If you subscribe to my newsletters then you probably already heard the exciting news — my parents adopted a new puppy. Meet Pippa the blue-eyed Chihuahua! With a new puppy taking over their home, they’re now reminded of the many demands and responsibilities that come along with a young puppy. All you dog parents know exactly what I’m talking about—the high energy, teething, world exploration, and constant need to go to the bathroom! The best tip I can offer anyone welcoming a young puppy into their home? Implement a schedule immediately! Because all dogs—and dog parents—thrive on consistency.
When developing your daily routine, there are a few things you should take into consideration. Read on for some scheduling tips. Plus, scroll down to the bottom of this post for a sample schedule created by the AKC.
Unlike adult dogs who eat twice a day, you’ll want to fill your puppy’s food bowl three times per day. This is a pretty easy schedule to implement since you can coordinate your puppy’s meal times to match your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Spacing out several smaller meals throughout the day is beneficial for a few reasons:
- Smaller meals are easier for puppies to digest.
- More frequent meals help to maintain a stabilized blood sugar, meaning energy levels don’t peak and fall so much.
- Carefully portioned meals will help prevent your puppy from overeating.
When it comes to portion sizes, consult with your veterinarian. Nutritional requirements vary from dog to dog and will depend on your canine’s individual breed, body type, and metabolism.
This is essential in the potty training phase. You’ll want to schedule potty breaks first thing in the morning, immediately after eating, after playtime, after naps, and right before bed. Plus, you’ll likely take a few walks in between it all. Since young puppies don’t have full control over their bladders, it’s best to schedule potty breaks every two-four hours throughout the day.
The quicker you start teaching your puppy commands and other good habits, the better. Check out this list of 4 Essential Commands to Teach Your Puppy. Then, carve out a few minutes each day to work on them.
Puppies have a lot of energy and love to play! Make sure to set aside some time each day to play with your pooch—whether you engage in a gentle game of tug-of-war or toss a toy across the room for fetch.
Along with scheduling some indoor playtime, get outdoors around people. The prime socialization period for a dog is typically between 6-14 weeks old so it’s important to expose your dog to as many sights, sounds, and experiences as possible.
When you first bring home your new puppy, you may be surprised how quickly they gas out. Puppies get a jolt of energy and then get super tired. So how much sleep do young puppies require? Some will sleep as much as 16-18 hours a day. Along with planning for a full night of sleep (fingers crossed), schedule in a few naps throughout the day.
A Sample Schedule
This sample schedule was created by the AKC and is a great starting point when developing your own routine!