Have you been wondering if you need to create a schedule for your dog? We understand that it seems silly to have a schedule for a dog, but honestly, it benefits everyone in the long term. Therefore, if you don’t have a schedule for your dog, you may want to see all the reasons why it is helpful. You may be surprised at what you learn and by how much better your dog acts when you do the same things at the around same time each day.
Before we get into the reasons to have a schedule though, we must state that a schedule does not need to be strict. It simply needs to be specific things you do at basic times throughout the day. In fact, strict schedules can be bad for both you and your dog.
A sample schedule could look like this:
- Wake up and let your dog outside
- Feed your dog while eating breakfast
- Take your dog for walk before work
- Fill your dog’s water bowl with fresh water
- Fill puzzle treat box for your dog
- Have dog walker take your dog for walk during workday
- Have playtime with your dog when you arrive home
- Fill your dog’s water bowl with fresh water
- Feed your dog while eating dinner
- Take your dog for walk
- Have a mini training session with your dog
- Let your dog out one last time before bed
8 Reasons You Must Have a Schedule for Your Dog
1 Prevent Having an Overweight Dog with a Feeding Schedule
How many times have you walked in the door from work and fed the dog, only to find out that your spouse and one of the kids did the same thing when they got home? Yep, we hear that story all the time and this is how some dogs get to be overweight. To avoid having this happen in the future, we recommend having a specific time the dog eats, like when everyone else is eating their dinner. You may also want to have a specific person pouring the food each time as their job.
Some families also mark a sheet off when the dog has been fed. You might even want to consider filling seven containers with food on a Saturday night. Each container can be labeled with the day, so you know the dog has been fed on that day when the container is empty.
2 Scheduled Bathroom Breaks Prevent Accidents
From the time your dog is a puppy, you should have a basic schedule for when they use the bathroom. You should let them out immediately when you wake up in the morning, as well as before you both go to bed at night. Other times you should let them out include after playtime, mealtime, and when they have had a lot of water to drink. By creating a bathroom schedule, you will avoid accidents inside the house.
Of course, you should also listen to your dog when you are home. If they are standing by the door, there is a good chance they have a reason to go outside. Although, it may just be to bark at the birds and squirrels in the yard or the postal carrier or neighbors walking by your house.
3 Playtime Prevents Dogs from Wreaking Havoc
It isn’t a surprise that dogs can get bored easily. To prevent boredom and keep your dogs from chewing your slippers and socks, it is imperative you play with them regularly. A fifteen-minute play session in the backyard twice a day can be helpful. So can rolling a ball or playing tug of war in the house. If you are gone from the house during the day, you might want to leave a few stimulating toys laying around, so your dog can play and amuse themselves until you return.
Puzzle treat boxes, digging toys, and other puzzle toys are perfect options to keep your dog entertained and active when you are not home. We recommend purchasing a few of these and rotating them, so they seem to be new to your dog. After all, your dog is smart, and they will know how to solve the same puzzle quickly after they have seen it a couple days in a row.
4 Walks Will Tire Your Dog Out
Walking your dog at scheduled times throughout the day will tire them out. This will allow them to nap at the same time each day. And when they nap at the same time each day, they won’t oversleep and be up all night. Basically, you want to space the walks out, so your dog gets the exercise they need with adequate rest in between. And one last walk before bed will help dreamland set in that much faster.
If you are not home during the day, we recommend hiring a dog walker to ensure your dog gets outside for some exercise. Most dog walkers can be available every day or just on the days you need them. You just need to find a dog walker who can accommodate your schedule.
5 Continuous Training Helps with Behavior
Once you train your dog, you may think you never need to go back and work on those skills again. After all, they know what they are doing and perform everything you ask them to do. However, continuous training on schedule will only improve your dog’s behavior. You can even use your scheduled training times to teach your dog a few new tricks.
It is important to note that your dog is always willing to learn new things. They are also always learning. So, do not fall for the trap of thinking your dog doesn’t need to be stimulated with new trainings at all in the future. Your dog will benefit from their training sessions in so many ways.
6 Crates at Bedtime Create Security and Safety
Some people do not like crating their dogs but creating a place where your dog feels safe is important. If you want your dog in a crate for bedtime, you must be consistent with putting them in it each night. You must not use this crate for any punishments either. Once your dog understand they sleep in their crate each night, they will instantly go there when you tell them it is bedtime. Your dog will feel like this is their safe spot and they will feel secure in there until morning.
7 Access to Water Prevents Dehydration
Most dog owners leave a bowl of water out for their dogs to drink. You may want to get into the routine of putting fresh water in the bowl before you leave the house. This will ensure your dog drinks the water, because it will be cold. It also won’t have any dust or anything else floating around in it. Once you get into the routine of giving your dog fresh water at certain times of the day, you won’t need to worry that their water bowl may be empty when you arrive at work one day.
8 Better Mental Health
Dogs are quite dependent on their routines and they take pride in knowing what they are doing next. When you stick to a basic routine, your dog will experience excellent mental health. It is the times when your schedule gets a little off course where you will see stress and anxiety creep into your dog’s days. Your dog may not want to leave your side, or they may stop eating. You may even notice accidents inside the house.
Basically, if you want a dog who is happy and healthy mentally, you must create a schedule you know you can repeat day after day. This way your dog can predict what they will be doing with you at certain times of the day.
Changing Your Dog’s Schedule
It can be hard to change your dog’s schedule. They can get really used to a specific routine and a sudden change can make them really anxious. We recommend changing one part of the schedule at a time and to watch for signs of anxiety.
Many times, you will find you need to rearrange your schedule, because your work times are changing. Hopefully, you will have a couple weeks to get your dog adjusted to your new schedule. It can be tough to make changes too quickly.
If you have any difficulty changing your dog’s schedule, you can try using calming pheromones via aromatherapy or calming chews. There are a few different ones for you to choose from, so you may want to try a couple to find your dog’s favorite.
Our best advice for changing your dog’s schedule is to be patient. There will be accidents in the house. There will be misbehavior. Expect these things and show your dog you love them anyway. Once your dog gets used to your new routines, they will be so happy you stuck by them through this trying time!
There are so many reasons why you need a schedule for your dog. Each reason is logical, which is why it is surprising so many dog owners haven’t created a schedule for their furry friends yet. If you haven’t created a schedule with your dog yet, or you created a strict schedule you can’t possibly keep up with, it’s okay. Take a step back and think about how you can change things for the better.
First, look at your days. Consider how each day is the same and how each day is different. Then decide which parts of your day are best for walks, feedings, bathroom breaks, and playtime. Start small with your next steps.
If you are just creating a schedule, start with adding one thing when you wake up in the morning. Continue to add new items to your schedule until you have everything in place. Your dog will adjust to these small changes to their day over time and will appreciate the fact you now have a basic schedule with them.
And if you are trying to move from a really strict schedule to a basic one, you may find yourself moving slower. It will take time to get your dog used to a new schedule. We recommend changing the one thing that will be the least disruptive to your dog. This is often mealtime. It is easy to move mealtime a minute or two ahead or back until you reach the approximate time you need each day.
Once you make one small change, work on others until you have the schedule you and your dog both need. We know creating schedules can be a lot of work, but they are completely worth it in the end!