So you’ve got your puppy and don’t know what to do next.
It seems like they’re running on their own schedule – falling asleep, getting the zoomies, needing the toilet, and wanting their food at whatever time their heart tells them to. It might work great for them, but we can see how your schedule is looking a bit hectic at the moment.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about puppy daily schedules and what a typical day for your new puppy should look like. We’ll even walk you through every hour – from the moment you wake up, until you turn the lights off for a good night’s sleep.
You’ll get back to your regular routine in no time. Just with a little sprinkle of puppy love.
What does a puppy’s daily schedule look like?
Behold; the ultimate daily puppy routine is here.
It includes everything you and your puppy needs to end on a good note; from playtimes, to feeding time, and toilet breaks, and more. Wish we could see your face as you’re reading the schedule – there’s an awful lot of toilet breaks.
Wake up and toilet time- 5:00 am – 7:00 am
Waking up and going to the toilet together when you start the day. They happen so swiftly after one another that they almost look as if they happen at the same time. They won’t though, because you’ll have to make sure to take your puppy to their toilet area quickly so they don’t end up going in their bed or close to their sleeping area.
Time to ponder – 5:00 am – 7:00 am
After such an early toilet break, see if your puppy feels like dozing off for a little longer. If they do, feel free to close your eyes for a while more. If not, well that just means it’s time for you to get your day started. Rise and shine!
Breakfast – 7:00 am
Time for brekkie. Feed them their kibble inside a Kong or a puzzle feeder to keep them busy while you wake yourself up with a nice cup of hot coffee, and a full English Breakfast.
You should definitely treat yourself after such an early start, after all.
Did you know: Puzzle feeders are also great to reduce your puppy’s chances of getting an upset tummy or getting bloated.
Toilet Break – 7:15 am
Time for a trip to the zoo. Whoops sorry – meant to say loo.
Did you know: Puppies aren’t that good at holding it in just yet, so it’s important that they go to the toilet after they’ve eaten or drunk to avoid accidents. Better yet, these toilet breaks are a massive opportunity to treat them for going in the right place, making toilet training work much faster.
Play and Training – 7:30
Up next on your puppy’s daily schedule is some fun time. Take around 10 minutes to fit in a bit of training practice and playtime. You can choose to work on sitting, watching the world go by outside, or anything else depending on the week you’re on. Our blog here goes into more detail about what training or lessons you should focus on each week.
Toilet Break – 8:15 am
Yep, another trip to the loo.
Nap Time – 8:30 am
After all the excitement of food, poo and play, your puppy will probably want to nod off for one or two hours. Maybe minutes. It’s hard to tell for how long puppies might nap for really, but you can be sure to get some time for yourself at around this time.
Toilet Break – 10:30 am
After a little kip, a trip to the loo is nothing to skip.
Can you tell we had to make it rhyme.
Training – 10:45 am
After they’ve gone to the loo, take the time to practice some skills or go through some training. The more consistent their practice gets, the better results you’ll see in the future.
Brunch – 11:00 am
Wonderful – time for a snack in your puppy’s daily routine. At brunch, you should probably feed your puppy about a quarter of their daily food portion. You can take the opportunity to work on some crate training exercises like feeding them their meal inside the crate. We talk a lot more about crate training in our blog here if you want to know all the deets.
Don’t forget to grab something for yourself too; some biscuits and a cuppa always sound good at this time. Or any time at all to be fair.
Toilet Break – 11:15 am
You guessed it – after food, always go to the loo.
Play and Training – 11:30 am
And yes! Time for some more play and training.
Toilet Break – 11:45 am
Back to the toilet. You’re not nearly as done with the toilet breaks by the way. Fun’s just getting started.
Play and Training – 12:00 pm
Maybe you’d like to work on recall training? Otherwise, teaching him how to play fetch is something he’ll definitely appreciate. Add it to your puppy’s daily routine.
Naptime – 12:30 pm
Well done, you’ve done a good job at keeping your puppy happy and entertained. They’ll probably hit their crate for a quick nap now.
Toilet Break – 2:30 pm
You know it – after some good sleep, nothing feels better than a good wee. Remember to reward them after doing so in the right spot!
Play and Training – 2:45 pm
They’ll be nice and awake now for a good training session. What about teaching them their name? This one doesn’t take long to do, but it’s always good to remind them what their name is. Don’t want them thinking their name is your partner’s or children’s.
