Your Puppy’s Schedule

Great Puppy Schedule Tips

August 31, 2022
Puppy Schedule

Table of Contents

A puppy schedule is important

One of the most common questions our Forever Homes ask on Adoption Day is “What is my puppy’s schedule?”

We do recommend that you are intentional in helping your puppy adjust to your family’s routine. Puppies love predictability! Your puppy schedule should include regular times of feeding, potty breaks, naps and playtime.

Also keep in mind that your puppy is still a baby and needs regular naps throughout the day. Puppies are den-animals and feel safe in their crate for nap time and overnight sleeping. We highly recommend crate-training and the puppy schedule below uses your puppy’s crate to give them space to rest.

Check out our article for tips on how to successfully introduce the crate to your puppy. https://www.crockettdoodles.com/resources/how-to-crate-train-your-puppy

While each puppy and each family are unique, here is a general puppy schedule to help your pup acclimate to your home, feel safe, be well-socialized and continue growing. Puppies respond well to a predictable schedule and this one will also support the house-training process.

Puppy Schedule Play Time

Morning Puppy Schedule

Potty Break

Pick up your puppy out of his crate and hold him until you have arrived at the location where you want him to go to the bathroom. Then put him down to do his business. If you would like to train your puppy to use one location in your yard, this training begins now and you can put down your puppy in the same location each time.

Breakfast

Bring your puppy back inside to eat his breakfast and have a long drink of water. How much should you feed your puppy? We recommend that you consult your vet and the informational panel on your puppy’s dog food to answer this question. Puppies need more food as they grow and will seem hungrier some weeks than others. Once your puppy is finished growing, you’ll want to transition him to adult dog food.

Keep your puppy’s food area free of other distractions like other pets, children or toys. You want to help him learn to focus on the task at hand and babies are easily distracted!  We do not recommend you leave your pup’s food bowl down for free-grazing throughout the day as this will negatively affect house-training.

Typically, within 15 minutes of eating, your puppy will need to relieve himself again. Keep your eye on him to learn his cues of when he is ready. Puppies begin to sniff for a place to “go” and sometimes walk in a circle to hunt for the perfect spot.

Potty Break

As soon as you see your puppy’s potty cues or after he has eaten, pick him up again and place him down outside where you want him to “go.”  This is typically when your puppy will take care of both his #1 and #2 business for the morning.

Playtime

Now it’s time to play! Puppies need to run and roughhouse to build their muscles and coordination. Invest in good toys to allow your pup to tug, chew, and wrestle and spend time playing with him. Socialization is a critical part of your puppy’s development and playtime is an excellent opportunity for this!

Allow your puppy access to his water bowl during play.

You can play outside or inside but keep your eye on your puppy during play time in case he begins to give you his potty cues again. If he does, promptly pick him up, and place him down in the area where you want him to take care of his business.

During play time, you may want to take your puppy for a walk and work on leash training. Please remember not to take your puppy for walks where other unvaccinated animals may have been until your puppy has had all his required vaccinations. Puppies explore their worlds with their feet and mouths. They are still working to build up their immune systems and can easily pick up parasites that cause digestive upset if they are exposed while young when they haven’t received all their vaccinations.

Potty Break

Once again, read your puppy’s cues. When they begin to tire during play time, they will typically lie down for a minute and you’ll notice when they aren’t as active. Most puppies want to play an hour or so, but this is unique to your puppy. Before nap time, take your puppy outside again to the spot where you want him to do his business.

Nap Time

After you pup has relieved himself, pick him up, snuggle him for a few minutes, and tell him that it’s nap time using whatever words you want to train him to recognize to mean that it’s time to quiet down and nap in his crate. Place him in his crate, make sure he’s comfortable, and then leave him alone to rest.

We do recommend that your pup’s crate is in your family room or an area where your family uses often as puppies are pack animals and need to be near their people. In a pup’s mind, being separated from their pack feels like they are being rejected or punished. You can also drape a loose sheet over your pup’s crate to give it that “den” feel so he can truly rest from the distractions of the household while still allowing him to hear the activity.

Puppy Schedule Nap Time

Afternoon Puppy Schedule

Potty Break

Your afternoon schedule is the same as your morning schedule. When your puppy wakes up from his nap, pick him up and take him outside for a potty break.

Lunch

Bring him in to enjoy his lunch and get a nice long drink. Remember to make it as distraction-free as possible.

Potty Break

Follow his cues again to know when he’s ready to take care of business.

Playtime

Spend time playing with your puppy again until he’s tired. Allow him to drink freely. Watch for potty cues during playtime.

Potty Break

Before nap time, be sure to allow your puppy one last potty break.

Nap Time

Using the same familiar comforting words, put your puppy into his crate for nap time.

Evening Puppy Schedule

Potty Break

When your puppy wakes up from his nap, pick him up and take him outside for a potty break.

Dinner

Bring him in to enjoy his dinner and get a nice long drink. Remember to make it as distraction-free as possible.

Potty Break

Follow his cues again to know when he’s ready to take care of business.

Playtime

Spend time playing with your puppy again until he’s tired.

Potty Break

Your pup will need a potty break before every nap time.

Nap Time

Using the same familiar comforting words, put your puppy into his crate for nap time.

Puppy Schedule Bed Time

Putting your Puppy to Bed for the Evening

Potty Break

After your pup’s evening nap – which you may want to make a bit shorter than his other daily naps depending on when your family goes to bed – take him outside for a potty break.

Playtime/Potty Break

Now is the time to play with your puppy with the intention of helping him tire out. Running around the yard together, teaching him to fetch and return a ball, or any other exercise that helps him get worn out and ready for bed is excellent!

During playtime, he will likely need to potty again. If you’re playing inside, just watch for his cues so you can take him outside to do his business.

You can certainly allow your puppy a drink of water after playtime but avoid allowing him to drink the entire dish of water as this will be a major factor in how difficult it is for him to “hold it” during the night.

Bedtime

Using the same words and bedtime activities each night, tuck your puppy into his crate to sleep. Again, your puppy wants to be able to hear his people but needs to be in a safe location in case he wakes up during the night while you’re sleeping. A crate in your bedroom is a great location! You can also drape the sheet over it again if it helps your puppy to settle more quickly.

The first week or so your puppy is home, plan that you will have limited sleep. It’s much like having a new baby! Your pup will miss his littermates and mama and need some time to adjust to you as his new family.

How often should you take your puppy on potty breaks during the night to avoid accidents? This depends on your puppy’s age. Please read our in-depth article on House Training for great tips on making this process as smooth as possible

https://www.crockettdoodles.com/resources/housebreaking-your-puppy

Other Notes

Your puppy should never be left alone unsupervised with babies or young children. How a puppy is accustomed to communicating with his siblings (with their mouths and paws) can be confusing to young children who think the puppy is “biting” them when actually the puppy is simply playing happily.

Your puppy should always be crated when you leave the house for their own safety. Just make sure you give him a potty break before you leave and immediately after you get home.

Your puppy will need to chew! Please be careful to supervise your puppy as he plays with toys only allowing soft stuffed toys when you are present. Stuffed toys can rip easily, and your pup can ingest stuffing which will cause serious digestive issues. When you leave the house, leave sturdy simple plastic puppy chewing toys in their crate to enjoy while you are gone. Save the fluffy stuffed toys for when you are playing with them.

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