How to Get a Puppy to Sleep Through the Night: Simple Ways to Avoid Bedtime Problems with Your Puppy
If you’ve experienced raising a dog since she was 3 months old or lower, you’ll know that it’s as hard as taking care of a baby. This is true, considering dogs are mammals just like us and they require special attention because they still need a mother to guide them.
Learning how to get a puppy to sleep through the night is one of the most challenging aspects of raising your puppy. It can stress you out like what newborn babies do. However, if you can get the hang of it with a few simple tricks, you and your puppy will definitely sleep smoothly at night!
What My Experiences Were
As a dog owner for over 5 years, some of my puppies (who are all grown adults now) had trouble sleeping. The memorable instance is with my Shih Tzu, Feng. We got Feng from a breeder when she was only 3 months old, and she really had a hard time sleeping in her first few weeks with us.
She kept on crying if she’s left in the living room with my pug, Grigio. So we brought her upstairs to sleep in my bedroom. Sometimes she’ll do her best to sleep, but a few minutes later she’ll bark at me. So what I did was lift her to my bed and made her sleep beside me.
What happened after that? Well, she peed on my sheets! What a disaster that was for Feng’s first night with us. If hearing that made you worried about getting a puppy, don’t be. I was still a novice back then and little did I know that preventing it was simple.
When I tried doing a few simple steps and tricks to my other dogs, I never had problems making my puppies sleep again.
Why Does Your Puppy Cry Overnight?
Puppies differ in how they behave in their new environment. If you’ll be bringing a new puppy in your house, there are several things that can happen.
If ever your puppy does cry, there are many reasons. One of the common ones is your puppy is not used to sleep without her mom or her siblings. If your puppy was raised by her mom in her first 3 months (which should be done), she can grow anxious sleeping alone.
Another reason is the presence of other dogs. Although I’m not sure if Feng got upset being with our pug (who snubbed her in her first night), it can happen since she’s not familiar with your older pooch.
Finally, as with human babies too, your puppy might want to go potty if she’s crying in the middle of the night. This is another common behavior that can be prevented, although not entirely since your puppy has little control over her bladder.
Steps to Know
Step 1: Prepare her home before she arrives
Establishing a permanent sleeping place for your puppy is a vital step. This will introduce your puppy to her “safe spot” where she needs to feel secure and at home. This can be a kennel or a bed.
Even if your dog is a large breed, don’t let her sleep outside in a dog house. Puppies are vulnerable, so they should be somewhere close to you. When preparing her kennel, add a few chew toys and soft items like pillows. Soft cushions and items that she can nibble will help relax your dog more.
Be sure to avoid places where there are a lot of clutter and moving objects. Your kitchen, for example, is a bad environment to sleep in.
Also, research what climate your dog’s breed thrives in.For example, if she’s a Siberian Husky, she’ll need a chilly place to sleep in. Other dogs prefer warmer temperatures such as beagles and dobermans.
Step 2: Train your dog to go to his safe place
You can’t just simply tell your dog that she has her own spot in the house. With that, you have to train your puppy to go to her sleeping area. You can do this by maximizing her instincts such as leaving a trail of treats that leads to that spot.
Or, you can secure your dog inside her sleeping area first using a dog divider or fence. Of course, if she’s in a crate there’s no need. If you do it this way, try to comfort your dog in her sleeping area by giving her snacks, petting her, or just playing with her til she gets tired!
Step 3: Tire her out during the day
It’s a better idea to get your puppy during the morning. That way, not only can you introduce your puppy to a new environment much earlier, but you can also allow her to have exercise.
Playing with your puppy or chasing her around your yard or house will benefit her greatly. Like kids, puppies are energetic so you want them to spend all their energy in the day. A puppy that gets a lot of good exercise will sleep way better at night.
Step 4: Make sure your puppy goes to potty before bed
Let your pup pee and poop as much as she needs before going to her safe place. You don’t necessarily need to potty train your pup on her first day, but make sure she doesn’t potty anywhere near her safe place. This will train her early to think that her place should be clean and comfy for her to sleep in.
Remember, this step doesn’t guarantee your dog to not cry at night if she needs to go. Puppies can’t control their bladders, so you can’t really do much but endure it for them. That’s part of a dog owner’s responsibility. However, you can control your dog’s portions in her food and water, that could help you a bit.
Things That You Shouldn’t Do
1. Don’t let your puppy sleep with you
This is one of my first mistakes that led to my trouble with Feng in her first few weeks. I immediately let her sleep with me in my bed, and that caused her to have anxiety issues if she sleeps somewhere where she can’t see me or my parents.
That carries on until today. Thankfully, Feng is just a small Shih Tzu that doesn’t take up much space in the bedroom. With that said, avoid what I did and let your puppy sleep first in her kennel. This is especially true if she’s a large breed like a Labrador or a Great Dane.
If she cries because you’re away, don’t panic. Just let her bark it out. If the barking doesn’t stop, try to sleep somewhere near your dog’s safe place. A little sacrifice would go a long way!
2. Avoid getting stressed
Your first bedtime experience with your puppy can be really frustrating. However, it’s best if you try to calm down and keep your cool. Your pup looks up to you now as her parent or alpha, so she’d need a secure and stable source of protection and reassurance.
Giving off a negative vibe will only make your dog more anxious because she can sense it.
Let Your Dog Know She’s Safe and Sound
At the end of the day, what’s important for us dog owners is to understand what our puppies need. It’s important for us to pay attention to their behaviour in order to know what they want. The puppy stage is the most delicate and vulnerable time for your dog’s growth, so go the extra mile and train your puppy with a lot of love in her sleeping habits!
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