Having a new puppy is truly no different from having a newborn child. You still got to care for them the same way, feed them, teach them and stay up with them the same way too (if they won’t sleep).
That’s why today I’m going to teach you how to get a puppy to sleep through the night, so you can finally get back to once again.
Whilst this is may not be easy, it’s definitely doable! And with practice, you’ll be getting your new puppy off to sleep with no problems at all.
Why is your puppy NOT sleeping?
Without actually taking at your specific circumstance there is no way for me to exactly know why your dog is not sleeping. However, I can provide you with a list of some of the most common reasons why a puppy may not be sleeping. Hopefully, one of these reasons in the list will cover the problem you are experiencing, so you can take the appropriate actions in fixing the problem.
Ok, so here are a few reasons why your puppy may not be sleeping at night:
- Separation anxiety
- Emotional turmoil
- Lack of activity
- Night time critters
- Physical problems
- Possible side effects
Now that you know a few of the reasons, let’s go through a few of these in-depth to see exactly why these problems pop up, and what you can do to fix it.
This is by far probably the most common on the list and it simply means that your puppy is experiencing distraught from being taken away from their mother too early. In most cases, you’ll find that breeders allow you to take your dog home too early resulting in your puppy whining and crying for the best part of the first few months in your home.
What are the symptoms of separation anxiety in a puppy? A few of the obvious signs that your dog is experiencing this include:
- Excessive Barking
- Fearfulness on walks
- Reactivity to noises
- Toy possessiveness
- Food possessiveness
The correct age to potentially separate a puppy from their mother is 8 weeks. However, anywhere after 6 weeks of age is usually ok as some breeds react better than others. I recommend 8 weeks as the sweet spot, but if you’ve already got your pup before that then cool. All you got to do is work on getting them to sleep as returning them back to their mother is not really an option.
This can come from your puppy being separated from their mother too early and just the fact that they are now in a new environment that is unfamiliar with no other animals. You may find that having another pet can work like magic for curing loneliness in puppies. May try and get over a friend with a dog during the day so that your puppy can enjoy some time with another being just like them.
Moving into a new home can be an overwhelming experience for your dog. The sounds of thunder and lightning or the random sounds that you may not pick up on can be enough to scare your dog into experiencing insomnia. A great way to this problem would be to try calming herbs for dogs as its a far better alternative than medicated drugs.
Lack of activity
This is a big one! I find that a lot of parents will get a new puppy and then go out to work for the majority of the day before coming home, making dinner and going to bed. To only wake up and do the same thing over, but where does your dog fit into the picture?. That’s why I always recommend that you highly look at your personal situation before taking on the responsibility of owning a pet.
Anyway, the simple way to fix this problem is to make sure that your dog has been taken out for a walk whether it’s around your home or out in the yeard. They are still small so there’s no need to go crazy with this.
Whilst you may think that you’re very alert and aware, for the best part humans do not pick up on small sounds such as mice squirrels and raccoons outdoor whilst asleep.
However, for puppies, this is completely different, firstly because they are in a new environment and secondly because they have better hearing that’s finer tuned to hear small sounds.
You may find that your puppy is experiencing this problem if you come across symptoms such as barking and whining at night. To fix it just simply move the location of where your puppy sleeps at night to somewhere else in your home, to a place where the sounds will not be as bad.
If you’ve tried the above tips only to no avail, then you may need to take a look at your dog’s health too. In most cases, this will NOT be the problem but nothing can be ruled out especially in the earlier stages of their lives. Symptoms you may come across include:
- Licking of joints
- Scratching and itching
- excessive drooling
The list can go on forever. However, the main thing here is that you look out for anything unusual and then act accordingly. And the earlier you find things then the better as it can be treated or fixed from very early on.
Possible side effects
You may find that there are possible side effects happening from a medication that you’re giving to your dog. Steroids are a good example as they have side effects that cause increased drinking and urination, restlessness and insomnia.
Always consult thoroughly with a professional vet as to what medication is ok to give your dog and then make sure to read the list of possible side effects, so you are aware of them if they are to pop up later on don the track.
How much do puppies sleep?
Puppies that are new can sleep a whole lot! According to the AKC, you can expect your puppy to sleep up to 15 to 20 hours a day. But that’s not to say that all this sleep will be “through the night” as such. Because your puppy still has no sense of time, sleeping through the day or night is really no difference to them, no matter how it affects you.
A great way to get them to understand that night time is for sleep is to set up some good routines and habits from as early as possible.
Routines & habits are everything
Try to understand the rhythms and routines of your dog too as you will start to see that they take potty breaks and naps in a very set way after a few weeks. Setting up a nice place that your puppy can sleep will also give you a huge helping hand in getting them off to sleep at night.
