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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

The Perfect Routine for Puppies!

Puppies thrive on a routine! Mainly because they don't have to worry about what is—or is not—about to happen next. Dogs and puppies are creatures of habit, and when we are predictable with our routine, they become predictable as well.

Potty Breaks: How often your puppy needs to go out can vary depending on their age, size, and individual needs. However, as a general rule, you should aim for potty breaks at least every one to two hours.

Morning (AM):

  • Exercise: Engage in a play session, whether it's fetch, tug-of-war, chasing a flirt pole or other fun games to burn off energy. Regular exercise helps prevent behavioral problems and keeps your puppy happy and fit.

  • Training (15 mins): Morning training sessions should focus on foundation behaviors such as their name, sit, touch, leave it, and crate training.

  • Enrichment Feeding: Instead of placing food in a bowl, use puzzle feeders which are interactive feeders that challenge your puppy to work for their food. This mental stimulation can be as satisfying as physical exercise.


  • Long Sniffy Walk: While on a long 30 foot leash allow your puppy to explore and sniff the environment. This is like letting them read the newspaper or watch the news—sniffing provides them with valuable information. During this time you can practice recalls, reward for engagement, and reinforce calm behavior during the walk.

  • Training (15 mins): Incorporate a training session in the middle of the day to keep your puppy's mind engaged and reinforce learned behaviors. This is a perfect time to address any specific training needs, such as jumping, barking or separation anxiety.

  • Post-Sniffy Walk Chew: Offer a safe chew item such as a knuckle bone, bully stick, Himalayan chew, or Cheek roll. Chewing not only promotes dental health and alleviates teething discomfort but also has a calming effect on puppies, helping them to relax.

Evening (PM):

  • Exercise: Engage in another play session to expend any remaining energy. Exercise is crucial for puppies, it helps to burn off excess energy, promotes healthy growth and development, and helps strengthens their muscles/bones.

  • Training (15 mins): In this session, emphasize loose leash walking exercises. This includes teaching your puppy to sit calmly during leashing/unleashing, introducing a "let's go" cue, instilling patience at doorways, and encouraging polite and relaxed walking while maintaining a loose leash.

  • Enrichment Feeding: End the day with another interactive feeding activity such as a snuffle mats, stuffed kong's, or lick mats. These activities are crucial for puppies as it stimulates their minds, alleviates boredom, and encourages them to explore and learn about their environment in a positive way.

This daily routine not only meets your puppy's physical and mental needs but also creates a structured, predictable environment that helps them thrive. Remember that while a routine is essential, it's also crucial to be flexible and attentive to your puppy's individual needs. Happy, well-adjusted dogs often result from well-structured days like these. If you need guidance on creating the perfect routine for your pup, feel free to reach out to us at or 301-231-1907 for expert advice!

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