Puppy Sleep Training: How To Get It Right
Getting puppy sleep training right is the best way for both you and your new dog to get a good night’s rest from early on. Otherwise, you might be doomed to countless sleepless nights spent with your puppy whining.
Here’s how to get past that initial stage and get your puppy sleeping happily through the night.
Should your puppy sleep on your bed?
The first thing to decide is where your puppy will sleep.
Some people don’t like their dogs sleeping on the bed, in which case you’ll need to choose a suitable place for them to sleep. In their own bed in your room is a good idea, or otherwise in a safe place inside your home. Read up on whether now’s a good time to crate train puppy.
It’s best not to leave them outside as they can easily get cold or hot, get through or over fences and run away. Plus, stolen dogs and poisonings are a reality for pet owners.
But some of us don’t mind sharing the bed with fur, paws and tails. And in actual fact, it might even be beneficial. Yep, sleeping with your dog in your bed has been shown to have a host of physical and emotional benefits. So if you don’t mind a bit of a morning lick to wake up, go ahead and invite that puppy to share your duvet at night.
How to start puppy sleep training
Now you’ve decided where your puppy will spend the night, it’s time to start the actual process of puppy sleep training.
Before you begin, accept that you’ll likely have interrupted sleep for the first couple of weeks until things settle down. But one thing we promise – it’s quicker to get a puppy to sleep through the night than a human baby!
Here are some steps to take.
Establish a bedtime routine
Just like people, dogs thrive when they know what’s expected of them.
Setting a bedtime routine can help get your puppy sleep training off on the right foot. You wouldn’t play with a toddler right before bed and hype them up then expect them to dose off peacefully five minutes later, right? The same applies for dogs.
You should restrict access to food and water a couple of hours before bedtime, as a start. Right before you go to bed, take your puppy outside. This helps with toilet training your puppy and also means you’re less likely to have to wake up a million times overnight.
When you take your puppy to bed, keep things quiet and calm.
Tired puppy = sleepy puppy
While you shouldn’t get your puppy excited right before bed, it is a good idea for them to get some exercise and stimulation during the day. A tired and content dog is much more likely to sleep well than a dog with pent up energy.
Just think how much better you sleep if you’ve had a great run or gym session in the morning.
But you don’t want to exercise puppies too hard, as it can put strain on their still-developing joints and muscles. This can cause both short-term and long-term issues. And in summer, too much activity in the heat can cause heatstroke in pets. Gentle walking or games that exercise the mind as well as the body are your best friends for puppy sleep training.
Ignore whining during puppy sleep training
It’s likely that at some point during the puppy sleep training process there will be some whining, howling, or barking. Remember, your puppy has been removed from everything they know and will be pining for their mother, their siblings, and their old surroundings.
It’s tempting to shout, tell your dog off, or even just give in and give them loads of attention. Instead, the best strategy is to ignore them. It’s hard, and you’ll have to exercise some serious willpower. But it’s worth it.
If they’re on your bed, give them some praise when they do stop, to encourage the behaviour going forward. You’ll find positive reinforcement training works well across for all kinds of obedience training.
Rest assured that your puppy will settle soon enough – they’re just confused and a little bit scared.
For more tips, read about how to stop a puppy crying.
Ensure they have comfort
Just like we humans want our sleeping place to feel like a warm cocoon of comfort, your puppy will too. So, you can also make sure their crate, bed, or other type of sleeping spot is lovely and inviting to help them feel secure.
Use some soft blankets, perhaps a piece of your clothing, and dim lighting. You could even consider a “heartbeat toy” to make your puppy feel like they have another dog nearby. Anything they can turn to for comfort throughout the night that’s not you…
Insurance to help you and puppy sleep better
And another way to make them – and you – feel safe and comfortable? A pet insurance policy to protect your precious pup against those unexpected accidents, illnesses, and vet trips. It will safeguard their health and your pocket, which is a win-win for everyone.