By Kezia Gray, Apprentice Puppy Raising Supervisor
Dogs thrive when they know what to expect from their environment, so it is important to try to provide that structure for them. There are several key factors to consider when establishing a daily routine for your dog.
The most essential parts of the routine are feeding and relieving, which are determined based on the dog’s age. For puppies, they usually feed and relieve more frequently than an adult dog.
Other important factors in a daily routine are playtime, walks, mental stimulation (training exercises), quiet time and alone time. This may seem like a lot to add to a routine already filled with other responsibilities; however, they don’t have to interfere with your entire day.
A training exercise only requires 5 to 10 minutes a day and the results are invaluable. Alone time and quiet time can both be incorporated into your normal routine, such as allowing your dog to be alone in another room of the house while you spend time working at your laptop.
Integrating these different activities into your daily routine supports the dog’s independence, confidence and overall wellbeing. While routines are important, you don't want to be too strict about them, as it eases the dog’s ability to cope with future changes.
If a dog’s routine is the exact same every day, they will have difficulty adjusting to potential changes in the future – such as a new work schedule, someone new living in the home or moving to a new house. Structure your routines in a way that suits both you and the dog, while being sure to incorporate variety.