In this article I consider what is a great balanced day for most of our adult pet dogs. Certainly, every dog is different and breed types vary but in general all dogs need these important elements within their day.
All segments are incredibly important. Sleep and active rest make up most of the day, without these invaluable component’s imbalance in behaviours from your dog can lead to problematic behaviour.
Even though the other three segments take up a far lesser amount of the day they are crucial in fulfilling your dog’s needs and balancing your dog physically and emotionally.
We all have busy lives but I think the pie chart illustrates well just how simple it is for us to fulfil our dog’s daily needs taking a relatively small amount of our time per day which makes a huge difference in your dog’s life.
With the combination of all five elements your dog be happier, fulfilled and more chilled which builds a dog’s resilience to cope and bounce back from the stresses of life in general.
🐶 Based on a twenty-four-hour day – Figures show hours per activity
🐶Based on the average healthy pet dog’s average day – working/sporting dogs may differ with activity level’s, but sleep and active rest should remain a relatively high proportion of a dog’s everyday life. A dog needs this time to download the events of the day and to relax.
🐶Exercise dependant on breed type. If more or less physical exercise the variant to be balanced with self-amusement and interaction
✔️Sleep – 14 hours
Deeper sleep – The majority of hours will be in the evening and overnight, but there will be restful sleep throughout the day too and happens more readily when left alone, after exercise and in a quite safe area
✔️Active rest – 5 hours
Active rest is when the dog is lying down, relaxed and settled but not asleep similar to us watching television or reading a book
✔️Self Amusement – 2 hours
Self-amusement covers activities the dog does without human involvement. These includes canine enrichment activities which involving playing with toys, chewing, licking, sniffing, foraging, digging, puzzle solving. Mealtimes.
✔️Physical exercise – 2 hours
Walking, running, swimming and off lead exercise, this section can overlap with interaction
✔️Interaction – 1 hour
Play interaction with the owner, friends, and family. Tugging games with rules, low level short retrieves and getting involved in sporting activities such as agility, flyball, tracking, scent work and obedience training. Trick training. May include dog to dog play. This section can overlap with physical exercise. Sitting and stroking your dog may overlap with active rest and sleep times
End Note One – If you are a parent of a dog that suffers with fear anxiety and this is triggered in outside environments, try to lessen the outside ‘physical exercise’ and increase the ‘Interaction’ time of the day, with bringing in some higher impact exercise such as flirt pole training, hide and find toys or treats within scent games or retrieve and also recall fun in and around the home and garden. Locate a local safe enclosed area for outside enrichment, which will not induce stress for your dog. Not every dog is a social butterfly and not every dog has a strong inner confidence to cope with our world on a daily basis. Self-amusement time is vital for these dogs with the use of daily canine enrichment activities
End Note Two – If your dog is elderly or has a medical condition effecting their movement then physical exercise can be limited, this segment of the chart can be proportioned for therapy exercises, enrichment and massage overlapping with interaction and self amusement. The sleep and active rest time will most likely be increased for the older or less mobile dog.
A Young Puppy’s Balanced Day
Puppies need a lot more sleep than adult dogs and this is balanced out by not participating in as much active rest. When the puppy is awake it is on full steam as there is so much to investigate and learn. Puppies have a lot of energy to use up in these awake periods, they have not learnt yet the benefits of casually sitting or lying to chill out. All breed types vary but on a whole it is full steam ahead in awake times and then a deeper sleep to recuperate and grow. As puppies get older the ratio between deeper sleep and active rest changes and sleeping becomes less and active rest more
Based on a puppy between the age of 8 – 16 weeks
✔️Sleep – 18 hours’ ‘Yes this much! and maybe more’
Deeper sleep – This will be split up throughout the entire daytime and evening with many periods of around two hours of sleep time throughout the day this is then broken up with lively awake times. Overnight should be longer periods of sleep but there is likely to be some awake time for toileting in the early weeks until the progression of physical development. A puppy parent should encourage their puppy to have rest time and time’s apart daily promoting sleep and lessening the onset of separation anxiety. Your puppy receiving the correct amount of sleep helps to reduce nipping, mouthing, jumping up and destructive behaviours which are often worse through puppy being overtired and getting frustrated quickly.
- Interaction and all the puppy’s needs should always have been met prior to rest periods and apart times.
✔️Active rest – 1.00 hour
Active rest is when the puppy is lying down and relaxing but not asleep, like us watching television or reading a book. This time is a lot less than the adult dog, the puppy will gradually have more active rest and less sleep time.
✔️Self Amusement – 3.00 hours
Self-amusement covers activities the puppy does without human involvement. These includes canine enrichment activities which involves playing with toys, chewing, licking, sniffing, foraging, digging, puzzle solving. Mealtimes
✔️Physical exercise – 30-40 minutes
Puppy’s do not need a lot of physical exercise. For sure they are busy and non-stop when they are awake, but walks should be kept to five minutes for every month of their age, twice a day maximum. Although it may seem like you need to wear your puppy out physical exercise can damage ligaments and effect muscle growth so this should be a very small part of your puppy’s day. The differing ratio to an adult dog is made up of more of Self-amusement and Interaction time
✔️Interaction – 2.50 hour
Play interaction with the owner, friends, and family. Petting, low key calm tug games, low level short retrieves and early obedience training. May include supervised dog to dog interaction with another family dog member.