Between their heartbreaking cries and frequent potty breaks, training a puppy to sleep through the night is tough work. Here are some tips for getting your new puppy to sleep at night so that you can catch some much needed sleep, too.
The first week you bring home your new pup will surely be a little rough for everyone. Your puppy may be lonely, especially if it’s their first time away from their mom and littermates. Though it’ll be tempting, try your best to resist the urge to let your new pup sleep in bed with you unless that’s what you plan to do permanently.
“Crate training is a very individual decision. If someone doesn’t want to crate train, they may have to use baby gates or some other type of confinement to keep their puppy safe and out of trouble,” Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, veterinary consultant for Fetch, says. “Pet parents who don’t crate train their puppies must be more vigilant about creating a bedtime routine.”
If you do plan to crate train, when you bring home a new dog or puppy, you should start good habits right away by making a comfy den for your pup.
Add a washable bed or blanket and some exciting age-safe chew toys to their new crate. If your pup is bored or stressed throughout the night, it’ll help to have something comforting to lay or chew on. Puppies must be monitored closely, however, to make sure they aren’t chewing, destroying or ingesting parts of a bed, blanket or toys. If you see or suspect that this is happening, take away what they’re chewing immediately to prevent an internal obstruction from occuring due to eating foreign materials.
“Crate training’s very frequently a good option for puppies because it allows them to become accustomed to the crate as a safe place for them to go and rest,” Dr. Singler says. “The crate also helps tremendously with potty training and can keep a puppy from chewing and destroying or ingesting objects that can hurt them. It also reduces the likelihood of a puppy injuring themselves when they’re not being directly supervised.”
For some families, bringing the crate into your bedroom is the way to go because being close to his new humans will make your puppy feel a little more comfortable. If the bedroom isn’t where you wish to have the crate, find a quiet spot without distractions where you’re comfortable keeping the crate.
When your puppy seems a little anxious in their crate, you can try warming a towel or stuffed animal in the dryer before putting it in their crate — cuddling with something warm and soft feels good to them, just like a littermate or mom. Never use a heating pad in the crate, however, as this can cause thermal burns.
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Puppies need more sleep than fully grown adult dogs. To get your puppy to sleep through the night, it helps if they are nice and tired before bedtime. So make sure to have a rousing play session or a long evening walk to get some of their energy out. Allow for some time to wind down after any exercise and before tucking them in.
“Dogs and puppies are diurnal, meaning they do more of their sleeping at night and spend more time awake during the day like humans,” Dr. Singler says. “Puppies sleep on average about 11-12 hours over a 24 hour period, and they will adapt to a degree to the sleep-wake cycles of their owners.”
There may be some crying the first few nights of having your new puppy at home — that’s perfectly normal. Make sure they’ve had a potty break, have something puppy-safe to chew on and then leave them be. Sometimes they just need to cry it out. Of course, if your pup was happily sleeping but starts crying in the middle of the night, they may need an overnight potty break, so don’t ignore them completely.
“Puppies cry or whine to communicate a need or a desire,” Dr. Singler says. “If they’re whining because they’re in their crate and they want to be with you, taking them out will encourage them to cry or whine each time they’re put in their crate if they want to be with you.”
Remember, the first few nights will set the stage for the rest of your puppy’s life. So take this opportunity while they’re easiest to train to get them into a sleepy-time routine. Once your pup is happily sleeping through the night and not having accidents in the home, you can give them a little more freedom.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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