How To Get A Puppy To Sleep Through The Night
Sleep training for dogs ❤️
So, you love your new puppy and would do anything for her — even if it means waking up in the middle of the night.
But there comes a time when every puppy parent wonders, “How can I get my puppy to sleep through the night?” and “Will I ever get a full night’s rest again?”
“The most important thing is to remind yourself this won’t go on forever — but it also will not stop in a night or two, in most cases,” Irith Bloom, a certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Sophisticated Dog in Los Angeles, told The Dodo.
While you can expect to wake up in the middle of the night pretty often to tend to your newest family member, at least for the first few months, there are some things you can do right now to make sure you get as much sleep as possible.
Crate train your puppyCrate training a puppy is a good first step to getting your puppy to sleep through the night.
It’s comforting for a puppy to know she has her own space to sleep. It also creates a sense of routine for your puppy; if you put her in the crate, she knows it’s time to go to bed.
Plus, you can line the crate with puppy pee pads which will contain any messes she makes (instead of her going to the bathroom in your bed or somewhere random)!
Puppies and dogs don’t like to sleep in the same place they use the restroom (who would?!), so be sure there’s an elevated spot in the crate to place her bed, away from the pee pads.
You might also want to consider a dog pen. This will give your puppy more room to sleep, play and use the restroom — which she’ll definitely appreciate.
Let your puppy potty before bedOne of the main reasons you’ll hear your puppy whining in the middle of the night is because she needs to use the bathroom. In these cases, you should definitely bite the bullet and take your puppy outside.
“Most young puppies have very small bladders, and also don’t have very good control over when and how much to potty,” Bloom said. “The good news is that as your puppy gets older, your puppy will be able to hold it longer, and therefore sleep through the night.”
A rule of thumb to follow is that a puppy can hold their bladder for about as many hours as they are months old. So if you have a 3-month-old puppy, you should be taking her out every three hours.
This will continue until the puppy is about 12 weeks old, Bloom said.
While that might sound intense, it will keep your puppy happy and healthy — which is truly the end goal here.
When you do take your puppy out, try not to excite her too much with snuggles and affection (no matter how hard that might be)! You don’t want her to think that whining at night means more cuddles for her.
“Spend only as long as you need in the potty area (five minutes is plenty), and then put your puppy back in the crate,” Bloom said. “This is to make sure the puppy understands that middle-of-the-night potty time is not fun ‘sniff around and explore new stuff’ or ‘play games with the person’ time.”
Exercise your puppyHave you ever taken a big nap before bed and ended up staying up most of the night? The same applies to your puppy.
Try to keep your puppy engaged throughout the evening with lots of playtime so she’ll be ready to sleep when the time comes.
Also, make sure your puppy has lots of interactive puppy toys to play with throughout the day. This will keep her mentally stimulated and help tire her out.
Create a calm sleeping environmentAdding some coziness to your puppy’s space will go a long way when it comes to keeping her asleep.
The most important thing to have is a bed she can happily snuggle up in. It’s not rare for puppy parents to experiment until they find the perfect bed, so don’t be afraid to try a few options to see what she truly likes.
For some extra comfort for your puppy, try a heated snuggle toy. Warmth reminds puppies of their mother, which will keep them extra calm and prevent late-night whining. Some warm snuggle toys even have a heartbeat that reminds them of mom.
Another tried-and-true method is dog-appeasing pheromones, which mimic their mother’s natural scent. These pheromones help keep puppies calm and comforted, and will give your puppy a better night’s sleep (so you can get one, too!).
So you have a comfy bed, a warm toy, and dog-appeasing pheromones — what’s next? Try calming puppy music.
Just like how humans enjoy ambient music to lull them asleep, there are sounds for puppies to do the same. It also helps cover up noises that might otherwise wake the puppy, Bloom said.
If all else fails, consider a crate cover. It will create total darkness for your puppy, which is sometimes the only thing that will keep her in a deep sleep all night long.
Ignore whining or barkingIt’s hard to ignore the whining and barking a puppy makes when she enters her crate. But sometimes this is the best plan of action.
“If your puppy has pottied, is back in the crate and is being fussy, give your puppy something to play with in the crate (a chew toy is good for this), and do your best to get back to sleep,” Bloom said.
Though it might be hard at first, this is the only way to avoid these problem behaviors once your dog becomes an adult. (After all, if she learns that whining gets her whatever she wants, she’s never going to stop!)
Get into a routineAfter all is said and done, make sure you’re keeping your puppy on a consistent routine. Dogs love routines, which is why they’re so effective as a puppy potty training technique.
This means feeding them, taking them out and putting them in their crate at the same time every night. After some time, your puppy will naturally adjust to this routine (and keep her protests to a minimum).
“In most cases, you will notice that your puppy sleeps longer and longer into the night over time,” Bloom said. “If your puppy isn’t sleeping longer, check with your veterinarian to make sure nothing is wrong.”
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