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Feeding Schedule

You should discuss this with your vet on your puppy’s first visit. They’ll be able to give you recommendations based on your puppy’s weight. Here’s what we suggest to get started: 


At 8 Weeks: feed 1/2 cup of kibble 3 times per day


At 12 Weeks: continue feeding 3 times per day but increase to about 2-3 cups per day (3/4-1 cup per feeding)


At 6 Months: you can decrease to two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) and increase to 3-4 cups per day (1 1/2 - 2 cups per meal) depending on your pup's size. Your vet can help here! 


Meal-time tips: 

  • Feed your puppy in the same distraction-free zone for every meal. In a house with multiple dogs, we feed each one in their crate and it works great (and helps promote crate positivity).

  • Dogs love routine! Make sure you’re feeding at roughly the same time each day. 

  • Give them about 15-20 minutes to eat and then pick the bowl up out of the floor. Free feeding is not recommended as it can lead to overeating, weight gain, or lack of interest in food.


Get into a routine!

One of the most important parts of your puppy’s homecoming is establishing a routine. Structure will help puppy feel secure and know what’s expected of him/her. The best way to do this is to create a schedule and stick to it. You don’t have to plan out every moment of the day, but there are a few important areas where a schedule can be beneficial:


  • Feeding Schedule – make sure you’re feeding around the same times each day. You can plan puppy’s meals around yours for ease! 

  • Potty Breaks – be ready to take puppy outside every two-to-four hours and after every change of activity. Frequent opportunities to potty will help keep accidents at bay!

  • Playtime, Playtime, Playtime – this is an important one! Strenuous exercise like long runs and jumping over the height of the puppy should be avioded until about one year of age to protect joints. However, playing with toys, mental stimulation through training, and running in the yard are so important! Multiple, short sessions will benefit you most and help puppy expend energy throughout the day. The more you play and practice positive reinforcement, the more you get to bond with your pup! 

  • Naps and Bedtime – Plan on several quiet nap time sessions throughout the day. It’s best to avoid disturbances while puppy is sleeping, he/she needs time to rest and recuperate! This is a great time to make use of the crate and help puppy become comfortable being alone at times. It may also be helpful to create a routine around bedtime so puppy becomes familiar with expectations to settle down at night.

Sample Schedule

Wake Up

Outside to potty: reward for doing business

Breakfast Time

Feed puppy


Outside to potty: reward for doing business 

Play time/training

Outside to potty: reward for doing business

After Breakfast

Outside to potty: reward for doing business 

Play time/training


Outside to potty: reward for doing business  

Nap time: ideally in a crate or pen


Outside to potty: reward for doing business  

Feed puppy 

Outside to potty: reward for doing business 

Play time/training

Outside to potty: reward for doing business  

Nap time: ideally in a crate or pen


Feed puppy: this can be during your dinner time, just watch for them to finish so you can take them outside. Give chew toy in crate/pen while you eat dinner. 

Outside to potty: reward for doing business


Play time/interaction with family


Outside to potty: reward for doing business  
Inside to crate for bed: try to do this at the same time each night for routine


If pup can’t make it all night, set an alarm to go out to potty. Then back in to crate to go back to sleep.


Crate Training Insights

If you’re still on the fence about crate training, here’s a great video explaining why it is good for your dog. 


The key to crate training is to make it a positive experience and to reward them for entering the crate. A good crate size for the life of the dog is a 42” with a divider  (for when they’re smaller). The crate should be only slightly bigger than they are currently so they’re not tempted to pee in one area and sleep in another. We do put a towel in with them, but most people suggest nothing at all because it encourages them to pee and then ball up the towel out of their way. Do not leave water in the crate for overnight. 


Put the “comfort rag” we give you in their crate the first night. (We recommend cutting the rag into 3 pieces in case they poop on it the first night.) Plan on letting them out 3-4 hours after bedtime at least the first week. Make sure to exercise and let them pee/poop before bedtime, so start about half an hour before you’re going to bed. EXPECT that there will be crying the first 2-3 nights. Don’t give in, they will adjust! The more tired they are before bed, the better luck you will have, so enjoy playtime! More tips here.


We recommend doing some research on trainers in your area before you bring puppy home. If you're local to the Richmond area, we have a handful of recommendations we can share, just ask!


Here are some questions to ask/think about when looking for a trainer: 

  • What methods and training philosophy do they use? Make sure you’re comfortable with their approach. Positive reinforcement has always been a key factor for us!

  • Do they offer group classes or one-on-one? If they offer group sessions, how large are the groups? We recommend finding a trainer with group sessions of no more than 6-8 dogs at a time. 

  • What kind of education/credentials do they have? How much experience? Look for reviews from previous students.

  • What will their course accomplish? Do they go beyond the basics? Make sure what they offer will meet your goals. 


Socialization: You should be selective about letting puppy around unknown dogs until they have had all of their vaccinations (16 weeks). Dogs you are familiar with that are up to date on their vaccines should be fine. Read more here.

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