Establishing daily routine

This will be what our morning walks look like. Right? Click for source.

As the days creep closer to our move, I’ve been thinking about how to restructure my day to accommodate a dog. I already worry about giving my dog enough time. A dog’s ideal human is someone who works out of the home, or better yet, someone who just lives there with them all day long and doesn’t do anything but walk, train, and love on said dog. This is a nice idea, but I don’t know anyone who has that kind of life.

I have a full-time job, but here are some things that I think are in my favor, with regard to scheduling and bringing a dog into our lives:

  • My office is a 6-minute drive from our new house.
  • My husband is a grad student and so his schedule is much more flexible than mine, meaning that he can often be home when I can’t.
  • I have a very dog-friendly boss, who has already said she’ll let me come home for an hour at lunch each day to walk the dog.
  • I’ll be done with work right at 5 p.m. and I never have to work late.

That said, I’m thinking a lot about our mornings. I have to be at work at 8 a.m., so my mornings start fairly early. Here’s the rudimentary schedule in my mind, on days that I don’t shower:

  • 6 a.m. Wake up. Take dog on walk.
  • 6:40 a.m. Feed dog/get self dressed
  • 7 a.m. Pack lunch for self/eat breakfast
  • 7:30 a.m. Play with dog/brief training or grooming/let dog out once more
  • 7:50 a.m. In the car and off to work

Clearly, this is something that will have to be finessed once we actually bring a dog home and evaluate his or her needs, but I like to think about it now. It’s a weird form of daydreaming for my highly Type A personality.

What does your daily routine look like with your dog? I’m especially interested in hearing from those who also have full-time jobs. How do you manage it? Any recommendations?


9 thoughts on “Establishing daily routine

  1. Hey there Abby – I am one of those people you have never heard of, someone who works from home. So, I have the ability to take care of the dogs daily needs, feeding, daily brushing, teeth brushing, walking, pooper scooper, and definitely play time. My best advice I can give to any new dog owner is repetition. When you take your dog out, is MUST be the same door every time from the first day you bring them into your home. This tells the dog, that when they have to go out, THIS is the door to do it. Our puppy at two months old learned very quickly and sat by the back door when she had to go. Also, if you don’t want your puppy/dog on the furniture, NEVER not even once, pick up your dog or place them on the furniture. We have only one piece of furniture that our dog is allowed to be on, and she knows that, but does not go on any other. Also, if they are a “puller” on the leash, start early with them in training – when you stop walking, they stop. This teaches them to not pull. But repetition is my best advice, it works!

  2. I work part time but 12 hours night shifts. I don’t think someone needs to be home all the time; we build a lot of dependence that way and dogs need to be able to stay on their own comfortably. That is where building structure and leadership comes in.
    Routine is nice – our meals are not at the same times but the routine of meal time is pretty much routine. I agree with Nikitaland about using the same door. I also like the idea of teaching a dog to go to a mat or crate on cue before you let company in. Have I done this? Ah, no – with 21 dogs. a few get more intense training than the rest; otherwise, I use baby gates and doors to corral the crew when say a repairman shows up.
    Your morning routine looks good – walking before feeding and you’re lucky to have a dog friendly boss with a smidgen of flexibility.
    You will do splendidly!

  3. I work full time and go to the gym to work out every morning before work so my dog, Hubbell, a bichon, has a lot of alone time. Fortunately, he’s a couch potato and enjoys napping while I’m away. We do have a routine that is set in stone, however. I walk him at 5:30 AM – this is a quick walk (by Hubbell’s choice). I come home at lunch at around 1:30. I wash my gym clothes in the bathroom sink. Hubbell knows this means he’s next. I brush his teeth, clean his eyes and brush his coat. I feed him lunch and then we walk to the local Pet Central. Hubbell gets his cookie and we walk home. I go back to work and then walk him again when I get home at 7:30. We follow this schedule even on the weekends. If I veer from these times, Hubbs notices and gets anxious. But when we stick to this schedule, Hubbell is very happy. BTW – when he was a puppy I used to take him to work with me. He prefers being at home!

  4. 6:30AM – Wake up with baby.
    6:40AM – Put kettle on and start preparing breakfast for baby.
    7:00AM – Toddler wakes up. Both kids eat breakfast. Kyuss eats crumbs below highchair.
    7:25AM – Kids happily playing while I take Kyuss out to pee.
    7:35AM – Back inside.
    8:30AM – Kids in stroller, off for walk.
    9:15AM – Back home.
    9:45AM – Kyuss eats breakfast.
    12:00PM – Kids eat lunch. Kyuss eats crumbs.
    12:30PM – Kyuss out to pee and poop.
    3:00PM – Kyuss out to pee.
    5:00PM – Kids wat dinner. Kyuss eats crumbs.
    5:30PM – Kyuss eats dinner.
    7:00PM – Kids in bed. Kyuss out to pee. (short 15 – 20 min walk if shift working hubby is home)
    9:00PM – Kyuss out for final pee, then sent to bed.

