Most dogs thrive on having a routine. They like knowing when to expect activities such as mealtimes, walks, playtime, and more. It can also be a great help to establish a routine when trying to train a dog. Most dogs feel more secure when they can predict what is going to happen each day. The following ideas will show you how establishing a routine can benefit your dog training program:
It's a good idea to give your dog or puppy his meals at the same time every day. Puppies usually eat several small meals over the course of the day, while adult dogs get one or two larger meals. Talk to your veterinarian to figure out the best type and portion of food for your dog.
Dogs should get outside to go relieve themselves at about the same time each day. Puppies need frequent potty breaks, while older dogs can hold it for longer periods of time. Keep this in mind when creating a schedule for your dog.
Putting this on a schedule will greatly enhance your housebreaking efforts. Dogs will be more likely to hold it if they can reliably predict when they'll get a chance to go outside and relieve themselves.
Walks and Playtime
Plan on spending about an hour or more each day walking and playing with your dog. All dogs will benefit from this type of exercise and mental stimulation. Getting this activity every day can help curb destructive behavior.
It's a good idea to add training time to your dog's schedule every day. It helps improve his behavior, and it provides him with some mental stimulation. There are a few ways to add training to your schedule each day:
- Training sessions: Training sessions are short (about 10 minutes) periods you set aside a few times each day to work on a particular skill, such as basic commands. This is a great way to train a dog to do new behaviors and to reinforce them. Clicker training is one method that works well with a session approach.
- Opportunity training: This involves using different opportunities that arise throughout the day to reinforce your dog's training. For instance, while your family is sitting down to a meal is a great time to work on a "go to place" command. While you're watching television in the evening is a good time to work on capturing behaviors with a clicker.
Adding both of these methods to your schedule is sure to create a better-behaved dog and a happier family.
Edited by Jenna Stregowski, RVT