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This is a sample day that hopefully you can adjust to meet your schedule and your puppy's needs. You can change the time frames, but try to keep the daily stats the same as below for the best outcome. When puppies needs are met, they are be happy, thrive and grow and to turn into dogs that you love to be around. Each day includes the following: (1) Food -2 meals and hand-fed as rewards throughout the day. (2) Sleep. (3) House training. (4)Training, manners, learning to live in house with people. (5) Mental Exercise. (6) Physical exercise. The following schedule will meet puppy's needs within a schedule for a working person with a 9-5 job Monday thru Friday. Evenings and weekends are time to step up puppy's socialization and training time. Take your puppy in the car at least twice a week. Find a training class or a safe place for puppy to meet other dogs (Invite friends with social dogs to your house, take your pup to friends with dogs' yards). Take your pup somewhere new -a park, another walking route, a store that welcomes dogs, etc.) I recommend having the following things on hand: an appropriately sized crate, an ex-pen or gated area; 2 Kongs, a Kibble Nibble or other treat dispensing toy (s); bully sticks, cow hooves, safe dental chews, plush toys that squeak, a tug-toy, something to chase -tennis balls, Jolly Ball, frisbee, Tail Teaser; a dog bed; a water bowl which is always accessible; a collar, harness and leash; poop bags; high-quality puppy food; and some various healthy treats -boiled chicken, freeze-dried liver, etc.
6am - Wake up and take puppy outside to toilet. Deliver treat within one second of puppy eliminating. (3, 4)
6:10am - 7am Feed puppy in a gated area from a Kibble Nibble filled with dry, loose kibble and a Kong stuffed and frozen (which you prepared the night before) while you shower and prepare for work. Don't forget to wait for puppy to sit before giving him his food. (1, 4, 5)
7am- Take puppy out to toilet again. Treat when he goes. (3)
7:10-8am -Puppy is loose in house under your supervision. Spend time tossing a toy for puppy while you have coffee. Ask your puppy to come, sit and down 10 times each and reward with a treat. Ignore puppy intermittently (while still watching him!) during this time and answer emails, check phone, do dishes, etc. (4, 5)
8-8:30 -Walk puppy. Treat within one second when he eliminates. (5, 6, 3)
8:30am -12:30pm -In crate for nap and confinement when you are at work. Leave puppy with a safe chewy toy (Kong with a liver treat stuck deep inside, a bully stick, a nylabone). (2)
12:30-12-50pm -You are on lunch break or have arranged for someone to tend to your puppy. Puppy is taken outside for a 20 minute walk. Treat within one second when he eliminates. (5, 6, 3)
12:50-1:15pm: Play with puppy free in the house. Tug-of-war, Tail Teaser, toss a ball, and/or play and train with treats when puppy responds correctly. Eat your lunch while puppy if free. Take pup out one more time to toilet before you head back to work. Treat him if he goes. (6, 4, 3, 5)
1:15pm-5:15pm: In crate with a safe chew toy. (2)
5:15pm -5:30pm: Take puppy out to toilet and reward him when he goes. (3)
5:30 -6pm: In gated area with a food stuffed Kong and a Kibble Nibble. Good time for you to wind down, check in with family, and cook dinner. (1, 5)
6pm-6:30pm-free in house -play, train or love your puppy. Watch puppy for signs of needed to go out! Eat dinner. (4, 5)
6:30-7:15 - Evening exercise time: Play in the backyard, walk pup around neighborhood, take him to a local park, find empty tennis courts and let him run free, walk on the beach, etc. (3, 5, 6)
7:15 -9:30 -free in house with supervision. Watch pup for sign of needing to go out. Respond to any cues you see. Good time for a chewy like a bully stick or other safe chew. Spend 5-10 minutes training whatever pup needs -come, sit, down, on and off couch, etc. (4, 3, 5)
9:30-9:45 -short walk outside or time in yard to toilet before bed. Treat if he goes. (3, 5. 6)
9:45-10pm: Snuggle your puppy. Measure tomorrow's daily food portion and use it to load Kibble Nibble, 2 Kongs and leave the rest in a Tupperware on the counter for toileting treats and training. There should be no food remaining from the day after 9:30 pm. Prepare Kongs and pop them in the freezer for the next day.
