Dogs on “crate rest” will recover better if they have a regular daily routine. If your dog knows what to expect, then he or she will feel that bit calmer. A regular routine can also help avoid practical problems involving sleep and toileting.
A GOOD DAILY ROUTINE FOR THE RECOVERING DOG Three to five outdoor sessions on the lead for toileting. These toilet breaks should generally each be no longer than five minutes long to start with (follow your vet’s advice). Most dogs will need to go out for toileting as soon as they wake up, last thing at night, and after each meal. Adjust this as needed to suit your dog. Your vet may ask you to increase the length of the outdoor sessions week by week until they become proper walks. Two or more meals fed at regular times inside the crate. Either offer your dog’s main meals from a bowl or from food-dispensing toys. One or two regular daytime resting periods during which your dog learns not to expect to interact with you. These may eventually be up to three to four hours long if your dog settles down well. At least one regular slot of “quality time”per day, during which you spend positive time with your dog. This is your opportunity to stroke or groom your dog, to play safe quiet games, or just to sit together in front of the TV. (For safety, do remember to keep a hold on your dog’s harness whenever he or she is relaxing with you!) If your dog has been prescribed physiotherapy exercises, massage, etc., then these can be included as “quality time”. Some dogs love attention and will enjoy at least three sessions of owner interaction per day. Regular evening bedtime, after which the dog is left to sleep undisturbed in the crate.
The routine needs to work for you both, so organize timings around when you expect to be available. As far as possible, keep the routine the same on weekdays and weekends.
Toilet breaks and short walks should happen at the same times each day
Plan one or two quiet rest times of the day during which your dog should expect no interaction with you. These quiet rest times may each eventually be up to three to four hours long if your dog settles well into a crate rest routine, and will hopefully give you some opportunity to leave the house. From the start, schedule these quiet rest times for periods of the day when you are most likely to be absent or busy.
Introduce a regular bedtime so that your dog knows when to settle down
During at least the first week of crate rest, it is best to be available at home for your dog most of the time. Start the routine straight away, but do be patient with your dog as this is all new to them. Your dog will eventually start to expect certain activities at regular times of the day, so think ahead and organize a routine that should continue to work for you both.
Relax together at around the same times each day so that your dog knows what to expect