Congrats! You’re getting a new puppy OR you’ve just brought your new puppy home! It’s a very exciting time in the life of new fur parents…but figuring out how to integrate a new puppy into your daily life isn’t always as easy as spending time cuddling on the couch and playing with toys in the backyard.
I know from experience as I’ve brought many new puppies into my home over the years! And, just like bringing a new baby home, I know how quickly things can get confusing and overwhelming.
In an effort to help set up new puppy parents for success, I’ve created my very own 8-week-old puppy schedule to help you set yourself—and your new canine companion—up for success and I’m going to share it with you today!
8 Week Old Puppy Schedule – What Is It?
Bringing home a new puppy is incredibly similar to bringing home a new baby. And while a puppy might not be as big of a transition as a new human would be, they both need a system or schedule put in place to thrive in your home!
Think about it for a minute…
If you’ve ever had a baby, or have a friend or family member that has kids, you know how important it is to have a schedule or chaos ensues. The new baby must eat every 2-3 hours. It’s important to ensure the baby has a certain number of dirty diapers throughout the day. And, of course, keeping your child on a sleep schedule is an absolute must if mom or dad plan on getting any sleep.
Your puppy needs the same routine every single day, or I guarantee you puppy parenthood will become much more difficult than it needs to be.
That’s why I’ve created my 8-Week-Old Puppy Schedule: The Ultimate Guide to Training Your New Puppy. BTW this is an update of my older post: Puppy Schedule for 8-10 Weeks Old
Having a puppy schedule in place from the day you bring your puppy home (usually around 8 weeks of age) IS THE KEY to helping create a solid foundation for your pup as they grow into a mature dog. And I’m so excited to share with you my puppy schedule, including videos from my very own Project Moses Video Diary!
What’s the optimal schedule for your new pup? Keep reading to find out…
A Little Disclaimer…
In an effort to provide you with the most comprehensive puppy schedule possible, I’ve packed a lot of information into an hour-by-hour puppy schedule.
I know, it might look a little overwhelming. The schedule might even make you think “How is it humanly possible to stick to such a routine week after week?”
I want you to know one thing before you scroll any further…
I 100% understand that you have a life outside of your puppy. Between kids and jobs and other activities, it’s not always possible to provide your puppy with 100% of your attention week after week, month after month.
The goal of this schedule isn’t to overwhelm you. It’s to give you a solid framework that you can work off of. It’s designed to help educate you on how to best set up your puppy’s day with everything from feeding schedules to potty training.
My advice is that you do as best as you can to stick to the schedule when you first bring your new puppy home. And, as your puppy gets older, understand that they WILL become more independent and require a less structured schedule.
You may not be able to follow this schedule completely, but I guarantee it will be an incredibly helpful resource that will enable you to set your puppy up for success as you make the transition into puppy parenthood!
Doggy Dan’s 8-Week-Old Puppy Schedule: Simplifying The Puppy Parenting Process with the PEES Structure
If you look online for puppy schedules, you can easily become overwhelmed by the amount of information available…not to mention the complexity of some of the schedules put out there.
It’s no wonder people give up on routines after only a few days of putting them into practice.
Here’s the good news…the ultimate puppy schedule can be broken down into 4 main needs….
…otherwise known as the PEES structure!
As you’ll find out, a lot of your puppy’s schedule will revolve around potty breaks, so it’s my hope that you will find this acronym easy to remember!
The structure also breaks down the four most important parts of your puppy’s day, and the order in which these activities should occur to set your puppy up for success.
Down at the bottom of this article, you’ll find my hour-by-hour schedule that clearly outlines when these activities should take place!
But, before I share the schedule with you, I wanted to provide some really important schedule and training information that correlates with each letter (PEES) of the schedule.
It’s my hope that you can “plug and play” with these activities in correlation with the schedule to keep your puppy focused, engaged, and on a well-rounded system. Check it out now…
A More Detailed Walk Through the 8-Week-Old Puppy Schedule
Looking at the 8-week-puppy schedule above, it’s easy to piece together what your puppy should be doing throughout the day.
That being said, there are a bunch of important subcategories within each of the main topics. For example, “How do I safely leave my puppy alone to rest during Sleep time?” or “What do I need to know about feeding my new puppy meals during Eating time?”
Let’s break down the four main categories so I can provide you with some incredibly important information on each topic that will help set your puppy up for success…
Potty (P): Some Insight Into My Best Toilet Training Practices
Potty training a puppy is something many puppy parents struggle with. However, when you make going potty a regular part of your daily routine, it becomes much easier for your pup to get a hold of using the bathroom in appropriate places.
