When it comes to puppies, sleep is a big part of early life. But that doesn’t mean they’ll easily sleep through the night without waking you up. This is where puppy sleep training may help your new family member get acclimated to their new home.
Here are a few training tips to help your pup snooze in peace all night – and help you sleep in peace as well.
Where Should Your Puppy Sleep?
The first thing you might want to consider doing is getting a puppy crate. A crate is designed to be a safe, comfortable environment for young puppies. Some pet parents might want to let their puppies sleep in bed with them at night. That might sound great on the surface, but you’d probably wind up with soggy sheets. Puppies just can’t “hold it” through the night like older dogs can.
A crate can provide a cozy sleeping area, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have to wake up during the night for the first few weeks. You can put a potty pad in the crate to help reduce accidents, but your little bundle of fur might not want to sleep next to their “business.” If that’s the case, you’ll probably have to take them out when you’d normally be sleeping.1
How often will you have to do this? Well, one rule of thumb holds that a puppy’s age will give you a good idea of how long they’ll be able to control their bladder. If they’re three months, they should be able to hold it for three hours. If they’re six months, they should be able to control their need to pee for six hours. Also, tiny breeds may need to go more often than larger ones.2
This isn’t meant to suggest that crate training is the only way to get your puppy to sleep through the night. It can be a very effective tool, but it’s not an absolute must. If you’re not comfortable with this method, talk to your vet to see what other methods might be available.
How To Set Up A Puppy Crate
One of the most important things to include in a puppy crate is a nice comfy bed. You might also want to consider adding a soft blanket.
You will want to put in a couple of durable chew toys for your puppy to chew on as well. Since they’re going to be in the crate all night, it might be best to hold off on providing squeaky toys or something noisy. There are also toys available that simulate the sound of a dog’s heartbeat. Getting one might help your pup get more comfortable in their crate.
Some experts believe that putting something in the crate that has your scent, like an old T-shirt, could help keep your puppy more comfortable at night. Now, if your pup tends to chew a lot, this might not be the best idea. They could easily ingest parts of the shirt – and that could be dangerous. Consider stuffing the old shirt in a chew-proof bag or even in their bed if you can.3
As for food and water, it’s not a good idea to leave them in the crate – especially overnight. Your pup will probably spill them, creating a mess. Even if they don’t spill, if they eat or drink during the night, they’ll have to potty more often.4
How To Stop A Puppy From Barking In Their Crate At Night
Some dogs have a hard time staying in a crate at night time – or any time. Whether they feel too confined or they have separation anxiety, it can take longer for them to become acclimated. They might do a lot of barking as a result. Here a few tips that might help your pup feel more at ease.
- Making the crate a more inviting place may help. Crate training, like house training, should be part of your daily routine. Put some of their favorite treats and toys in the crate during the day. Once the dog goes inside, shut the door for short periods of time.
- You might also consider using pheromone spray on their bed to help keep them calm when inside the crate.
- Playing soft music or white noise might help your puppy relax.
- At night, try putting a blanket over the crate. That can help eliminate distractions, such as people or other animals moving around. It will also block out any light that might make it hard for your pup to sleep at night.5
New Puppy Sleep Training Tips
Every puppy likes a routine – this goes for service dog puppies, guide dog puppies, or your new family member. One of the best ways to help your little pup settle in for a good night’s snooze is to establish a bedtime routine. The sooner you do this, the faster both of you will be able to sleep all night. Here are a few tips to help make that happen.
- Make sure your puppy’s sleeping area is as quiet as possible. Keep your bedroom lights off at night, and turn down the volume as low as you can if you like to watch television in bed.
- Early morning light can wake up your puppy, so you might want to consider installing blackout shades.
- Your puppy needs to know that bedtime isn’t play time. Take them outside to run around and play – and, of course, to potty – before it’s time to go to sleep. If they need to go potty during the night, stay calm. Take them outside, offer quiet praise, and then get them back to bed.6
How To Make Sure Your Puppy Gets Enough Sleep
Setting a schedule as soon as you bring your puppy home might also help them get to sleep at night. This routine is not just for night, but for the entire day. See if sticking to this schedule can help ensure a full night of rest for both of you.
- Morning – Take your pup outside for potty time as soon as you wake up, and then give them breakfast. After that, take them outside again to go potty. Play with them for about 30 minutes to an hour, and then let them take a nap. Take them out for potty again when they wake up.
- Afternoon – The afternoon routine should be just like the morning routine. Give them lunch, take them out, and then play. Take them out again after they take their afternoon nap.
- Evening – Do the same thing you did in the morning and afternoon. Give them dinner, let them out (or take them for a walk) and play. Take them out before bedtime and then put them in their crate.7
Be Patient And Give Lots Of Love
It’s easy to come up with good ways to help your puppy get to sleep. Putting those plans into action is something else entirely. Keep in mind that it can be challenging to get a puppy to sleep all night. You’re probably going to be awakened quite a few times during the first few weeks, even if you follow your new puppy checklist to the letter.
Just remember that it’s a brand new experience for your puppy. They love being with you, and they want to make you happy. There are going to be some difficulties during puppy training – whether you’re trying to perform house training or anything else. Once they do settle in, though, all the effort will be worth the trials and tribulations.
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