Updated - Apr 11th, 2023
Whether your puppy is a few weeks or months old, it’s important to create a good puppy training schedule early.
As you introduce your puppy to new environments, there is much to learn. From leash training to potty training to basic tricks and commands, so much goes into dog training. You might wonder, “How will I fit this all into my day-to-day?”
We’re here to help! The earlier you get your puppy into a daily routine, the better. So we’ve created a sample training schedule that you can adapt to your lifestyle. If you stick to a daily schedule, you’ll have a tail-wagging, well-trained adult dog before you know it!
Why is a puppy training schedule important?
Bringing a new puppy home can be overwhelming, but establishing a puppy training schedule can make all the difference! A puppy training schedule creates structure in your pup’s day, which helps them feel secure in their environment. It also helps to prevent potential dog behavioral problems like chewing, digging, and aggression!
A training schedule also helps strengthen your bond with your furry friend. The more time you spend interacting with your puppy, the stronger your bond will be.
Furthermore, a puppy schedule is essential for a smooth transition as your puppy ages. As they grow, their needs and behavior change. So, having an established routine makes it easier to adjust to any new challenges.
By the way, having a puppy schedule does not benefit only your furry friend. It also makes things easier for you and your family. A schedule can help ensure predictability and make divvying up responsibilities easier.
What your puppy needs in their daily schedule
Your puppy’s daily schedule should include a few key activities:
New puppies need lots of sleep, typically 16-20 hours daily! With their brains soaking up so much new information, it’s no surprise they crave rest.
You’ll notice your pup dozing off after any energy-consuming activity. Here’s a peek at a typical puppy’s nap times:
- Mid-morning: Post-mealtime and playtime or training.
- Post-lunch: Ideal for napping and digestion.
- Evening: Time to unwind and process food and info.
- Nighttime: Expect many potty breaks during this extended nap or bedtime.
Play and training
New puppies have big, brilliant minds but teeny attention spans. So, they need training activities like obedience training. To maximize training sessions, keep them brief (5 minutes is perfect!). This way, you avoid exhaustion which can breed confusion!
Obedience training can help teach your puppy basic commands, such as sit, stay, come, and heel. This can make daily life easier and safer for you and your puppy. Positive reinforcement is another great way to train your puppy. It helps reward good behavior and reinforces desired actions. You can use puppy training treats, toys, and praise to encourage your puppy to behave well.
Puppy socialization is also important! With socialization, puppies learn how to interact with other dogs, humans, and their environment positively. Be sure to take your puppy to new places with new sights, sounds, and smells – so long as they’re caught up with their puppy vaccine schedule, that is!
New puppies need a lot of potty breaks. Their tiny bladders just can’t hold it in too long. At 8 weeks, they might need a wee every hour! Don’t fret; as they grow, they’ll control their urges better. Puppy crate training can help, but there’s no need to rush. Trust the process, puppy parents! (And stock up on those puppy pads…)
Sticking to a consistent puppy feeding schedule is so important to help your puppy build a routine and aid in their growth. New puppies usually eat 3 times a day, making consistency easy. Inconsistent mealtimes can lead to unpredictable potty breaks and more accidents!
Most pups may need to go within 30 minutes of eating, while other pups can hold it longer if they nap or stay calm. Keeping a consistent feeding schedule can help you keep track of your puppy’s potty patterns and help you anticipate their next “break.” This is the beauty of a good puppy training schedule – meal times help potty training and vice versa!
Take your new puppy on a 15-20 minute neighborhood walk. While it may be tempting to let them roam around in a yard, it’s important to get them used to walking on a leash and explore the world beyond their home base.
Creating perfect puppy training schedule
Creating the ideal schedule for your puppy doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Each family is unique; the secret is to harmonize your pup’s routine with yours and the rest of the household.
Resist the urge to build a rigid schedule based on your puppy’s needs during the initial days. This might lead to stress for both of you when you need to adjust later on to accommodate your schedule.
Instead, sync your puppy’s bedtime with yours. You can also squeeze in delightful doggy activities that suit your daily agenda. And don’t forget to make time for snoozes, play, and snuggles.
Tips for creating a strong puppy training schedule schedule:
- Set good intentions early: Organize potty breaks, meal-times, play & training sessions, nap-time, and bedtime.
- Keep treats nearby at all times – the sooner you can positively reinforce good behavior the better.
- Sync up your pup’s schedule with your schedule to the best of your ability.
- Remain flexible to prevent undue stress for you and your pup – it’s an evolving process!
- Prioritize rest and cuddle time – especially in the early days.
- Remember, this is an adjustment for you, too.
Sample puppy training schedule
As we’ve said, there is no one-size-fits-all puppy training schedule – but it’s important to start somewhere. If you’re looking for a good jumping-off point, we created this customizable training schedule you can adapt to your pup’s unique needs.
