Creating a Puppy Routine!
When you get a new puppy, it’s only natural to want to simply hang out with them and play and cuddle all day. Unfortunately, there are a number of things that you need to do in those first few days and weeks — both to make sure that your new pup stays healthy and to establish good behavior patterns. Rest assured that the work you put in now will pay off tenfold in the long run.
When your full-grown adult dog is balanced, well-behaved, and the envy of all your Pack Leader neighbors, you’ll be glad you took good care of her right from the beginning.
Getting into a routine
One of the most important things you need to do for your puppy right off the bat is to establish a routine. Though it will be difficult initially for you to decide on a routine that will work for you, your family, and your puppy, don't wait too long to figure it out.
Here are some of the most important things to make sure you have on your puppy schedule:
Your new puppy is doing his best to become a full-grown adult dog. But in order to do so, he’s going to need to eat more frequently than an adult. Where you can feed many adult dogs twice a day — or even just once — puppies need to be fed three times a day like people.
Sound like a lot of work? Well, the good news is that you can plan your pup’s meals more or less around your own. An example of when to feed him are around 7:00 am in the morning, at noon, and then again at 5:00pm or 8:00am in the morning, at 2:00pm and 8:00pm (whatever works for you to get evenly spaced meals!). You’ll want to follow this schedule for the first 3 to 4 months of your pup’s life. Then you can switch to twice-a-day feedings unless your vet recommends continuing more frequent meals.
Establishing a routine for eating times is especially important. With a set feeding schedule, your puppy will learn when to expect food and will be less likely to beg between designated meal times.
Whether you call it housebreaking, house-training, or potty-training, there are some simple and basic rules to follow while teaching your puppy to "go" outside. We've outlined some of the house-training basics below:
Carry puppy to the outdoor place you intend to use as his "toilet area." Ideally, this would be a spot close to the door that you'll use whenever you take him out. Have some puppy treats on hand or in your pocket (some of his regular kibble will do), and put him down in that spot. When he squats to pee, give him some kibble and praise him.
Puppies under the age of 10 weeks have no control of their bladder or bowels. This means they should be taken out every hour that they are awake. (Luckily, puppies sleep a lot, too.) It helps to have each family member take a regular "shift" for house-training the puppy, so the responsibility doesn't turn into a burden for one person.
If the puppy has an "accident" in the house (and he will), do not react either negatively or positively. Simply remove the pup from the area and immediately clean it with Nature's Miracle or another enzyme cleanser that will erase any lingering scents.
As the pup gets older, he can spend longer periods of time in his crate before being taken out. A general, almost-universally accepted rule is that a puppy can control his bladder one hour for each month of his age, so a three-month-old puppy is usually able to control his bladder for three hours before he has to go.
Even if you're taking the puppy on frequent trips outside, there will be other times he has to go. Watch for puppy behaviors like suddenly replacing playing with sniffing around; it usually means he's looking for a place to pee, so it's better to be safe and take him outside immediately. Also, within 5-10 minutes (sometimes less!) after a puppy eats or drinks -- and as soon as he wakes up from a nap/sleep -- are ideal times to take him outside.
Very young puppies can’t get into any kind of formal training class right away, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be teaching him some basics every day.
Begin with important words like “good,” “bad,” and “no”. Keep these words simple and be consistent with which ones you use. Your dog needs to get used to hearing the same words in order to associate the same meanings with them each time.
Teaching your puppy to sit, lay down, come, stay, etc. should be done in short and fun training sessions. Your puppy has a short attention span, so stay upbeat and consistent!
Exercise and play
Starting to think you’re never going to have any fun with your new puppy? Well, you can relax, because it’s also important to build time for exercise and play into your schedule.
Ideally, you want to begin your pup’s day with exercise before she has her first meal. After breakfast, try a pack walk (if she’s too young to go off your property, you can do this around the house or yard) followed by some bonding or play time. You’ll repeat this general routine throughout each day. Exercise, meal, exercise, bonding, meal, and so on.
By creating a good schedule for your puppy and starting small with tasks like feeding times, potty times, teaching keywords, and exercising and playing, you will not only save yourself innumerable future headaches, you’ll also ensure that your new bundle of joy grows up to be the best that he can be.