A crate training schedule is a great tool to organize your dog’s daily routine. It gives you total control over your dog’s activities helping you adjust it to your daily needs and routine. There are plenty of factors to take into consideration when making the schedule and none will work the same; simply because just like us every dog is special.
In this article, I will be dissecting the different factors to take into consideration when making your crate training schedule.
I will be also explaining how to make a crate training schedule if you are working, and how a puppy schedule is different from an adult dog.
We will see together how to adjust that schedule to not only our dog’s needs but also ours.
And finally, I will be giving some useful tips on how to make your dog’s crate training schedule and how to make sure it is working.
Factors to consider when making a crate training schedule
Dogs just like humans are quite unique, they sure share common needs but how much of each they need is another story.
Being unique each dog shall have a unique crate training schedule, that adapts to his needs sleep playtime …
And because dogs come in all sorts of sizes we really can’t be giving too specific details, what we can do is divide dogs into three groups which are small dogs, medium dogs, and large breed dogs and you can go the extra mile in adjusting it to your dog’s needs.
So what are the main factors that will affect my program?
Feeding your dog
When it comes to feeding the dog, consistency is the keyword here; some dog owners don’t really have organized feeding habits. They just give the dog a bowl of food many times a day at different times with no clear schedule.
Feeding is a happy time for your dog and could be used to enhance training, besides dogs with stable feeding habits and daily routines are healthier.
It is advised that you feed the puppies three times a day In the same time every day. You also want to make those three feeding sessions evenly spaced out.
By doing so you can use it for your crate training, feeding in the crate associates food and happy experiences with the crate making the dog more likely to like his crate faster.
By the age of four months, you should cut those feeding sessions to two a day, for small and medium-size breeds and six months for larger ones.
Following the simple process of cause and effect, you can guess what’s the next factor.
Yes, you’ve guessed right, feeding leads to pooping, so how are the potting walks are going to affect our crate training schedule?
When it comes to potting, I like to use at the early age of the puppy’s life, a simple formula. Convert months into hours. so an 8 weeks puppy would hold it for about two hours.
This is valid up until the dog is six months old, where they seem to stabilize for once every 6 – 8 hours depending on how large of a breed it is.
Small puppies especially of small-sized breeds won’t be able to control their bladder for long, so the crate training during the night may require waking up once or twice to eliminate.
This is not really a very important factor, you can just shove it somewhere in your schedule. However, some information about how often you should do it isn’t going to hurt.
This is not an important factor simply because it is done about one in every four weeks.
So again depending on the breed, your dog’s bathing cycle could be different. This time it’s not the size that matters but rather the hair length.
- Long hair dogs should have their bath once every four weeks.
- Medium hair dogs should have their bath once every four to six weeks.
- Short hair dogs should have their bath once every six to eight weeks.
However, this is not some rule to follow to the letter if your dog goes out and gets all dirty, there is no harm in taking another bath.
Bathing time will also depend on how energetic your dog is and where exactly he lives if you have a large garden where he can get dirty easier he sure will be needing baths more often.
You can also use brushing to keep the stinky smells away and to get rid of the dead hair and small dirt
And the next factor would be what gets the dog dirty in the first place, yes playtime.
Playtime and exercising
If you have read my guide about crate training, you will notice how much I emphasize exercising before going to the crate to take down your dog”s energy.
Dogs need to exercise daily, those who don’t will risk both mental and health issues. They can get chubby and that causes plenty of health issues.
Dogs who exercise sufficiently are more receptive to training and more likely to listen to their owners.
The average exercising time is about 5 minutes per month for smaller breeds and ten minutes per month for larger ones; twice a day. In addition to that, there is some active indoor playtime with toys and other active games.
A puppy that is three months old should have 15 minutes of exercising twice a day and another 30 minutes of playtime a day.
Some dogs, of course, could make the exception being super energetic, while others could go with half that time. All you have to do is to go gradually and observe how your dog is dealing with it if he still is too energetic even after exercising time you can increase it a bit.
Sleeping is a big part of a dog’s day adult dogs spend half their day sleeping while puppies may sleep up to 18 hours a day.
Now you may find this strange and want your dog to enjoy his day more, have more activities, but there is a logical explanation to their excessive need to sleep.
