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Hi,

I have a 5 month old mini dachshund. He is quite good suprisingly, but he still has a lot to learn. He is basically potty trained,

I read all these sites that say routine is important. And I really try to get him into a routine, but I also realize that dogs are different, and that I cannot force him to play when he is not interested or be outside for a walk when he is not interested.

In the mornings, on weekdays, we get up at 6, I try to use a routine to get him a bit more tired out before I put him in his crate, but really he would just be happy to snuggle up and go to sleep until 8, regardless of whatever time he goes to bed. But I need him to be pottied and fed before 7:30 so I can crate him without feeling like he will potty in his crate. He is only in his crate for 2 hours before my family comes and gets him and he stays with them for the day where someone is pretty much always home or when my husband is home from sea he comes out of the bedroom and gets him after the time is up. We are hoping to build him up to longer times in the crate so we are not so reliant on my family.

What I really want to know though, is how important is it that I keep to this schedule on the weekends, when I am home all the time? Is it ok to perhaps crate him at a slightly different time so that even though I am home he doesn't get unused to being in his crate?
 

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Welcome and congrats on your new puppy!

Routine is nice, but not crucial. He'll get used to your weekday vs weekend schedule. It is good that you're thinking about having him get used to being in his crate while you're home - that's one thing I wish I had done with mine.
 

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Thanks for your reply. Sometimes i just need a bit of reassurance the what I am doing is right, so it's great that I can try to switch it up a bit on the weekend. I do realize all dogs are different and react differently to different things, so I will see how it goes. He seems pretty good in his crate. He whines and barks for a minute or two and then calms down, generally.
 

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My dogs are only on a routine because my life is on a routine (leave for work at the same time, get home at the same time, etc). On weekends or vacation, the routine changes. We get up later, so they eat breakfast and go outside later, etc. Some dogs really thrive on routines and want to stick with them, but it sounds like your pup is pretty go with the flow so I wouldn't worry about it too much. I would force him to go outside in the morning before he has to be crated, but otherwise leave it up to him.
 

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schedules and routines are a perfect first level learning tools... by doing it everyday.. they gain pieces of information and continue to start putting those pieces of information together because they do it over and over again. That is why you start with a distinct schedule and routine to introduce and practice (how too's) it builds confidence, in interaction skills, communication skills with you and their environment. They learn to learn by doing.... so with a new dog or puppy I like to start with schedules and routines to get the learning process (started at a simple level of showing by doing it with them repeating simple task so it's not confusing and overwhelming) and when they get it,, it is always their first foundation on how to learn.. How to put what new things you show them together.. so switching things up is not confusing to them.. they pick it up faster for having a good foundation for learning and can be flexible with introducing different routines and schedules.
 

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Welcome and congrats on your new puppy!

Routine is nice, but not crucial. He'll get used to your weekday vs weekend schedule. It is good that you're thinking about having him get used to being in his crate while you're home - that's one thing I wish I had done with mine.
Agreed.

Routine helps establish good habits like eating in a timely manner, going potty when let/taken outside, and manages expectations like "no, you are not getting dinner at 3 pm just because you are whining"

But dogs can also pick up on different routines for different days or situations. For example, if I get up and immediately start getting showered and dressed, the dogs know they are going to eat, relieve themselves and then chill out for the day because I am heading to work. But if I get up, let them out and back in, and then head back to bed then they know it is a weekend and curl back up for snoozing time.
 
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