Why Your Dog Needs a Routine

A routine is the basis of all success. It’s especially important for dogs, who tend to thrive when they know what to expect.

Having a dog is like having another child; not only do you need to make sure your kids eat right and get plenty of exercise, but you also have to make sure their schedules are packed with fun activities and time for study. A dog’s days should be filled with walking, playing, training and socializing. A schedule will help you make sure that happens.

Walking

You might be surprised at just how important regular exercise is for your dog. Dogs are predators, so they naturally need to walk every day or two to stay healthy. When you throw in some playtime and training sessions, it’s amazing that dogs don’t require even more exercise than they get!

Keep your dog on leash when he’s outside, except when he’s in a fenced yard. If you let him run loose where there might be other animals, he could get into trouble and cause an incident that results in injury to him or another dog.

Feeding Times

Your dog should eat twice a day – once in the morning, and again at dinner time. If he has a sensitive stomach, it’s best to feed him once in the morning and again later in the evening. Don’t leave his food out all day or let him graze from a bowl throughout the day as this can lead to obesity, digestive issues and other health problems.

If you need help figuring out how much to feed your dog, look at the label on his food for recommendations. The portion size will tell you how much to feed your dog each meal so he doesn’t gain too much weight.

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If you have a puppy, wait until after six months of age to switch from one brand of food to another so his digestive system can adjust.

Training Session

Training your dog is a great way to both exercise and bond with him. Training sessions should be thirty minutes long, two or three times a week.

If you’re just starting out with training, consider enrolling in a basic obedience class at your local pet supply store, which will give you an opportunity to learn the basics about teaching your dog to follow commands.

Socializing

Dogs need to hang out with people and other dogs on a regular basis for mental stimulation and socialization. This means they don’t spend 24 hours a day in isolation from human contact. Make sure your dog gets to play outside with you, friends and family members at least a couple of times a week.

If your dog doesn’t get enough socialization, he could become territorial and aggressive. This is especially true if you keep him indoors all the time.

Exercise

On top of his regular training sessions, playtime and walks, make sure your dog gets to run around each day – either in a fenced yard or at a dog park. Playing with your dog will provide both exercise and fun, which will help tire him out, build his strength and sharpen his senses.

Keeping your dog active is especially important if he’s overweight or has a limited range of motion due to arthritis or other medical condition. An active dog is happier than one who’s always sleeping on the couch.

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Don’t forget to have fun with your furry friend too! While his schedule should be packed with activities, let him rest and relax each day as well. In fact, letting your dog sleep in a bed by the foot of yours is a great way to reinforce pack behavior.

Hiring a dog walker can give you some free time while your dog is out exercising, getting socialized and having fun. If you’re busy, consider asking a friend or family member to come over and take your pooch for a walk. You could even have them give him dinner if you don’t have time to feed him. Asking others to help out is good for both your dog and you!

Summary

Sticking to a daily schedule for your dog’s activities will keep him healthy, happy and well-adjusted. With this schedule in place, he’ll get enough exercise, socialization and mental stimulation every day. If you’re unsure about what to do when it comes to walking, feeding or training your dog, talk to his veterinarian or an experienced trainer for advice.