Working a new puppy into your life can be hectic and intimidating. Understanding your dog’s daily habits, especially those sometimes-frustrating bouts of hyperactive behavior, requires you to familiarize yourself with the way dogs are used to operating. You can also make these outbursts a bit more predictable by establishing a strong, reliable routine with your dog that handles his mental and physical needs. It’s all about habits.
Humans tend to work all day and sleep all night. Dogs, on the other hand, prefer brief periods of activity bookended by naps. Dogs spend more time sleeping than humans (how much depends on the breed and age of the pup) but also wake up more frequently. You can think of your dog’s sleep as more of a series of naps than any one extended resting period; this is the way dogs naturally like to handle their rest.
When free of an external routine, most dogs will opt to be active in the mornings and evenings with long rest periods at night and during the day. Dogs wake up with energy and excitement after dedicated sleep time, which is why your pup seems so excited in the mornings and when you return home for work. It’s important to put that energy to good use to ensure your dog stays healthy and happy and avoids engaging in any destructive behaviors while you’re away.
For the most part, your dog’s sleep schedule will rotate around his feeding schedule and your work requirements. To build a solid routine of reliable active moods, feed your dog at the same time every morning, take him for a long walk to get rid of some of that extra morning energy (and let him use the restroom), then head off to work. When you return, immediately take your dog out again for 30-45 minutes of dedicated play. This will build your dog’s sleep and activity schedule into your own, and make life at home a little more manageable.
Ideally, your dog should receive around two hours of outside playtime every day. More energetic breeds will require more intense exercise or longer play periods. If you can afford it, having a dog walker stop by for a mid-day walk is wonderful for your dog’s health and mood. It is recommended that your dog receive his most intense play in the morning since he’s coming off a long rest, then something a little more casual in the evening to work off the pent-up energy from the day. Older dogs or those with joint problems still need exercise, but would benefit from less intense sessions and lower-impact activities (swimming is perfect).
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