Whether you have a new furry addition to the household or you are looking to instill great habits in an older pup, setting a daily routine will have many benefits. Dogs often rely on routine for stability in their life; providing both comfort and happiness. In fact, many humans react to routines in the same manner! Our bodies adhere to routines like white on rice.
You will find a variety of wonderful resources in your quest for setting a great daily doggie routine. While each add their extra flare of tips and tricks, in reality you will find much similarity. After all, every pup needs the same basic care for bodily needs. This includes eating and drinking, potty breaks, exercise, and stimulating playtime.
Importance of a Dog Routine
History of the Dog Routine
Canines have lived via routine for a long time. As a matter of fact, routine life is instilled in their genes! The domestic dog is directly linked to the wild wolf and, therefore, has many similar instincts.
The wolf pack is led by an alpha male. This important, dominant boss makes decisions for the entire wolf pack. Consequently, he decides the timing of everything throughout their day. From the time they wake to the time they hunt, eat, and sleep; the alpha male creates a routine to keep his pack alive.
Passed down from their incredible ancestors, the domestic canine continues to thrive on routine. They enjoy consistency throughout their life and, now, you are the alpha male!
Type of Routines
By and large, there is no set routine that will magically be the answer for every owner and their furbaby. Ultimately, it will take some home trial before settling on a variation that works best for you. For example, author Mikkel Becker opts for a flexible routine (Vet Street).
Mikkel states “…I’ve found that owners who follow strict routines often have to plan their entire lives around their pets.” In essence, he has a point. If an owner allows their pup to run the household, a dog will become more difficult to train. Furthermore, extremely strict routines can manifest separation anxiety within a dog. In contrast, you may find a strict routine best for your unique pup, specially if they are required to take medicine.
Most references and vets recommend a daily dog routine of some variation. At the minimum, an owner should provide their pup with the resources to fulfill bodily needs. Huff Post agrees, noting that routines are especially important for “potty breaks and feeding times.” Additionally, a routine amount of sleep is needed for Fido to function properly.
Enforcing your Alpha Male Standing
Similar to the wild wolf pack, your pup’s daily routine will be decided by an alpha male. And guess what? That’s you! A key aspect of a doggie daily routine is understanding how to enforce your alpha male status.
Huff Post explains how regularly walking your dog helps to instill an owner’s pack leader standing. With a new pup, going on walks will take practice and patience because they are only beginning to learn their routine. Therefore, the important moments of training offer the opportunity to enforce alpha status. In the end, Fido will come to understand your role in their life.
Dog Reference notes another key opportunity: feeding time. They suggest an owner eats their meal before feeding their pup. In the canine world, the order in which animals eat denotes their pack standing. By feeding your pup second, Fido will further understand your role as alpha.
We agree with the importance of establishing your role as alpha. In order to keep your furbaby happy and healthy, such training should be firm but considerate. Aggressively expressing your dominance is never required or recommended.
A daily routine is extremely beneficial for both you and your pup. It will provide wanted consistency in their life, as well as, strengthening your adoring bond. In fact, a good daily routine prepares Fido to handle changes. Dog Reference states, “Giving your dog a steady routine will keep them from stressing whenever there is a change in operations.”
Above all, a daily routine provides your dog with basic needs and life-enhancing activities. First, food and water are necessary to live. Second, potty breaks are essential for any animal. Third, exercise in the form of walks or play maintain a healthy physique and attitude. Because domestic canines are unable to attain these requirements without the help of an owner, you are now responsible for providing them.
Aspects of a Dog Routine
For the most part, feed your dog at a specific time and always have fresh water available. Although, some owners opt to let their pups “graze” throughout the day. Unfortunately, the “grazing” method can lead to health problems if your dog continues to eat excessive calories. We suggest home trial and observation before deciding which method is best for your furbaby’s health.
WikiHow suggests feeding a dog one to two times a day. Yet, dogs who are extremely active may need three feeding times. This may include sled dogs, competition pups, or sporting pooches who require more caloric intake. Therefore, it is always best to ask the vet if you wish to know your pup’s unique optimal caloric intake.
Doggie bathroom breaks are essential for any owner who doesn’t wish to see “messes” all over the floor. WikiHow’s specific recommendation includes, “…let your dog out after finishing every meal, after walks, after excessive play, when you wake up, and when you go to bed.”
We believe WikiHow’s suggestion is correct but includes a lot of potty breaks. It is not required to let your pups outside after every single thing they do. In contrast, potty breaks are most important during the following times: when waking up, after meals, and before going to bed.
Exercise and/or Play Time
Doggie exercise can come in different forms: walks, runs, playtime, etc. Therefore, the most important aspect included is physical movement. Similar to humans, dogs need physical movement to burn off calories and energy; maintaining excellent health. Furthermore, physical exercise and playtime reduces boredom. When a dog becomes bored, bad habits often follow.
Dog Reference suggests walking Fido first thing in the morning. To clarify, your pup will enjoy morning walks and return “…less likely to become excited, aggressive, or emotional” (Dog Reference). Physical exercise after waking helps your furbaby feel relaxed and ready for the day. Additionally, a morning walk might not be so bad for yourself!
A lack of exercise and playtime increases health risks and increases problem behaviors. These behaviors include excessive paw licking, hole digging, home destruction, and more. In essence, your pup will find their own way to burn energy and keep occupied, but you won’t like it!
Interactive play time is a wonderful way to increase the bond between you and Fido. While some toys, like treat dispensers, are designed for solo play, others require a human component. In fact, a simple game of fetch with a bouncing ball is a perfect example of interactive play! Check out these articles for fantastic interactive play options:
At the end of the day, there comes a point when the whole house takes a deep sigh and settles in for the night. Your dog deserves a space of their own; one that promotes relaxation and comfort. At the very least, they deserve a comfortable space to soothe aching bones and joints.
By providing Fido with their own doggie bed or special blanket for laying, you are creating a “home base” for them to return for sleepy time. During the day, this space provides comfort during anxious moments. At night, this space is where your pup will sleep. For some ideas, refer for our article Find the Best Dog Bed for Fido.
Instilling bed time in your pup’s daily routine is beneficial for both dog and owner. While your pooch gets their needed sleep, you are able to receive yours. In contrast, if your pup is up and about, they will undoubtedly continuously attempt to wake you.
Unlike the previously discussed routine factors, bathing is not done on a daily basis. Generally, dogs should be bathed once every four months. However, this frequency will differ depending on your furbaby’s gorgeous fur coat (or lack thereof)! Daily Puppy, for example, suggests a doggie bath once a month. Consequently, be careful not to bath your pup too often because this can damage their skin’s pH level.
Although bathing your dog seems labor intensive and brings nightmares of wet tracks throughout the house, using the right tools will make your life easier. One of our favorites includes the Aquapaw Bathing Tool. To learn more about its unique design and benefits, view our article Aquapaw’s Bathing Tool and Slow Treater.