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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about surviving the first 24 hours with my new puppy Niffler. He’s now almost 15 weeks old and I wanted to write a follow-up outlining how an average day goes for us.
For a bit of context, Niffler is a border collie. He’s extremely active but, luckily, has so far been an easy puppy. I’m sure part of that is due to the training and schedule I’ve maintained for him – but even the best trainers sometimes struggle with tricky puppies. This is meant to be an outline for you, but don’t feel bad if your puppy isn’t on the same page as mine!
Here’s how an average day goes for my 15-week-old puppy nowadays:
- 10pm: final potty break of the evening. He gets a treat for going potty about 50% of the time now, but he’s been incredibly (and blissfully) easy to potty-train.
- 10pm – 7am: Niffler sleeps in his crate about 5 feet from my bed, or in my bed. We trade off every few nights.
- 7am: first potty break of the morning. I have a fenced yard, so he and Barley (my adult dog) just go out together.
- 7am – 8am: Barley and Niffler wrestle while I prepare breakfast, scroll through my phone, etc.
- 8am: breakfast
- 8:15am: second potty break
- 8:15 – 10am: Barley and Niffler are free to play together while I work.
- 10am: another potty break
- 10am-12pm: Niffler is closed into his Puppy Palace for a nap. He’s got plenty of toys to self-entertain if he’d like.
- 12pm: another potty break
- 12 – 1pm: Niffler is back in his pen while I’m preparing lunch and out of sight.
- 1pm – 2pm: 1-hour-long gentle off-leash walk at a local fishing trail.
- 2pm: snack! Stuffed Kong in the crate.
- 2-4pm: hanging out in the Puppy Palace area.
- 4-6pm: we go into town for a short walk, then he sleeps in the crate in the car while Barley and I go for a 1.5 hour run.
- 6-7pm: socialization walk around downtown Missoula. I’m working hard to ensure that Niffler is comfortable in urban areas despite being raised in the middle of nowhere Idaho and now living in the middle of nowhere Montana. He got treats for scary things, wagged at lots of strangers, and practiced loose-leash walking skills.
- 7pm: dinner
- 7-9pm: free play with Barley, some toy play with me.
- 9pm: 5 minute training session
- 9:05: potty break
- 9-10pm: in the Puppy Palace while I read
- 10pm: final potty break of the evening.
You’ll notice that even though Niffler hasn’t had an accident in a few weeks, he’s still getting lots of potty breaks. One could argue that he’s not getting as much training as I’d like, but honestly he’s SO well-behaved that I don’t mind much. My focus is helping us learn to LIVE together first, then the training can come later.
If I didn’t have Barley to play with Niffler so much, I suspect I’d spend more time training and playing with Niff!
How does your schedule for your 15-week-old differ?
Kayla founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant who’s worked with hundreds of private clients, thousands of shelter dogs, and dozens of working detection dogs. Kayla’s dog and cat behavior advice has been featured in NPR, the Chicago Tribune, and Pet MD. She’s an avid adventurer who is currently doing #vanlife on the Pan-American Highway with her two border collies and a cat. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams. You can get 1:1 advice with a Journey Dog Training team member here.
I’ve got a 15-week old working-bred border and our day looks much the same except he’s an only pup so I’m the playmate all the time (for better or worse)! And he comes to work with me at a big urban university so spends a lot of time in my tiny office instead of a crate or pen. Amazed at how he grows and learns every day!
Isn’t it fun and cool? I can’t imagine how tired you must be, being on dog-duty at all times! I’m SO grateful for my older dog’s help.