Puppy Schedule 8 Weeks: Creating A Routine For Your New Puppy And Setting Schedules
When you bring your puppy home, there are so many new experiences and things to consider that you may overlook one of the most important aspects of puppy homecoming: establishing a routine. Your new canine family member will feel more secure if he has a clear understanding of what is expected of him. The best way to do this is to make and stick to a schedule. It’s important to start establishing good behaviors with your new puppy during the first few weeks. By the way, a schedule benefits not only the puppy; it also makes life easier for the human members of the family. You don’t have to plan out every moment of your dog’s day, but there are a few important areas where having a schedule can make the difference between a well-behaved dog and chaos.
The Feeding Schedule for Your Puppy
Unlike mature dogs, who eat once or twice a day, most puppies require three meals per day. Plan his mealtimes around your own breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make it easier to remember. Make sure his water bowl is clean and that it is always filled with clean water.
Potty Breaks on a Schedule
Maintain a consistent routine of taking your puppy outside every two to four hours and after each change of activity. This is especially important during house training, as it will reduce the number of accidents.
It’s important to have fun!
Exercise and interaction with you are essential for your puppy. A word of caution: prolonged, strenuous exercise (long runs, jumping) is good for puppies, but playing, mental stimulation, and running around the yard are better. Some experts advise waiting until a dog is about a year old before beginning serious exercise, though this varies by breed. Dog breeds differ in terms of energy levels and growth rates, and the growth plates in their joints close at different ages. However, include play and exercise time in your puppy’s daily routine; a walk around the neighborhood, playing with toys, and bonding time all help to burn off energy. For a puppy, several shorter sessions are preferable to one long one.
Bedtime and naps
Puppies sleep a lot, and some can sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day. Plan for him to take a few quiet naps throughout the day. Family members, particularly young children, should learn not to wake him up while he sleeps. He is in desperate need of rest! You may need to put a crate in a quiet area of the house so he isn’t distracted by the noise during naptime.
When it comes to bedtime, some owners set aside a specific time to tuck their puppies to sleep. Others simply want him to go to sleep when they do. Setting a puppy’s bedtime and helping him get used to the routine may be easier.
Is It Necessary to Make a Schedule for My Puppy?
The sooner you set a schedule, the easier it will be for him to adjust to his new family and for you to adjust to him. Routine makes it easier for everyone, including humans, to understand what is and is not acceptable behavior. Keep in mind that the antics of a cute puppy, as well as small “accidents,” will not be so cute when he’s a full-grown dog. The example schedule provided below is a good place to start; you may need to modify it to fit your puppy’s needs.
An Example of a Puppy Schedule
- Take the puppy out first thing in the morning to relieve himself. After he’s finished his business, make some time to play and interact with him.
- At breakfast, feed the puppy. Allow no more than 15 minutes for the food to sit. Pick up the bowl after that and don’t give any more food until the next meal (except for small treats used for training). Clean the water bowl and fill it with fresh water.
- After the puppy’s breakfast: Puppies usually need to go potty again within a few minutes of eating, so give them another chance. After that, spend some time with your puppy playing and/or doing some training. Even if everyone is rushing to get ready for work or school in the morning, take a quick walk with him to give him another chance to do his business.
- Mid-morning: Spend the rest of the morning napping, preferably in a dog crate or pen. Even if you’re home during the day, your puppy should spend time in a crate or pen to learn how to be alone. It’s also impossible to predict what a puppy will do if you step away for a moment, so there needs to be somewhere for him to go when you can’t directly supervise him. If he’ll be alone for longer than he can control his bladder or bowels, you should set up a pen with a designated area for him to relieve himself—or hire a pet sitter to come and take him out.
- Noon: A repeat of the early morning routine – a trip outside as soon as he wakes up. The meal should be followed by lunch and another trip outside. Spend some time with him, both playing and training him, so he can get some exercise. Before the afternoon nap, don’t forget to take one more potty break!
- Midafternoon: When he wakes up, it’s time to go out — again.It’s time to play and train once more. Then it’s time to go potty. If you’re at home, he can spend some time with you before dinner.
- Dinner: If you schedule his mealtimes around yours, it will become second nature to feed him while you’re cooking or while the rest of the dinner is eating. However, keep an eye on him so you can take him outside as soon as he’s done. It’s a good idea to give the puppy a chew toy to play with in his crate before the family sits down to dinner. This way, he won’t get tangled up in the carpet, and no one will be tempted to give him scraps from the table.
- Another potty break in the evening! Early evening is a good time for a lot of interaction. This is the “witching hour” for many puppies, and if you anticipate it by initiating play, he may settle down. Give him a treat and let him settle in the crate for a while if he doesn’t, even after plenty of exercise. Later in the evening, he goes for a walk to get some exercise and to use the restroom. Also, make sure he uses the restroom before going to bed.
- Bedtime: Having a set bedtime helps with his adjustment and house training. It makes no difference whether it’s 8 p.m. or 12 a.m., as long as it becomes a routine. Take him to his crate and settle him in, getting him comfortable for the night.
- Night: If your puppy still can’t sleep through the night, set an alarm to wake you up and take him out for a quick, boring potty break. It’s better to get up a little earlier than you think he will, so you don’t react to his whining and barking. Then it’s back to bed to get ready for another fantastic day with your puppy!
If you establish a routine from the start, you’ll be well on your way to a happy, well-adjusted dog. It’s worth investing the time and effort now to ensure that bad habits and behaviors don’t take hold.