What Good Dog Routines Look Like and Why They Are Important

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Good dog routines are so important to keep your pup happy and healthy. Dogs rely on consistency and thrive in a stable environment. Just like small children that thrive on a routine, dogs do as well! 

Healthy dogs have a routine that is made up of exercise, love, and lots of playtime. I love when my dog knows it’s time for her daily walk or stares out the window waiting for my husband to get home from work. She knows when it’s her time to eat breakfast and dinner and goes outside to the bathroom like clockwork. 

Routines keep dogs from having anxiety while you’re away and condition them to know what will happen each day. A dog that develops separation anxiety can become destructive and aggressive. Keeping a schedule for your dog will reduce stress and give the dog stability. 

What Makes Good Dog Routines? 

Regardless of your work or family schedule, some things should be built into any dog’s routine. These activities include play, sleep, potty breaks, food & water, and quality time spent with your pup. 

Play – Playing keeps your dog healthy – mentally and physically. Pups love playing and rely on this time to exercise. Playing with stuffed toys, tennis balls, ropes, or going for a swim are all excellent stimulation for your dog. Going to the dog park or having a puppy play date is not only fun play for your dog but also great socialization.  

Sleep – Dogs sleep 16-18 hours daily, much more than their human companions. However, dogs are awake frequently throughout the day and the night. If your dog is wandering around in the middle of the night, this is normal! Sleep and play go hand-in-hand; if you consistently play with your dog in the morning, they’ll sleep more in the afternoon. 

Potty Breaks – Adult dogs need an opportunity to go outside at least every 8 hours. Some dogs may not be able to make it that long. Puppies need to go out more frequently than that. 

Food & Water – It’s important that dogs can rely on scheduled times to receive breakfast and dinner. They also need a constant supply of clean water. Get yourself into the habit of cleaning your dog’s bowls in the morning and adding fresh water each day. 

Quality Time – Your dog wants to spend time with you! Use the quality time to do training, and positive reinforcement, followed by play and snuggles. This time with your pup makes them feel loved and will strengthen your bond. 

Sample Dog Routines 

Remember that every dog is different, and a good routine will change with your dog’s age, breed, and size. Below is a general guideline of what a great dog routine will look like.  

Work Day

6:00 AM – Wake and Potty

6:15 AM – Short Training Session

6:30 AM – Breakfast 

7:00 AM – Potty

7:15 AM – 1:00 PM – Crate

1:00 – Potty/walk (either yourself or a dog walker) 

1:30-5:30 PM – Crate 

5:30-6:30 PM – Potty and Quality Time  

7:00 – Dinner

9:30 – Last Potty/Sleep 

If you cannot get home within a 6-8 hour window, it’s essential to hire a dog walker or have a friend/family member go to your house to let the dog out. 

Day Off 

6:00 AM – Wake and Potty

6:15 AM – Short Training Session

6:30 AM – Breakfast 

7:00 AM – Potty

1:00 – Potty/Walk/Socialization  

5:30-6:30 PM – Potty/Walk/Play session 

7:00 – Dinner

9:30 – Last Potty/Sleep 

Dog Routines Include Grooming and Vet Visits


You’ll want to make a consistent schedule for yourself to bathe and brush your dog. 

Most dogs need to be bathed every 1-2 weeks. Keeping something consistent, like each Friday is Spa Day or every other Tuesday night the dog gets a bath, are good examples of a grooming routine. 

Long-haired dogs must be brushed daily to keep their hair from matting. You can be consistent with this by brushing your dog’s hair every night after dinner or before bed. 

Likewise, long-haired dogs like our Schnoodles and Whoodles also need their hair cut about once a month at the groomers. It’s essential to keep a routine with your groomer and schedule your appointments at the same intervals, such as every four weeks. 

Maybe, your routine will be to schedule your dog’s haircut every first Monday of the month. Your groomer will also help keep your dog’s nails trimmed, which is extremely important for your dog’s health. 

Vet Visits

Your dog needs regular vet visits to stay up to date on their vaccines, teeth cleaning, nail trimming, and flea and tick treatments. 

Many vets will remind you when to schedule appointments, but try to commit to a visit every 6 months. Maybe schedule your appointments for the first week of December and again in June. 

Again, your vet visit routine will change based on your dog’s age. Click here to read about first-year puppy vaccinations.   

Are You Ready to Commit to Good Dog Routines?

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