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The Importance of the Puppy Schedule

Caring for a puppy can seem overwhelming at first, but the secret to success is sticking to a schedule. Not only will that set both you and your puppy up for victory, but it will also create predictability and balance in your puppy’s life, letting them know exactly what is expected of them.

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Do you have time for a puppy?

Puppies are absolutely adorable, but, just like a human baby, they require a lot of work. Ensuring that you have the time to dedicate to taking care of your puppy is crucial. The first year requires a lot of dedication and consistency, but in the end it is well worth it. 

Each breed is different and will allow for some flexibility when it comes to its exercise requirements and the dog’s independence later in life. However, regardless of breed, each puppy needs a lot of time and dedication in order to mold them into a well-behaved dog. 

Luckily, a puppy schedule is flexible so it can easily be molded to your needs. The only caveat here is that if you work long hours at the office, travel a lot, and have no one to help you with a puppy, consider waiting to get a puppy or look into doggy daycare or a pet sitter.

Why a Puppy Schedule is Beneficial

A schedule creates predictability, allows for a bond to form, and provides structure. By sticking to a schedule, the puppy will be able to recognize the expectations you have set in place for it. A schedule will provide your puppy with the opportunity for basic training as well as socialization and exposure. It will make room for the pup to have the appropriate amount of exercise and introduce alone time to create more independence within the puppy.  

A new puppy tries to adapt to its environment so providing an environment that it can thrive in will groom the pup into a well-behaved adult.  

What a Puppy Schedule Should Look Like

A puppy schedule should include consistent feeding, potty breaks, naps, and exercise. Although it is not necessary for the puppy to wake up or go to bed at the same time every day, it can be beneficial for your pup. 

Consistent bathroom breaks will help with potty training your pup and minimizing accidents. It is sufficient if the puppy is let out every 2 to 4 hours. If you have a particular area of the yard dedicated for the puppy’s bathroom breaks, lead the puppy there so it will get into the habit of relieving itself in that spot. Dogs will often times go to the bathroom in a similar spot. Also, remember that a puppy needs to be let out within a half hour after feeding. 

A puppy should eat three times a day, so feeding can be planned around the time of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

A puppy spends most of its days sleeping, and it’s important to give the pup enough time to nap throughout the day. If the house is hectic, it is good to secure an area away from children or commotion where the puppy can sleep peacefully and comfortably. This will also ensure that the puppy is calmer and more susceptible to picking up on the training cues and schedule set in place.

Finally, a puppy schedule should include time for exercise which provides your pup with the mental stimulation it needs. Although puppies should not be exposed to intense exercise such as long runs, it is important to include several short exercise sessions. This can be letting them loose in the yard, throwing a ball around, or walking around the neighborhood. Longer exercise sessions shouldn’t be included until the pup is around a year old. 

Throughout this schedule, it’s important for the different activities to incorporate basic training commands. For example, teach your puppy different commands by hand-feeding a portion of a meal. Tell your puppy to “stay” in place while waiting for food, and give the “take” command to show when it’s allowed to begin eating. Teach “leave it” when playing with a ball outside. These commands help build a bond between you and the puppy, but they also show the puppy that you are to be trusted and obeyed. By the end of the year, the puppy should know basic commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” “stay,” “come,” “take,” “leave it,” “no,” etc. 

Example Schedule

6 AM: wake up Bathroom Breakfast Exercise/Bathroom Nap

9 AM: Bathroom Nap

12 PM: Bathroom Lunch Exercise/Bathroom Nap

3 PM: Bathroom/Exercise Nap

6 PM: Bathroom Dinner Exercise/Bathroom Nap

9 PM: Bathroom/Exercise Bedtime

Each puppy is different and there is a breed out there for you. Still not sure what breed that is? The Barkd app will help match you to your perfect lifelong buddy!

Even though puppies are a lot of work, they are worth it! If you have any lingering doubts about whether or not you’re ready to make the commitment, take our quiz to find out!

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