Here is how dogs spend their day :
50% of their time is just sleeping this is due to the fact that dogs only spend 10% of their sleep time in the REM; (The REM is the deep sleep phase) as opposed to us humans who spend 25% of our sleeping time in the REM.
So dogs need to sleep more there is nothing wrong whit it, this is how their system works.
They spend another 30% awake but being totally inactive just chilling somewhere indoors with no kind of activity in mind whatsoever.
The remaining 20% is where they are active and need to exercise and have some active playtime.
They need daily exercise not just in the week-ends and stimulations toys to chew on or like puzzles or Kong toys.
Scavenging games are also great where they have to look for hidden treats and toys around the room.
Dogs are more energetic in the morning so you should exercise then, to break down the energy for crate training.
Finally, those are the factors that you should include in your crate training schedule to have a successful one that covers both your needs and your dogs
Crate training schedule for non-working dog owners
If you don’t have to go to work and leave your dog behind or have flexible working hours that allow you to be around your dog throughout the day your dog is lucky.
Preparing a crate training schedule will be much easier, and you can have fast results with your training program.
In fact, depending on your dog it could be a matter of days for your dog to be willing to stay in his crate.
Being at home all day supervising the dog at all times does not mean you can give the dog much more freedom than needed. Some dogs may just keep on playing till they’re exhausted.
Now let’s start with puppies and make a model schedule that you can follow easily.
Crate training schedule for puppies
When you have someone supervising the puppy at all times, the crate training schedule could be easy to follow.
I am going to show a case study for an average size and age dog because clearly, we can’t just make one for every dog.
I am going to lay down the basics and the simple math to get the hours you have for each activity and you can just adjust it to your dog’s age and size.
Case study four months old puppy medium size
here are the calculations I made to come up with this schedule.
An average 4 months old puppy will sleep from 12 to 14 hours a day including 10 to 12hours at night and 2 hours during the day.
If we apply the 5 to 10 minutes exercising formula as 5 for small breeds and 10 for larger ones we have 7,5 for medium breeds for a 4 months old puppy which gives us 30 min of exercising twice a day and the same as active playtime.
Feeding should be 3 times a day spaced out evenly, so we have to consider feeding approximately every 4 hours or so.
Potting breaks should be around 3 to 4 hours.
Considering the puppy’s age he should be no more than 6 hours a day in the crate.
So taking into consideration all the factors mentioned above your schedule should look something like this :
|08h45||Feeding in the crate|
|09h00||Chilling in the crate|
|11h15||Chilling in the crate|
|12h45||Feeding in the crate|
|16h00||Chilling in the crate|
|17H30||Feeding in the crate|
|17h45||Chilling outside the crate|
|19h00||Chilling in the crate|
|21h15||Going to bed|
This is of couse only an exemple you can follow to make your own, after all you will have to update it monthly untill your dog reaches 6 months.
Crate training schedule for older dogs
Adult dog’s schedule is easier to plan, there are fewer potting walks and the feeding is only twice a day and exercise and playtime are longer.
Again this is an average dog schedule, although, the size difference is less influent in adulthood than the first puppy phase.
Case study adult dog medium size
Here we have around 12 hours of sleep a day with 2 hours at a noon long nap.
Playtime is of two sessions a day 1 hour each and the same for exercise.
And your schedule should look something like this :
|09h15||Feeding in the crate|
|09h30||Chilling in the crate|
|13h30||Chilling in the crate|
|18h15||Chilling in the crate|
|19h45||Feeding in the crate|
|21h00||Chilling in the crate|
|22h45||Going to bed|
Older dogs are easier to manage as long as they exercise enough they can adapt very easily to your own schedule.
Crate training schedule for working dog owners
Crate training your dog while at work could really be a tough and challenging mission. But with small arrangements, you can make it work.
For working owners, puppies just can’t make it through 8 hours in the crate and you just need to find a solution
I would recommend you check out this article I wrote about this particular subject it gives great ideas for potential solutions to consider.
Your schedule will depend on the solution you choose because they are very different approaches that require different levels of implication from you.
If you have just a friend passing by walking the dog during the day; you will have to do most of the work. However, if you choose dog daycare, you have fewer things to worry about.
