The Importance of Creating a Routine for Your Puppy
Adding a puppy to your family is a super exciting time! So many firsts are ahead for you and your new furry family member. Before bringing your pup home, there are lots of things to consider, like: what food will you feed them? Have you puppy-proofed your house? Are you crate training? What toys should you buy them? Another important thing to consider is creating (and sticking to) a schedule for your puppy.
Having a schedule right from the start will help set your puppy up for success. Dogs do very well when they have a routine to follow – it helps them know what to expect for the day ahead. Standard meal times, set times for walks, and regular potty breaks will also help with training.
Take your puppy outside for potty breaks every one-to-four hours. Having potty breaks at set times throughout the day will also help with potty training.
If you're crate training your puppy, immediately take them outside for a potty break after they come out of their crate. It's also a good idea to take your puppy outside after mealtimes, after sleeping, before and after bedtime, and before and after training.
Establish Meal Times
Puppies have a whole lot of growing to do. Because of that, they need to be fed more frequently than older dogs. Many puppies need to be fed three times per day. It can be helpful to have your puppy's mealtimes mirror your own. You can also set alarms throughout the day to ensure your pup gets fed on time.
Playtime is a great opportunity for your puppy to get some exercise and bond with you. This could be chasing a ball, playing in the yard, or exploring the neighborhood. Because puppies are still growing, strenuous exercise (such as long runs) is not recommended. Instead of one long play session, shorter sessions throughout the day are better for a young pup.
Playtime can also be used to work on training. When it comes to training, short sessions filled with positive reinforcement (lots of praise and treats) keep training interesting and something your puppy will look forward to.
Setting time aside each day to ensure your new puppy is properly socialized will go a long way in setting them up for a lifetime of success. Once it's safe to do so (ask your vet), gradually introducing puppies to new people, places, and things will help your pup feel happy and confident in a variety of situations, instead of being unsure or fearful. Some of the keys to proper socialization are positive reinforcement and small steps – you don't want to overwhelm your puppy and create negative associations with the things you're trying to introduce them to!
Downtime is very important for a growing pup. Some puppies need to sleep for over 16 hours each day, so it's imperative they get the time they need to rest. Having scheduled nap times throughout the day and a set bedtime can help ensure your puppy gets enough sleep.
If you have any questions about the benefits of having a schedule for your puppy or if you would like help creating one, the Puppyland team is here to help!