    This is a guideline really as some days I’m outside all day with the kids and dog (weather permitting) while other days I have to spend time outside the home without Kyuss sadly. Thankfully he’s a big dog so he has a big bladder and can hold it for quite a long time. As for grooming, Sundays are when Kyuss gets his nails trimmed and dremmeled and a quick brush since he has a short coat.

    When he was a pup however, he had a set in stone schedule. He would go out at 4AM in the beginning as that is when he’d wake up in his crate and whine. (crates are amazing, I highly reccomend) He eventually grew enough to hold it overnight and then he was out first thing in the morning. Now that he’s approaching 4 years old, he’s able to wait a full hour after I wake up to go out. He doesn’t have a crate anymore, just a mat; but the crate was the best method for training him to go to his bed.

    Good luck with your new pup!

  5. I know that Honey loves having us around. But on the days that we’re home and spending time with her, she gets very exhausted. As long as a dog isn’t anxious while you’re away, I think many of them find the chance to snooze during the day helpful.

    That said, one of us always comes home to visit her at lunch. It’s a nice break for both of us.

    My other routine is to feed Honey kibble from a food toy like a Kong Wobbler or a Tug-a-Jug. It’s fun for her to work for her food and it slows her down so she doesn’t gobble it all up in a second. I’ll sometimes leave the food for her when I go out the door so she has something exciting to look forward to when I’m gone.

  6. Abby, you’ll be a great mama. Before I got Ivy I not only typed up our daily routine but I wrote pages of notes of what amounted to a training schedule for her first three months with me. Two things: (1) consistency is everything and (2) never underestimate the power of spending two minutes on training. When she was a puppy I got up at 5:00 to be with her, giving us a full hour alone before anyone else got up and two hours before the humans had to leave the house. We played in the kitchen and spent about ten minutes on learning her skill-of-the-week. Then I’d reinforce it in the middle of the day and do five more minutes in the evening. Looking back, I treasure those early mornings we had together when she was so little and ready to learn. You’re going to have so much fun!

  7. It sounds like you are more prepared for a new dog than most people. If only everyone did as much research as you before bringing a dog home. I think this proves how awesome you are going to be and how lucky your dog will be to move in with you!

    My schedule is very similar to the one you laid out. My husband and I both work full-time but he tends to leave and return home earlier than I do, he also has much more flexibility in his schedule and often comes home for lunch during the day. Since I take the bus to work, that option isn’t available for me.
    I wake up at about 5:30 every morning and I leave for work about 8:30. This gives me plenty of time to walk her for at least 45 minutes (every dog has different energy levels!), shower, get ready for work, feed her and take her out for a second time. When I get home about 5:30 often my husband is already home. If he isn’t, I take Shiva out right away. Then we come back inside so I can decompress and we spend some time playing. At about six-thirty I take her for an hour-long walk while my husband makes dinner. When we get home Shiva gets her dinner and we relax. By 8:30 pm she is interested in playing again and this is when we do most of our trick training. By 9 to 9:30 she is ready to sleep. Before I go to be around ten or eleven, I take her out again for one last time. The routine works for us and our lifestyle. Once you figure things out I am sure you will find something that works for you!

  8. The schedule that you mentioned is pretty similar to mine, except I make my lunch the night before! Routine is really important for potty-training puppies. I suggest potty training in the yard first. My sister-in-law has a dog who won’t go in the yard so they always have to walk him to get him to go. I train my dogs to go in a special area of the yard which helps to keep them from pooping in areas where we walk or play until the yard is picked up. Training a command such as “potty” can also assist with getting him to do his duty if you’re in a hurry.

    If you get a puppy, letting him out during the lunch break is important. I took my dogs to my vet clinic which has a puppy daycare so I didn’t have to worry about getting home to let them out. There are also dogsitter services but those can be a bit more expensive.

    We have a huge yard, but I rarely leave them out when I’m not home. I have read too many stories about dogs being taken out of their yards. There’s also the possibility that someone electric company, cable tech, lawn service, etc. could leave the gate open.

    The first thing we do when we get home is let the dogs out!

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