Since adult dogs are capable of making it through 8 hours in the crate under certain conditions we will be suggesting a crate training schedule that fits a full-time job.
Case study adult dog medium size
Working full-time is often 8 to 9 hours with time to go to work and coming from it.
During this time the dog will be in his crate with some nice toys, he will probably be sleeping from 1 to 2 hours during that time.
So your adult dog schedule should look something like this :
|07h45||Feeding in the crate|
|08h00||Chilling in the crate|
|18h15||Chilling out of the crate|
|20h00||Feeding in the crate|
|20h30||Chilling in the crate|
|20h45||Chilling out of the crate|
|22h30||Going to bed|
The dog must exercise before going into the crate and never go back after you come home.
8 to 9 hours with some sleeping time within, is more than enough and should not be done during the weekend.
Adjustable crate training schedule to my needs
Adjusting your dog’s schedule to yours is not difficult adult dogs often adapt well to all situations as long as it’s not beyond their capabilities. Like less sleeping hours or less food, that they cant adapt to.
However, adjusting his schedule to yours, means you having one in the first place.
You have to have a good daily program to fit your dog in it, you can’t just be winging it.
It is a huge responsibility especially if you are working and have no one else to help with the dog. So having a daily routine is very helpful when it comes to taking care of your dog.
Before you start crafting your crate training schedule, there are a few things you should know.
What type of dogs you have
Is your dog energetic or is he more of a chill dog; because energetic ones may need another hour a day of playtime and exercise while chill ones prefer just long walks outside.
Does your dog like walks or playing in the house more, those are the questions that you should answer before making a crate training schedule.
Tips to making your own crate training schedule
It is really simple math, all you have to do is write down the basic information, do the calculations and start from there.
Step one: Sleeping hours
You have to start by defining your dog’s sleeping hours; an 8 weeks old puppy will sleep up to 18 hours a day which leaves you with 6 hours of activity.
Step two: Food
Once your sleeping hours calculated you have your activity hours which you divide by three if it’s a puppy or two if it’s an adult dog.
This will give you how much time until you feed your dog; twice a day for adults and three times for puppies.
Step three: Potting breaks
You have to have one just as the dog wakes up and another before going to sleep.
That being said, you have to put in potting breaks according to your puppies age and how large of a breed the bigger the less potting breaks they’ll need.
Small puppies may need to eliminate every 2 to 3 hours while adults could hold it up to 8 hours or more with practice.
Step four: Exercising and playtime
This also has to be according to the dog’s age, small dogs may need only an hour a day or less if a small breed. also, a similar time of active playtime.
Take into consideration that exercise must be before going in the crate and one session before going to bed.
Step 5: Time in the crate
This is actually the last ingredient of your crate training schedule recipe. If you’ve implemented all the above factors into your schedule; you should have free spots left in which you crate train your dog.
Just make sure no session is over 2 hours for small puppies and nothing over 8 hours for adult dogs; and that only for working owners.
If you follow these steps you can make a crate training schedule easily and make it fit any program you have just make sure you don’t cross any red lines by pushing your dog beyond his limits.
How do I know my crate training schedule is working
Now, that you’ve made your crate training schedule, you want to know if it fits your dog’s needs; So how are we going to test it?
There are many ways to test if your schedule is working or not, And the most obvious one is your dog’s behavior.
You want to evaluate your dog’s behavior to look for possible signs he might be sending you.
If you notice any change in your dog’s habits, like is he more passive and lazy during the day than he used to be you may be over-exercising. Or if the dog is still very energetic at bedtime you could be doing too much crate time. Or maybe not enough playtime.
Be aware of your dog’s response to your new schedule and don’t forget to adapt it over time while the puppy is growing up.
And if needed don’t hesitate to adjust it until your dog is stable and happy again.
And make sure to eliminate any other potential problems by choosing the perfect size crate and the best food and treats to crate train your dog. As these are also, very important aspects of your dog’s training that may be overlooked.
In this article, we did not go over sleeping hours as I already made an article about this and this is often a first few nights problem. Make sure you check my article to help you get through your first nights of crate training.
Some of the data about dogs’ sleeping habits are based on experiences made by other people and for intellectual honesty here are the Source 1 / Source 2.