Puppies are a special breed of dog. They need 16-17 hours of sleep a day. That is why structure and schedules are so very important.
Here at APBC we live by our Schedule for Success and Rules to Live By.
We even call it the secret sauce to training a dog! The structure outlined in our secret sauce (although not so secret since I wrote a book about it!) Basically, there are blocks of time when your pup is in his crate resting, and there are blocks of time when he is out of his crate ready to work, play, interact and learn. ‘In crate’ blocks of time are for blocks of time for about 2-3 hours. ‘Out of crate’ blocks of time are for about 2-3 hours. When you are in that ‘out of crate’ block of time, the general rule of thumb is about one minute of ‘focused activity’ for every week old a pup is until they are approximately 20 weeks old. After that time, duration grows exponentially! The block of time when a pup is out of his crate is where all the vital information about our world is shared with your pup. It’s when all the learning happens, so we want to be certain that what we do is purposeful! Supervision from you, and ensuring manners are at play while he is with you in all you do is what makes an activity purposeful. And the good news, you can be purposeful with your pup as you do laundry, wash dishes, work at your computer…yes you’ve got it….as you live your best purposeful life together!
For a 15 week old puppy, here is a great schedule
You will begin to discern a pattern to these activities. We alternate between more moving around activities (tether, play, drag the line and more sedentary activities like tether while you do bookwork, place) Also, we alternate between inside and outside activities during this block of time. It is the magic of this schedule that helps you keep on track with your potty training efforts as well! Notice we hop outside after a sedentary activity when a pup might go to sleep!
8 am – 8:15 after potty time begin tethering as you get breakfast ready and have your coffee
8:15- 8:30 Have a toy in the house and play for a bit, make sure to mold the sit and trade for a treat when asking for the toy
8:30 – 8:45 Take trash outside, get paper, have puppy run around with you while you do it. Go for a couple minute walk down the street. (YES, this is an opportunity for your pup to drink water and go potty.)
8:45-9:00 Work your door manners as you walk back into the house, sitting at the door and waiting to go in. Tether as you do dishes, laundry, sweep or vacuum.
9:00- 9:15 Tether as you continue a more sedentary behavior like answering emails or ordering your next Amazon fun order of Aly’s Preferred items! (on my website)
9:15- 9:30 WORK PLACE (I tell all about this in my book) Basically it’s a raised dog cot where your dog stays on until invited off.
9:30-9:45 Grab a toy outside and toss toy around, have the leash dragging along with puppy. (YES, this is an opportunity for your pup to drink water and go potty.)
9:45-10:00 stay outside for some yard cleaning, sweep the patio, have puppy dragging the line as you move around outside or tether if pup’s energy is up for it. Toss a ball or play tug too!
10:00 – 10:15 Tether while you do a more sedentary activity.
10:15 – 10:30 WORK PLACE
10:30 – 10:45 pop back outside to have some fun move around time while you pull weeds, water the plants. Every time your puppy comes to you when you call, give him a treat and warm praise!
10:45- 11:00 Tether or drag line outside as you move around yard, encouraging your puppy to come to you when you call his name. Give a great treat once he arrives!
Be aware that you can OVERDO it easily with a puppy! A pup’s ability to focus is short, so embrace an attitude of “a little here and a little there” when interacting with your puppy! Finally, your pup is learning that he is PART of your world, not the center of it. Now go on, live some live together in a safe, sane and civilized way.