Taking your new puppy out to use the bathroom MUST be the first thing you do every morning as your little pal simply isn’t capable yet of holding his/her urine for really long periods of time.
It’s not ok to sleep in and wait until 10 AM to give your pup a potty break. If you do so, I guarantee you’ll become frustrated as you wake up to potty accidents. Before you get your cup of coffee, watch the news, get showered for the day, etc. get your puppy outside immediately.
Bring your puppy to the area you want them to potty in, and give your pup ample time to do their business. It’s likely that your pup will use the restroom pretty quickly, but if they don’t (as some puppies are easily distracted) give your puppy enough time (at least 15 minutes) and some encouragement (perhaps the command “Go Potty”) while you wait.
After your pup does his/her business, reward them with a pat or maybe even a treat as your new pal might need a little extra reward at this young of an age.
For the most part, potty training isn’t difficult. It’s all about being proactive and setting your puppy up to win.
If you find yourself needing some extra guidance on potty training, I encourage you to sign up for my FREE potty training video course here!
And to ensure you’re providing your pup with enough potty breaks throughout the day, please download a copy of my Puppy Potty Time Chart where you can log the times you’re taking your pup out for a bathroom break.
Exercise (E): Fun Activities to Keep Your Puppy Engaged and Moving During the Day
Like toddlers, puppies are full of energy and they need to be kept active during the day so they don’t go crazy or become destructive.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can keep your puppy active and engaged…and many of the activities I’m about to share also contain various training principles.
Check out the following activities you can plug into the “E” hours of your puppy’s schedule.
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All dogs have social needs. And most dogs have a desire to play and interact with other dogs.
That being said, socializing a dog with other dogs at an early age is an important part of ensuring your pup knows how to play and interact with other canines appropriately.
Knowing how important socialization is, I recommend that you start finding opportunities to socialize your pup as soon as you can! The best part…it’s a fun activity that’s not only good for your puppy’s training, but can also help tire your pup out as he/she is full of all that puppy energy.
Of course, there are a few things you need to think about before exposing your puppy to other dog’s. For example…
- Is your puppy properly vaccinated so he/she doesn’t pick up any dangerous illnesses while playing with another dog?
- Do you personally know the dog you’re introducing your puppy to/know that the dog is friendly and safe?
- Have you put safety measures in place to ensure both dogs can remain calm and happy during their playdate?
There’s a lot that goes into socializing a puppy to prevent behavioral issues with other dogs down the road. Because this is such an important topic, I want to share with you 3 videos from my Project Moses Video Diary so you can see first hand how I handled socialization with Moses during three different stages of his early life (I filmed the raising of my puppy, Moses, from 8 weeks to 1 year and created a video-diary course — these are just a few of the 70+ videos covering the important stages of his first year that you can access in my Puppy Coach program).
Watch the progress of Moses and socialization in these 3 videos below, as he grows from 10 weeks to 8 months (in the Puppy Coach Video Diary, there are so many more videos in between these stages that show vital nuances in his training and development).
Having a handful of puppy toys on hand makes it easy to keep your pup entertained throughout the day. Whether you decide to take your puppy outside for a game of fetch or monitor him indoors with a puzzle toy, there are many ways you can keep your puppy both mentally and physically stimulated.
Here are a few of my favorite toys to have on hand…
- A ball/frisbee for a game of fetch.
- An antler bone which provides a constructive and natural chewing source.
- A puzzle toy for mental stimulation.
- A kong you can fill with a treat to keep your pup busy.
- A soft, plush toy…some puppies love carrying around a cuddly toy!
Puppies are incredibly smart! When you provide them with toys, they quickly learn what they are/are not allowed to play with in your home. For example, giving your dog a bone to chew on should help keep your pup from chewing up your favorite pair of slippers.
If you’re struggling with chewing, I encourage you to take a look at an article I wrote on how to get your dog from chewing on and destroying your stuff… Read it now!
At 8-weeks-old, it’s likely that your puppy will struggle to walk on a leash–let alone be able to walk very far before they decide to take a nap on the grass!
That being said, leash training is something you should start right away with your puppy in order to teach him/her proper outdoor walking manners.