10-6pm -In crate for the night. No chewy, no big fuss. Only attend to pup in the night if he cries out to toilet. (2)
8 scheduled opportunities to toilet outside as well as appropriate supervision and confinement to assist house training.
16 hours to sleep in crate
2 scheduled feeding times and treats throughout the day for toileting and training. The feedings are completely from toys to encourage acceptable chewing, to decrease mouthiness and to provide mental stimulation and keep pup busy for longer than eating from a bowl.
Training and manners is happening all day with several specific opportunities to practice in 5-10 minute periods. Walking, sitting for toys and food, rewarding proper toileting and proper supervision and confinement all teach pup how to behave.
6 opportunities for mental exercise -eating from toys, playing with you and training time. There are also other chances to chew with also count as mental stimulation.
Three scheduled walks totally 95 minutes as well as anything else you add during pup's free time in the house with you.
8 hours a day pup is free in house, semi-confined in a gated area or is outside.
5 specific opportunities to chew appropriate items.
This is a vigorous schedule, but you have a puppy! This won't last forever. The more you rotate toys and exercise your pup physically and mentally, the easier it will be. Some of your personal goals may have to be put on hold while you raise your puppy. You may need to hire a neighbor or a dog sitter/walker to help you. Make friends with dogs and trade off sitting time. Hire a trainer for more help with anything that isn't working for you...sooner than later!
Between 4 and 6 months your pup should be able to sleep freely in your house, which will eliminate 8 hours in his crate! Between 8 months and 14 months he can be transitioned out of his crate and into the house without supervision, eliminating another 8 hours in a crate. By the time your puppy is a year, he will only need one or two good walks a day to maintain him physically. Mental exercise and training should continue throughout your dog's lifetime.
A crate can be very useful if you own a dog. It is very helpful for house-training, home alone training, to prevent destructiveness and may serve as a dog’s safe area. It’s good to train a dog to be comfortable while confined in a crate to help it at the vet, groomer, during travel and if the dog needs to be confined for any other reason. A crate should not be where the dog spends most of its time.
A crate should be purchased to fit your dog when it is fully grown. It should be big enough for the dog to stand upright, turn around and sleep in comfortably. If the crate is housing a puppy, a portion can be blocked off to suit the size of the puppy and more space can be given as it grows. Some crates come with a divider, or a cardboard box can fill up the space nicely for dogs that don’t chew. If a puppy or dog eliminates in a crate, it has most likely been left in the crate longer than it could hold its bladder. The crate only encourages puppies to hold “it.” It’s not a magic teacher. Many dog owners make the mistake of leaving the puppy too long in the crate when no one is home, causing the puppy to have a negative experience in the crate.
A puppy should only be left in a crate for as many hours as its age in months plus one. If you have a three month old puppy, it shouldn’t be confined to a crate longer than four hours without being given the freedom to eliminate and get some mental and physical exercise. The crate is a tool and its use should be adjusted with the age and progress of the puppy. It’s proper to use the crate to teach a puppy to hold it bladder while indoors. As the puppy learns this, it should be in the crate less and less over time. By six months, most puppies should have earned their freedom in the house and going in the crate should be a choice, not a necessity.
When puppies are crated for too many hours and for too many months they, as well as their owners, become reliant on the crate to control the puppy’s behavior. This is very detrimental. Dogs are not meant to be caged. Crating a dog for a workday of 8-10 hours often results in an under exercised, mentally and physically under stimulated dog. This can lead to hyperactivity, destructiveness, mouthing, barking and jumping as a means to get the attention and stimulation dogs crave. It becomes a vicious cycle. Owners crate the dog to prevent such things, but crating the dog also causes these behaviors to develop. As soon as a puppy is crate trained, there needs to be a plan to give the puppy more freedom and teach it how to behave in the house.
If you are interested in more information on crate training or need more information on raising a puppy, you may call me or read Before and After Getting Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar or Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Dr. Sophia Yin.
For dogs that do not like to go in the crate, here is a video of me helping one dog re-learn to like his crate.