Helping Your Puppy Have a Good Night’s Sleep!
Updated: June 2019
Getting a new puppy can be like having a young baby in the house. Puppies need to be taught where to go to the toilet, how to obey commands and that night time is for sleeping. Like us, dogs are most active during the day and naturally prefer to sleep at night. They may take naps during the day but they will still usually go into a deep, extended sleep at night time.
6 top tips to help encourage a good nights’ sleep:
1. A tired puppy is a sleepy puppy!
Tire your puppy out in the couple of hours leading up to their bedtime, with plenty of active play, games or walks. Avoid too much excitement around the last hour before their planned bedtime, which will help the puppy to gradually begin to calm down in the run up to bedtime.
2. Sleeping spaces
Your puppy’s bed and sleeping area should be warm, comfortable and located somewhere that they like. Try to ensure there are no distractions around them. If they sleep in a crate, you could put a blanket that almost covers the crate so that they don’t react to people moving around and allow enough room for them to stretch around fully.
Allow your puppy to take something to bed with them that smells of you as this can be comforting, so can leaving the radio on a low volume for them for a couple of hours to help to soothe them.
During the first week or so your new puppy may cry or whine at bedtime when left alone, because they are not used to sleeping on their own.
If your pup cries when you immediately put them down, wait to see if they settle within a reasonable amount of time. If the crying persists, use the “no” command, but do not pander to crying or reward it with attention (positive or negative) as otherwise your puppy will come to learn that crying get results!
4. Feeding and water
Aim to give your puppy their last meal of the day about three hours before their planned bedtime. This will allow time for them to digest it properly and go to the toilet if they need to. Feeding your puppy later than this may result in the puppy needing to go to the toilet during the night.
5. Toileting before bedtime
Your puppy should be given ample opportunity to go to the toilet before bed time, an empty puppy will sleep better. Get into the routine of taking them outside just before bed, even if they do not always do their business. Over time they will begin to associate this time of day with their last chance and use it accordingly.
6. Something to chew on!
Chewing is a calming activity that all dogs enjoy and is particularly useful when your puppy is teething. Some people give their dogs a biscuit or an edible chew at bed time, or you can give your pup a toy (Be careful: Some edibles come with choke warnings so make sure to read the label beforehand). Having a toy or an edible chew can also help to keep your puppy quietly entertained if they wake up before you do.