Dinner Time – 3:00 pm
About time for some good food to be added to your puppy’s daily schedule! At the start, they’ll probably go crazy for their kibble, so put it in a puzzle feeder again to avoid them getting sick.
Toilet Break – 3:15 pm
You know the drill – a good toot generally comes after some good food.
Play and Training – 3:30 pm
After being fueled with energy, you know they’ll want to play a good game of fetch or tug of war.
Toilet Break – 3:45 pm
And yes, after they win the game, they’ll want to go to the loo again.
Naptime – 4:00 pm
You can see how it’s getting repetitive now, right?
Toilet Break – 6:00 pm
Yup, time for a wee. Again.
Training – 6:15 pm
Almost the end of the day, but not the end of your puppy’s daily schedule! But there’s always time to squeeze in an extra bit of training. Maybe you can try showing him how to walk on different surfaces? Bubble wrapping paper should be a good one to try tonight.
Supper time – 7:00 pm
Food! Fabulous. It’s their last meal of the day before bed. Still a couple hours to stay awake for though – so they’ll definitely have time to go for a last poo later on.
Toilet Break – 7:15 pm
Ah, see? Told you. But there will be more toilet breaks ahead.
Play and training – 7:30 pm
These are the last 15 minutes they’ll have with high energy activity. It’s probably a good idea to tire them out with a good game or letting them explore the garden for a bit.
Toilet Break – 7:45 pm
Yep, time to go again.
Relaxation and winding down – 8:00 pm
This section of your puppy’s daily routine is quite important in order to secure as many hours of sleep as possible. Use these last hours of the day to calm your puppy down, get them nice and quiet in preparation for a full night’s sleep. We suggest things like gentle grooming, gentle massage (who doesn’t love a relaxing massage!), and just some lovely snuggly cuddle time. Don’t want to wind them up with games anymore!
Toilet Break – 10:45 pm
Getting late now…but there’s always time for one last go at a poo. Going to the toilet now is a good way to try and get them to not wake up in the night…although they probably will anyway. Don’t worry, they won’t need the loo at all hours forever!
Bedtime – 11: 00 pm — midnight
Finally! Off to Bedfordshire. At the start, you’ll have them sleep next to your bed in their crate, so pop them in there, turn off the light, and get into bed. If they get a bit fidgety, use that soft and gentle voice of yours to calm them down, or put your fingers through the crate to comfort them.
They’re only little, and only wish they had your attention all the time.
Toilet Break – 3:00 am
Surprise! Bet you didn’t see this one coming. Don’t worry, you really won’t have to wake up everyday at 3 am to do this…only for the first few weeks! And it will be worth it – you won’t be waking up to puddles of wee next to your bed if you do this.
PRO TIP: Get them to and from the toilet quickly, without much interaction. You don’t want to get them too excited on your way to the loo since we bet you still want to go back to sleep for a few more hours, right? Don’t forget to treat them!
Wake up: 5 – 7:00 am
Wakey-wakey! Time to do everything all over again. Good luck! And remember to enjoy the ride 🙂
Everything a puppy needs in their daily schedule
As you can see, your puppy has a tight schedule where he’ll need lots of naps, training time, meals, snacks, toilet breaks, love and attention.
But exactly how much of each will he need? It’s a good question. We see how it can be confusing to measure times out – but as you will see, they’ll need a lot of everything the younger they are.
We’ve made it nice and simple for you below. Here’s a checklist of what your puppy’s day needs to contain:
Your puppy needs lots of sleep. Like around 16 – 20 hours a day which is a lot. After having to absorb so much new information like a sponge, they’re bound to want to get some rest!
Because they’ll use a lot of their brains throughout the day, you’ll see that they’ll fall asleep after doing pretty much any activity that requires them to use some sort of energy. This is what their their sleeping times will look like:
- Mid-morning: After they have eaten, and have had time to play or train.
- After lunch: After food, naps are great moments for them to digest their food. At this stage, their bodies are mainly poop factories.
- After dinner: Gotta take the time to digest all that food and information
- At night: This will eventually turn into an 8 hour nap – but for now, they’ll stay as naps. Which explains why you’ll need to get up in the middle of the night to take them to the toilet.