Wake and potty break
After you wake up, take your puppy outside to relieve themself. Make sure you play and interact with them afterward! This is a great time to work on leash training.
Breakfast of champions
Feed your puppy by leaving out a bowl filled with your pet’s favorite puppy food for only 15 minutes. This gives them enough time to eat but not enough time to graze. Wash their water bowl, too, and fill it up with clean water. Then, take away the food bowl until the next meal.
Post-breakfast potty breaks
Once your new puppy finishes breakfast, it’s time for a potty break. While this may seem excessive, remember your puppy has no idea what the rules are or where to do their business. It’s better to play it safe and get them into the mindset of eating food, waiting to go outside, then going potty! When they go outside, be sure to give them a treat and lots of praise.
Once your puppy has eaten and taken a potty break, they’ll usually be ready for a nap. Try getting your pup to nap in their crate to help them feel like their crate is their safe space. Not only can this help ensure they feel comfortable when home alone, but it also teaches bladder control.
Serve your puppy’s next meal as you did for breakfast, sandwiched between potty breaks and playtime. Try keeping their food bowl down for no more than 15 minutes.
After lunch stroll
Post-lunch is the perfect time for a leash walk potty break with your pup. Remember to reward their good behavior with puppy training treats and praises.
After your delightful stroll, your worn-out pup will crave another nap. Don’t worry if your puppy sleeps a lot – growing requires rest! Once they’re awake and refreshed, it’s potty time (again!).
Next, it’s playtime, training sessions, and potty breaks galore. This is a great moment to reward good behavior with a fun chew toy and some affectionate puppy smooches. Keep the positive reinforcement coming, and watch your little one flourish!
It’s time for a delicious dinner for you and your puppy! Serve your puppy’s dinner before or after your own, but not simultaneously. When enjoying your dinner, try offering your pup a chew toy or a peanut butter kong in their crate. This helps to avoid any mealtime confusion and discourages begging at the table.
Before-bed potty break
Your puppy will need one (or two!) last potty breaks before bedtime. Take your pup for some walks and let them relieve themselves before settling in for the night. Remember, every time they go outside, give them a treat and some praise!
Bedtime and beyond
A regularly scheduled bedtime makes house training easier. The exact time your puppy goes to bed doesn’t matter, as long as it’s consistent. If your puppy can’t make it through the night without peeing on your floor, set an alarm so that you can get up for a quick potty break
As your puppy drifts off to sleep, leave a comfortable and secure bed for them in their crate. During the first few nights, your puppy may whine or bark to let you know they need to go out (or are just scared!). While it may break your heart (and cause some sleepless nights) it’s important to be patient and know they will fall into a normal sleeping pattern in due time.
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Do I have to create a schedule for my puppy?
Creating a schedule for your puppy will benefit you greatly in the long run. A schedule helps establish routines, aids in potty training, and strengthens your bond. While it’s not technically mandatory to create a schedule for your puppy, most experts recommend it. We say why not? There are no hard and fast rules so you can make it your own!
How many naps should a puppy have during the day?
Puppies need a lot of sleep during the day to retain and process all the new information they’re receiving. Your puppy may take around four naps a day plus their nighttime sleep. While it may be surprising, know that it’s completely normal.
Avoid disturbing your puppy when they’re napping. Disturbance can make them feel vulnerable and affect their sleep quality. A well-rested puppy is a well-behaved puppy!
What is the best daily routine for a puppy?
The best daily routine for a puppy is the one that works for you. So long as it includes consistent feeding and potty times, playtime, short training sessions, exercise, and plenty of rest and cuddles, you can’t go wrong. The best routine is one that builds a safe ad secure environment for your pup but is also flexible and can evolve over time.
What is the hardest time for a puppy?
The first few weeks of a puppy’s life can be overwhelming. They have to learn to adjust to a new environment and be away from their littermates and mother. This transition period can cause separation anxiety and stress for your pup. But don’t worry! You can help ease this tough time for your furry friend with lots of TLC and routine. Take it from us – you are doing great!
The perfect puppy training schedule is the one that works for you
Establishing a routine is crucial for your puppy’s success, but it’s definitely easier said than done. If you find yourself struggling, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Things will fall into place with practice and consistency. Remember: find what works for you because what works for one dog doesn’t work for all.
- KUTSUMI, A., NAGASAWA, M., OHTA, M., & OHTANI, N. (2013). Importance of Puppy Training for Future Behavior of the Dog. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 75(2), 141–149. https://doi.org/10.1292/jvms.12-0008
- Vieira de Castro, A. C., Araújo, Â., Fonseca, A., & Olsson, I. A. S. (2021). Improving dog training methods: Efficacy and efficiency of reward and mixed training methods. PloS one, 16(2), e0247321. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247321