potty training, these breaks will become very frequent and should always be reliably scheduled to avoid accidents in the house.
- Regular exercise: Puppies need exercise each day to help them develop and thrive. Exercise may include short walks or playtime in the yard. There should be ample opportunities throughout each day for a puppy to run off energy.
- Designated sleep space: Puppies should have a quiet and private area where they sleep each night and nap throughout the day. This helps them wind down, rest comfortably, and feel more secure.
- Predictable bedtime: Puppies should be placed in their designated sleep areas at the same time every night. Doing so provides them a good night’s rest so that they can grow and develop properly.
What Steps Should I Take to Establish a Routine for My New Puppy?
Have a plan prior to bringing your new puppy home, but remain flexible. Think about what your new puppy will need and how that will fit into your current daily schedule. If you need guidance, a veterinarian would be happy to provide tips. There are also many helpful resources, such as books, available for people considering a puppy.
Once you have an idea of what a new puppy requires each day, sit down and write a tentative daily schedule. Once you actually bring your new puppy home, this schedule may change a little according to his personality and needs, but at least you will have a template.
Consistency is key when trying to establish a daily routine for your new puppy. Implementing a routine on the very first day you bring your new puppy home is important to help him know what to expect in the coming days. Even when you are tired or unexpected events occur during the day, try to keep your puppy’s schedule as consistent as possible.
Example Schedule for Your New Puppy
An example of a daily schedule that you may consider implementing for your new puppy can look something like this.
6am: As soon as your puppy wakes up, take him outside for a potty break. When he comes back inside, provide him with breakfast and clean water. Once he is finished, take him outside again to potty.
After breakfast: Provide your puppy with an opportunity for some exercise, such as playtime in the yard or a walk around the block. Your puppy will need another nap after playtime followed by a potty break when he wakes up.
12:00pm: Feed your puppy lunch. As soon as he is finished eating, take him outside for a potty break.
After lunch: Early afternoon is a great time to do some training to teach your dog basic commands or tricks. Training should be limited to fifteen-minute intervals to keep your puppy’s attention. Training can be followed by a nap. When your puppy wakes up, take him out for a potty break.
5:00pm: Offer your puppy a meal for dinner. Once finished eating, take him outside again to potty.
After dinner: Offer some fun activities for your puppy to do before bed, such as playing with new toys or running around the yard. Take him out for one last potty break before he goes to sleep for the night.
8:00pm: Put your puppy to bed in his designated area.
Overnight: Puppies generally need to go out at least once during the night for a potty break. He may wake you up to let you know, or you may need to set an alarm.
This schedule can be altered to meet the needs of each individual puppy and the family’s daily activities. Just remember that by implementing and enforcing a daily routine, you’ll provide your new puppy with the secure environment he needs to thrive and grow.