Activity (training or play)
Puppies have big juicy brains, but a short attention span. To get the most out of their training, we recommend keeping them short and sweet (5 minutes is already plenty per session) so that they remember everything they learned well.
At first, your puppy will need the loo a lot. Like a lot, a lot. This makes sense though – their bladders are only tiny and can’t really hold it for very long.
At only 8 weeks, they’ll probably need to go for a wee every hour! But don’t worry – as they get older, they’ll manage to control their longing ‘to go’ a lot better.
Puppy crate training can help a lot with learning how to hold it in – but there’s no need to rush it. Everything will fall into place eventually!
If you want to get a better idea of how much they’ll need the toilet as they grow, here’s a nice table for you to check out:
|Age of my puppy||Maximum they can hold it for is||At night they might hold it for|
|8 weeks||2 hours||5 hours|
|12 weeks||3 hours||7 hours|
|16 weeks||4 hours||8 hours|
Meals a day
How much your puppy will eat depends on their age. But just so you know, the younger they are, the more they’ll need to eat. Although they might look small, their bellies are big and need filling with lots of food!
Again, this is quite logical – as young pups, they need to have all the necessary nutrients for their mental and physical development to become the best adult dogs they can be.
It makes sense though, they are growing, and need huge amounts of calories for their mental and physical development. It’s actually quite right that they gobble so much food down!
Your puppy’s feeding times should be distributed the day using activity feeders to give them a chance to develop their problem solving skills, and make their day a little more fun. Also, for those who like to gobble everything like there’s no tomorrow, it will prevent them from having digestive issues.
The table below shows how many meals a day your puppy should have. You’ll see that this changes depending on their size, breed, and their own preferences of eating times. Some puppies would prefer to go on a walk first before eating!
|Agey||Meals per day|
|8 – 16 weeks||4 times a day|
|16 weeks – 6 months||3 times per day|
|6 months +||2 times per day|
PRO TIP: Let’s not overfeed or underfeed your puppy. To get it right, work out how many grams of food they need per day, and then divide it by the number of meals. Easy peasy.
Puppy daily routine FAQ
We knew you’d have more questions. Glad you asked!
How long can a puppy be left alone during a day?
Here’s the thing. Dogs are social animals, and are at their most comfortable and happy states when in company of other people. This means that while they’d rather you’d dedicate your whole lives to being at their beck and call all day, the reality is that you also need to work in order to keep them in constant supply of their favourite food and treats. So – it’s all about a good balance.
So, if you happen to be at work all day and can’t be there for your puppy, pet professionals are always a great option to consider. These may be:
– A dog sitter who pops in and out for puppy visits or stays with your puppy all day
– A doggy day-care centre
– A dog walker who takes your puppy on walks
How many naps should my puppy have?
A lot. As we’ve said above, puppies need a lot of sleep during the day so that they’re able to do a good job at retaining all this new information and learning the ropes of life.
This means that throughout the day, you can expect your puppy to take around 4 naps throughout the day (of perhaps 2 hours each), plus their ‘fuller’ sleep time at night.
You can use these opportunities to train them as well by popping them inside their crate as they start falling asleep. This will teach them that their crate is a comfy, safe place to be – they’ll eventually start going there themselves!
And that’s when you’ll get to say mission accomplished.
PRO TIP: When your puppy is napping make sure to leave them undisturbed! Not only is it annoying to be woken up from a nap (as you may know) but it can also make your pup feel vulnerable, and could impact their ability to get quality sleep in the longer term, which they really really need.
How long should I play with my puppy each day?
As you see on the schedule, you’ll see that your puppy will need to be played with or trained during the day quite a lot. If you want to get precise, around 7 times a day.
But really, there’s no need to go over 15 minutes of play in each session! As much as puppies may seem highly energetic (which they are), they also get tired pretty quickly, so there’s no need to go overboard. Actually, play sessions that run too long are likely to make your puppy too excited and stimulated – making them act kind of intense – they can get quite bitey and irritable.
Remember that the schedule we give you is a general overview, and there’s no need to follow it exactly. Let your puppy guide you to what they need – they can’t speak English, but their behaviour can speak way louder than words!
Now that you know what your puppy’s daily schedule might look like, here is how to make sure they’re well behaved throughout their adventures with our guide to obedience puppy training. Or why not download the whole ZigZag puppy training app for the whole shebang?