You can simply start in your backyard getting your puppy accustomed to using a leash with a little stroll around the grass. As your puppy gets older and a little more aware of what going on a walk means, I encourage you to use the resources below…
Eat (E): Setting Your Pup Up for Success at Mealtime
Feeding your puppy might seem like a simple, straightforward part of owning a dog. However, most people don’t realize how big of an impact food can have on various aspects of your puppies training.
I recommend setting up a designated mealtime area. Always make sure to change your puppy’s water so it’s fresh and clean and serve his/her breakfast in a designated dog bowl.
You can help your puppy remain calm around food by asking them to sit and wait until they’ve been given the command to go ahead and eat. Of course, this is more difficult with an 8-week-old puppy, but it’s not impossible to set boundaries so your pup isn’t jumping all over you.
Once you’ve given your pup their food, you can practice gently giving your pup a pet while they eat or even picking up the food bowl once in the middle of their meal time. Of course, you don’t want to be a pest to your pup. But, interacting with a puppy while they eat can help negate aggressive food behaviors down the road while gently reminding your pup that you are the provider.
Like I said, don’t be an annoyance as it’s not fair to pester your puppy while they enjoy a meal. But a little interaction is very helpful when it comes to teaching your puppy to be gentle with food.
Setting your puppy up for success with food is so important I’m going to share an exclusive video with you from my Project Moses Video Diary—one of many videos within a paid program that show you step-by-step how to work with your new puppy as I train my puppy, Moses.
Moses is 5 months old in this video. However, the principals are the same regardless of whether your puppy is 8 weeks or 8 months.
Watch the video now…
Frequency of Meals
Transitioning from mother’s milk to puppy food is a big change for your little puppy’s stomach. This transition is often made easier when you feed your puppy multiple smaller meals throughout the day.
That’s why you’ll notice 4 distinct feeding times on my puppy schedule! Of course, as your puppy grows, their feeding needs will change and become less frequent.
I recommend you talk to your vet to get their advice on what’s best for your individual puppy. But, you’ll likely find that most professionals stick to a feeding chart similar to the one I recommend.
For reference, take a look at my recommendations of how much your puppy should be eating as they grow…
Puppy Food Options
It’s likely your vet has already advised you on the best food options for your new puppy. However, if you’re looking for some homemade options, I encourage you to check my resources below…
Sleep (S): Providing Your Puppy with a Safe Spot to Sleep and Relax
Just like a new baby, your puppy is going to require a lot of sleep during their first year of life. Therefore, it’s important to schedule time to let your puppy sleep or rest without being bothered by anyone…including other animals in your home.
Setting Up a Safe Sleep Space
It’s essential that you set up a safe space where you can leave your puppy without worrying about them getting into trouble while not being supervised.
I have a video that I want to share with you that I’ve pulled directly from my Project Moses Video Diary. In this video I will show you how I set up a safe space for my puppy Moses so you can set up a similar space in your home.
Take a look at Moses’s living arrangements at 8-weeks old!
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Making Your Puppy Feel Safe
It’s important to understand that your tiny little puppy probably won’t like being left by themself. After all, a puppy is just a baby who wants his/her “mommy.”
However, the more you practice spending time away from your pup, the easier it will become for both of you! The key is to ensure your puppy feels safe, and not to give into those sad little squeaks every time you leave the room.
This is such an important part of your puppy’s schedule that I filmed the steps I took on leaving Moses alone when he was just 8 weeks old. I’m sharing this exclusive video from my Project Moses Video Diary in hopes that it will help you avoid any problems or serious behavioral issues (like separation anxiety) in the future!
Bonus Video from inside the puppy coach video diary:
How To Leave Your Puppy At Home Alone
Overnight Crate Training
The long overnight bedtime haul can be challenging for puppies…especially when they are left alone in the dark and can’t see where you are.
One tip I have—if you have a puppy that howls and whines at night—is to slowly move your puppy’s crate out of your room night after night. Each evening, move your puppy another foot or two away from your bed, until your puppy is eventually in a different room.
Doggy Dan’s 8-Week-Puppy Schedule
Now that we’ve covered everything that goes into my 8-week-old puppy schedule, I want to share with you an hour-by-hour outline you can use to structure your day!
Be sure to print off the outline and hang it somewhere you can see it in your home so you can use it as a daily reminder of how to structure your new puppy’s day!
8-Week-Puppy Schedule By Hour
6:00 AM – Potty (P)
Taking your puppy out should always be the first thing you do every morning…even before grabbing a cup of coffee or taking a shower!
6:15 AM – Exercise (E)
After a potty break, your pup needs some stimulation. Pick an activity from the “Exercise” section to do with your pup!
