Alaska Dog Works

Keeping Your Dog on a Schedule

All dogs find it comforting to follow a daily routine.  Maintaining a consistent schedule eliminates a lot of the guesswork and frustration involved in housebreaking or paper training.

Dogs, much like their human cohorts, are creatures of habit.  They find comfort in following a daily routine.  Since they rely on us completely for their well being, it is our responsibility to schedule their day.  Maintaining a consistent schedule eliminates a lot of the guesswork and frustration involved in housebreaking or paper-training your dog. By knowing when he eats, you can better predict when he will need to eliminate.  If you were to leave food down all day or feed the dog at different times each day, it would be much harder to predict when he would need to relieve himself.

A puppy gate will help confine your dog to an area while still allowing her to see what’s going on.  Ideally, you want to keep the dog on your schedule–and not vice-versa.  This is achieved by structuring the dog’s daily activities.  Offer him an agenda, and in following it, the dog will form the habit of eating at a specific time, relieving himself at a specific time, etc.  And the result will be fewer mistakes.  This will also put you in the area with the dog while he relieves himself so that you can praise him and reinforce the good behavior.

The emphasis of the training should be to express to your dog what pleases you and not simply your frustration over his mistakes. You are teaching him when and where to go; he will only understand this if you praise him for doing so. If you correct his mistakes only when you catch him, you only teach him to avoid going in front of you, making your job much more difficult.

When creating a schedule for your dog, you will need to consider the age of your pet. Most puppies between the ages of eight weeks and four months will need to be fed and watered a minimum of three times a day.  They will also need to be taken outside or to the paper more often than an older dog.

You will also need to consider the hours you are available to work with the dog.  If you have a nine-to-five job and you are trying to housebreak the puppy, you will need to make special arrangements to see that the pup receives his lunch and is taken to the paper or outside to relieve himself.  Plan to take your lunch break at home or make arrangements with a friend to let your puppy out for a quick stroll to the designated area. If you have an older dog, it will be necessary to give the dog plenty of exercise before leaving for work and upon returning. If at all possible, taking a lunch break with your dog would offer a welcome treat for both of you. Try to avoid confining your dog to a crate for more than four hours at a time; it is far more beneficial to enlist the help of a friend or family member to give your dog a break during the day. Confining your dog for extended periods of time can lead to other behavior problems.