21 Feb Putting Your Dog on a Schedule
Developing and sticking to a schedule is one advice I give a lot to dog owners. Many dogs benefit from a structured and predictable day – it can help anxious and shy dogs as well as the over-the-top crazy ones.
Here is a schedule from Yuna the Lab and her owner Alexander.
Putting Your Dog On A Schedule – A Typical Day For Yuna
Making sure that your dog’s schedule is consistent is one of the best ways to make them feel settled in.
Now, this doesn’t mean to robotically monitor your dog, making him relive the same activities day in and
day out. In fact, if you are too consistent, your dog could develop anxiety (see here).
But having a general schedule down for your pup is still recommended, and puts you in a nice rhythm as
well! So how do you do it?
The answer to that largely depends on your lifestyle. You’ll want to design a schedule that you yourself
can commit to. Don’t cater your schedule entirely for your pup, but you obviously can’t go down the other
extreme, neglecting them completely. Somewhere right in the middle is best.
I gave a general outline for Yuna’s schedule in (this blog post). Here, I will share an actual day
implementing that schedule. Join Yuna as she treks through her day!
Part 1: Morning Routine
On a typical day I’ll make sure both Yuna and I have relieved ourselves before 8AM. This means waking
up around 7:30, getting myself ready, watching Yuna stretch and yawn multiple times, and getting her
through her morning potty break.
This short walk is about 0.2 miles in length and I let Yuna do all the sniffing she wants. It’s a short ten
On this special day we run into a mischievous playmate on the way back who loves to bait Yuna and
then run away! Always fun to sprinkle a little surprise into a routine.
After returning home, we have breakfast. For Yuna, I mix two different flavors of kibble, and we rotate
through three flavors total. She is a pretty picky eater and this is a strategy that has worked pretty well to
get her eating consistently so far.
On the menu for breakfast is smoked salmon and roasted lamb. Sounds pretty good to me. Serving size
is a little over 1 cup total.
Part 2: Yuna Becomes a Working Dog
We’ll be out the door for work before 9. Seattle is known for cloudy, gloomy days and today is no
exception. Yuna is still excited whenever there’s a chance to explore the outside.
The walk to work is approximately 1.2 miles long, and I try to keep us moving. Depending on how quickly
I want to get to work that day, I’ll vary how closely I keep Yuna heeled. On average, this walk takes about
35 minutes to pull off. It involves a short stroll through Denny Park, climbing a few stairs, and plenty of
opportunities to practice sit when waiting at crosswalks.
On a typical day, I arrive to work around 9:30. Yuna is usually tired after this walk. She takes a drink and
settles in while I get hacking.
Most of the time at work she is kept close to my desk and just snoozes. Sometimes we’ll let her off the
leash and close the room door so she can beg for attention from fellow coworkers without running off.
Part 3: Lunch Break and Office Shenanigans
After I have lunch, I’ll typically take Yuna out for a bit to reward her for being so well-behaved in the
This is another short walk around the block, probably 0.3 miles in length, 10-15 minutes.
We run into a bunch of very nice humans in the elevator ride back, and Yuna is showered with affection.
Also, we get another surprise today as Yuna’s dog colleagues pay her a visit! Extraverted Yuna never
misses a chance to meet a nice dog or human.
Unfortunately, near the end of the work day Yuna does get pretty bored if people or dogs stop interacting
with her. You can tell in the video she’s about ready to leave.
Part 4: Dancing In The Rain
We’re beginning to experience the Seattle rain! This means gearing Yuna up before heading home.
It definitely takes some solid effort to get her into the raincoat and boots. She doesn’t like them very
much… can you tell?
Still, after a bit of walking it seems she’s starting to get used to them, albeit with a couple hiccups. It’s
going to rain a lot more in the months to come so getting her a more fitting set of boots is on my to-do
We’ll be out the door around 5:30, and the walk home definitely does take longer in the rain. Today it
took 45 minutes, due to the extra time I needed to re-strap Yuna’s boots a couple times along the way.
I opted to skip the dog park we usually pass by at Denny Park today. Sometimes we’ll head in and say hi
to the other pups for a good 15 minutes.
We make it home before 6:30, just in time for dinner.
Part 5: Messing Around With Yuna
I prepare Yuna’s dinner first thing after we get home. It’s another mix of two flavors of kibble, again a little
over 1 cup total serving. Roasted boar and smoked salmon. In general Yuna seems to gobble down
dinner faster than breakfast. She’s had a long day.
A bit after dinner, Yuna and I will typically do a short training session, no longer than 15 minutes in
length. I’ll use high-value treats she likes—dog biscuits or chicken jerky treats. We do a little shake
After I’ve had dinner, we’ll engage with Yuna in some playful activities.
Yuna absolutely loves plushes, and we recently got her the classic Ikea dog who she loves to chase
We also surprise her with a weird looking tube today. Yuna doesn’t understand why humans are so
We’ll typically cool her down after a play session with a dental treat.
Part 6: Nightly Routine
We’re near the end of the day. I take Yuna on her fifth and final walk, which is essentially the same route
as her morning potty break. Again, she gets to sniff around and relieve herself before checking out for
the night. We return home by 10 PM.
When she returns home this final time, I take a moment to wipe down her paws and “other dirty areas”
with a puppy wet wipe. She needs to be clean before leaping onto my bed!
If we decide to brush her teeth that day, we’ll also do it now. But that is still a work in progress for now…
Yuna is still not very welcome to a flaky brush in her mouth.
After that, it’s pretty much chill time for Yuna! She’ll usually feel ready to crash and will find some
comfortable spot in the house to lay down for a nap. She won’t fully commit to her sleep until I do though.
So around midnight or earlier, I’ll head to bed myself. We squeeze together on a twin-sized bed. I
probably won’t need a heater for the winter.
And That’s It!
There you have it, a typical weekday for Yuna. The key for me was ensuring she gets enough stimulation
during the day, as a whole day cooped up in the office can be pretty boring for a Lab. Apart from that, I
make sure she gets ample nutrition (while still trying to cut down her weight slightly) and plenty of
Whatever schedule you define for your pup, make sure it keeps both of you healthy and happy!
And be sure to check out Yuna’s Instagram, where I have these videos saved as a pinned highlight so
you can rewatch them with ease.
Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Yuna’s daily life!
About Yuna’s human
Alexander could not resist getting a dog shortly after moving to doggy heaven Seattle, WA. Now, he spends way too much time blogging about his yellow Labrador Yuna. He learns more about taking care of dogs every day and shares that knowledge with dog lovers worldwide. Check out his blog here (https://yunathelab.com) and Yuna‘s Instagram here (https://instagram.com/