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The Importance of a Good Routine for your Dog

A golden retriever is walking outside in the grass on a sunny day.

Any good owner will know the importance of a good routine for your dog, especially when it comes to acclimatising a new dog into your home. At first it might be a struggle, but if you stick to a solid schedule, the dog or puppy will slowly get used to what can be expected throughout the day, and subsequently feel relaxed in their new home.

Owners must take into consideration everything from their lifestyle all the way to what time they might be going to sleep, in order to keep life consistent for a new dog or puppy. Over time though, by keeping the same time for feeding, going to the toilet, grooming and playtime (to name a few), a dog will get used to how their schedule works and adapt to it accordingly.

Below we have a look at general routine, including what to consider in a dog’s schedule. In addition, it’s worth looking at aspects of your own schedule that you can keep consistent to help the dog settle in at home.

Feeding

Initially, you might find that a new dog settling into your home will be used to a different eating regime, so they might not always be hungry when you expect.  Always remove the food after 10 minutes if untouched to avoid creating a fussy eater.

If you have a puppy, they usually eat 3 to 4 meals per day at first, eventually getting down to 2 meals by the time the puppy is 6 months.  For consistency, just make sure they know where their feeding area is.

Sleeping

At first, very young puppies tend to quickly switch from intense playing to deep sleeping, sometimes even every hour. This can be quite difficult at first, especially during the night when you want to get some sleep!

The best way to acclimatise them to sleeping patterns is to give them a consistent sleeping area that they can access when you are about to go to sleep. It is up to your discretion whether you put them to sleep in the same room as you, or in another room where they feel comfortable. It might be a tough process at first, but eventually giving them a routine where they sleep at the same time as you can save a lot of sleepless nights.

In addition, perhaps try leaving an item of clothing in their bed that smells of you, so they feel calm rather than panicked that you’re leaving them. There are also products such as Pheromone Collars that will keep stress levels low and relax them during the night.

Going to the toilet

This can be the toughest routine to get right, but going to the toilet is an important aspect of your dog’s life that needs to be perfected sooner rather than later (to save your carpets at the very least).

As much as encouraging them to go outside can be difficult, by setting out a good routine, this can really help with them understanding when it is time to go to the toilet. The best times to enforce going outside to the toilet are first thing in the morning and last thing at night, although this will also need to be repeated at approximately 1-2 hours after mealtimes.

Initially, there will be a few accidents, but enforcing a consistent routine will ensure they understand where and when it is appropriate to go to the loo. Items such as Puppy Pads can assist with this, especially if you put them next to the back door so they learn to associate that area with the toilet.

For more fantastic tips and tricks, head over to the Simpsons Premium Advice Centre and read up on how you can get your dog well-behaved in no time.

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