7:00 AM – Eat (E)
After your puppy has some activity time, it’s time for breakfast!
7:55 AM – Potty (P)
Eating often stimulates your puppy’s need to use the restroom. Get your puppy outside for a potty break.
8:00 AM – Sleep Time (S)
Time for a rest! Put your pup in his safe sleeping area so you can get some stuff done!
8:45 AM – Potty (P)
Yes, it’s time for another potty break! Be sure to get your pup outside in order to prevent an accident from happening in your home!
9:00 AM – Exercise (E)
Your puppy is fully recharged and ready for some exercise!
10:00 AM – Sleep (S)
Time for a rest! Let your puppy have some quiet time alone in his designated puppy area.
10:45 AM – Potty (P)
It’s potty break time! Make sure you get your pup outside!
11:00 AM – Eat – Feed Time #2 (E)
Feed time #2 ensures your pup gets a steady stream of nutrition throughout the day without overfilling his/her tummy. Talk to your vet about how much you should feed your puppy at every meal!
11:15 AM – Exercise (E)
With a full belly, your pup is ready to play again! Have fun!
12:00 PM – Potty (P)
Time for another bathroom break! Be sure to get your puppy outside!
12:15 PM – Sleep (S)
Your puppy needs a rest! Place him in the crate/secure puppy area and enjoy your lunch!
1:00 PM – Exercise (E)
Your puppy needs something fun to do! Go for a romp in the grass or pull out a fun toy and get some playtime in!
1:45 PM – Potty (P)
You know the drill…make sure your puppy has an opportunity to use the restroom!
2:00 PM – Eat – Feed Time #3 (E)
It’s time for an afternoon meal! Bon Appetit!
2:15 PM – Exercise (E)
Make some time to play with your puppy!
3:00 PM – Sleep (S)
It’s time for your puppy to take another rest! You probably need one too!
4:00 PM – Potty (P)
After some time resting inside, be sure to get your pup out for a potty break!
4:15 PM – Exercise (E)
Your pup is ready for some more fun! Find a fun activity to enjoy together!
5:00 PM – Eat – Feed Time #4 (E)
It’s time for your puppy’s final feed time! The closer you stick to a feed schedule every day, the more predictable your puppy’s potty schedule will become.
5:15 PM – Potty (P)
Be sure to head outside for a bathroom break after dinner!
6:30 PM – Exercise (E)
Set your puppy up with a fun toy or spend some time playing on the floor together!
7:30 PM – Sleep (S)
After some activity, put your puppy in their safe space for a rest break.
8:15 PM – Potty (P)
After rest time, make sure your puppy gets a chance to use the restroom!
8:30 PM – Exercise (E)
It’s time for the last activity time of the night! Play with your pup and do your best to tire them out so they will sleep during the night!
10:00 PM – Final Potty and Bedtime
Set your puppy up for success by taking them out one final time for a potty break before bed. After your puppy goes potty, bring them directly to his/her crate for bedtime.
Simplifying the 8-Week-Old Puppy Schedule – The Puppy Coach Program
I just threw a lot of information at you regarding my 8-week-old puppy schedule. It’s possible it may all even seem a little overwhelming! That’s because there’s a lot that goes into responsibility bringing a new puppy into your home.
But, if you break it down into your puppy’s 4 main need categories (Potty, Eat, Exercise, Sleep) you can ensure your new puppy gets everything they need to thrive during their first few weeks in your home.
The harder piece of the puzzle is adapting your schedule as your puppy grows. After all, an 8-month-old puppy has vastly different needs than an 8-week-old puppy.
So then, what resource do you use once your puppy hits 4 months, 6 months, or 8 months old?
The best way to keep up with your puppy’s ever-changing needs…my comprehensive Puppy Coach training program.
The Puppy Coach training program is a step-by-step instruction manual that provides EVERYTHING you need to know about taking care of your puppy during his/her entire puppyhood.
It’s a roadmap that covers everything from lessons on basic obedience training to how to manage serious dog behavioral issues, and contains 70+ videos on how to set your puppy up for success as they age into adulthood.
And I can guarantee that it’s the only resource any new puppy parent needs because it contains 2 of my most powerful puppy training resources—my Project Moses Video Diary AND The Perfect Puppy Program.
So what’s your next step as a puppy parent? I encourage you to at least take a look at the program below…
I wish you the best with your new canine companion. Here’s to many years of happiness and good health!