Establishing a routine for your dog will help them get acquainted with your lifestyle. It’s important that you and your dog are on the same page.

White dog sitting on a couch
Establish a routine that will help your dog become accustomed to your lifestyle.
Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

How to Establish a Routine

When you first get a dog, there will be an adjustment period. This is when you need to establish a routine. Pick a few important things throughout the day that you and your dog do together. Mealtime. A daily walk. Bathroom breaks. Now, pick a time that these things will happen every day. It’s important that you stick to the schedule you make. You don’t want to confuse your dog.

Let’s say every morning at eight, you have a bathroom break, then breakfast. You go to work for the day, and when you get home, you have another bathroom break, a walk, and then dinner at 6. That’s a healthy routine that your dog can stick to. That way, your dog won’t sit inside, wondering what will happen all day. They will understand the routine and look forward to it.

1. If You Can, Bring Your Dog With You

Let your dog see what you do all day. I’m not suggesting that you march into your office with your dog in tow. I’m aware most companies would not be okay with that. However, I do suggest that you bring your dog with you when you go out to eat or pick up something from the store. There are dog-friendly restaurants and stores all over.

By doing this, your dog will understand that you don’t abandon them every day. You have errands to run and will be back. You might add an outing every weekend for your dog to look forward to. It’s always nice to get out of the house. Don’t let them sit at home and wait for you.

White dog on a leash standing on its hind legs at a newspaper stand. Owner stands in the background.
Your dog will love to join in on your daily routine.
Photo by Elina Sazonova from Pexels

2. Keep Your Feeding Schedule Strict

Once you decide what times you will feed your dog, you need to hold firm. Most adult dogs need to be fed twice a day, but puppies eat three times a day. Plan times throughout the day for feeding. Establishing that feeding routine will be the first rock solid schedule your dog will adjust to. If you stray from it, the entire routine could go down the drain.

If you can’t remember to feed your dog at the designated times, invest in a self-timed feeder. This will make your routine much easier to establish. It will dispense the proper amount of food at the designated times of the day. The feeding schedule is important. Your dog will learn their routine from that schedule. Don’t stray from your designated times!

3. Develop Signals for Your Routine

When you’re first establishing your routine, it will take a while for your dog to understand what’s going on. Developing signals for unique pieces of your routine might move the process along faster. When it’s mealtime, you might shake the food bowl. Your dog will learn what that sound means and understand that it’s mealtime.

The same goes for bedtime. When the lights turn off, your dog understands its bedtime. When you hold up your dog’s leash, it’s time for their walk. These signals might already be a part of your routine, but if it’s not, consider adding them. It will make your dog understand the routine much easier, and can cut down the time to adjust to that routine.


For more information on establishing a routine for your dog, visit the American Kennel Club. Let us know how you established a routine in your dog’s life in the comments below! Any extra tips are appreciated and could help a dog owner with their dog’s routine.