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Getting A Routine

1. Feeding Schedule.

The best way to feed your new puppy or dog is on a fixed feeding schedule rather than free feeding. Leave the food down for about 30 minutes and then remove anything uneaten until the next feeding time. This type of feeding schedule will usually eliminate problems of over and underfeeding your dog. The dog will develop the habit of eating at regular times and you can monitor the amount he eats more easily. Some dogs will just pick at their food if it's left out all the time. Usually these dogs develop poor eating habits or are usually very thin. Others will overeat and become just plain fat.

A young puppy of about 8 - 14 weeks old might need to be fed about four time a day - morning, lunch, evening and night. A young dog of 14 weeks to about 6 months will probably eat about three times a day - morning, afternoon, night. From about 6 months to a year he should eat about twice a day and after a year you can feed him about once a day as long as he keeps up his proper weight. Most dogs will let you know when they don't need the extra feedings. My dogs would usually skip the fourth feeding when they were ready for three feedings a day and would eventually skip the third feeding when they were ready for two feedings a day. This schedule is not cast in concrete, every dog is different so its best to let the dog determine the schedule as they get older.
2. Potty Schedule.

Most puppies follow a similar schedule. They generally have to relieve themselves about every two hours for the first 3 months. After that they can go maybe three hours and gradually increase the time as they get older. You can usually tell by how long the puppy goes at night before waking you to go out. They will usually whine or cry or begin getting fidgety when they need to go out.

Besides the general schedule there are factors that influence other times your puppy needs to go out:

a. First thing in the morning - before anything else gets done.

b. Upon waking up from a nap

c. Two hours after eating

d. Last thing before bedtime - the later the better
How To Do It

Confine, Confine, Confine.

Do not leave your puppy unattended or loose in the house. If you cannot watch him constantly, crate or confine him. Here's how I do it. I attach a chain leash to the leg of one of the chairs or couch in our family room - the room frequented by family members. I also attach a chain leash to the leg by the headboard of our bed. In both places I have a large throw rug. The puppy stays on one of the leashes during the day and night. We are in the family room or going through the family room constantly. We all take time to sit with the puppy and play with him and his toys. He usually falls asleep on the carpet when tired and when he wakes up - it's outside*. During other times he will usually go to the end of the leash and whine or cry, indicating a need to go out.

He comes in the kitchen to be fed in his crate and I will close the crate while he eats. Then it's back on the leash after dinner. About two hours later he will be ready to go out again. This routine goes on until he is regularly letting us know he needs to go outside. Training time varies with each dog. Once you start letting him loose for short periods of time, be sure to keep close watch for signs that he has to go out. Learn what those signs are for your dog. Its good not to give your pup free run of the house until he is completely housebroken. NOTE: I never withheld water from my puppies and never found that to be a problem. Just keep a routine.

* It is important to remember to use the same door every time you take the puppy outside to eliminate. Also, be sure to let your puppy walk to the door on leash every time. This way he will learn the route to take when he has to go. It is also a good idea to select the spot you want the puppy to use. Be sure to praise him lavishly when he goes to the proper spot. You can use a cue word like "hurry up" when he begins to relieve himself to make potty time "on call" when he gets older. ALSO, be prepared to stay outside with him until he does everything he has to do. Don't rush him and dont just put him out by himself - GO OUT WITH HIM. Play with him a little bit while you're outside with him. Sometimes they might urinate immediately but need more time to move their bowels. They usually poop for every meal they eat, more or less. Be sure to give them the time they need.

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