Crates are a great way to get your puppy set up for a place to sleep. As its an easy way for them to learn exactly where they need to go for sleep time. Make sure to add in some blankets and pillows so that your puppy is nice and comfy inside when they enter.
I recommend getting hold of a good crate and the best I’ve found is the Triple-Door Great Crate Elite, Its currently on Amazon for under 100 bucks and it simply works very well amongst the other I’ve tried before.
Once you’re all set with a crate its time to train your puppy to sleep in their new home. A great way to do this is to start off by placing some treats inside and line the crate with a few blankets and cushions so that your puppy can get familiar with the crate being a nice place to relax and sleep.
With that being said, it’s super important for you to set some boundaries with your dog so they don’t fall into any bad habits that can later sting you in the butt down the road.
Setting boundaries with your new puppy
With no limits or boundaries set, you can quickly find yourself dealing with a puppy that refuses to listen to instructions or behaves unruly later down the road. That’s why it’s important for you to get some strict rules put in place from early so that they know that NO means NO (as harsh as that may seem).
So what am I talking about? And how do you do this for yourself?
I’m talking about setting some ground rules such as:
- No sleeping in your bed at first
- Same potty area to use each day
- No chewing on random items
- Regular walks each day
You get the idea… If you want to know more about house rules, then be sure to check out labrador HQ’s post on setting up house rules for a new puppy when they first come home.
Day time tips for your puppy
A great night must first begin with a great day prior to that… and that’s the case for your dog too! You need to ensure that you are playing them at all times to ensure that your puppy quickly learns how to handle the nights. You can expect your pup to nap for a whole 16 hours throughout the day in the first 12 weeks of their lives. Although this may vary from puppy to puppy too.
For more information on the daytime routine, be sure to check out Petlife’s post on the ideal daily schedules for your puppy.
Food & water for your puppy
A good rule of thumb is to give your puppy their last feed before bed around 3 hours before sleep time. This is because, the closer to the time of sleep that your puppy is fed, the higher the chance fo them needing to go for a potty break during the night. The same goes for drinking water too! O be sure to get everything in at least 3 hours before so there’s enough time for them to let it all out before they fall to sleep.
Potty breaks for your puppy
The very last thing before your puppy goes to bed should be going for a potty break right before they go off to sleep.
I recommend that you practice this as much as possible to ensure that your puppy learns to go to the potty just before bed and then not again till they wake up towards the morning.
In doing so, you are giving your puppy the best chance at going through the whole night without needing to wake up to go for a potty break.
What can I give my dog to sleep?
I recommend trying out calming herbs for your dog if you are looking for some type of supplement to give your dog and help them to sleep. Stay away from medicated drugs that help your dog to sleep as they can sometimes have really bad side effects.
If you do however choose to go down that road then make sure to consult with a professional veterinarian before testing out any drugs on your dog.
3 Methods to get your puppy to sleep at night
Here are a few methods that you can get started with right now to helping your dog to sleep better through the night. Each of these is very easy to follow and will guide you on what steps you should be taking to get back sleep again.
1. Crate Method
This is by far the best-recommended method for the majority of parents like yourself and involves the following steps to get you started:
The Crate Method (Recommended method)
- Purchase a dog crate – I recommend the Triple-Door Great Crate Elite that you currently can get hold of Amazon. The size of the crate should be big enough that your puppy can turn around in a full circle inside of it with no problems. Going too small will cause nothing but problems so either go big or go home!
- Make the crate comfy – there are dog crate covers that you can get to help make the crate more comfortable and cozy for your puppy. Make sure to get some pillows and blankets too as this will help with making sure your dog is warm and relaxed when entering their place to sleep.
- Use the crate regularly – there’s no use in spending the cash and buying a crate if you are just going to let your puppy sleep in your bed. Firstly that’s a bad idea because you are simply setting them up to not respect boundaries n future. And secondly, because it’s just simply a waste of money! If you get the crate then make sure you are actually it to help your dog to sleep as its otherwise pointless of buying it in the first place.
- Take your dog for a potty break right after – each time that you open the crate then take your dog off to the place where they go for a potty break. This will help to build up a habit of your dog understanding theta they need to wait until the crate is opened before taking a potty break in the future.
- Take a few breaks at night – young puppies do not yet have the skills of holding it in for hours and hours upon end. That’s why it’s important for you to at least take your dog out for a potty break a minimum of 2 times per night to allow them to go for a break and then return to sleep.
- Don’t give in to whining – If you’ve fed your pup and taken them to the bathroom for a break before bed, then you know full well that they are fed and their tanks are emptied. Whining is something that you’ll have to get used too at night as long as there are no other reasons as to why they are doing it. If this happens with you and your puppy at night then do not be panicked as this is very common for a dog to do at night.
2. Exercise Method
Whilst this is not the most recommended method on the list it is certainly the most effective when it comes to getting your puppy into gear and fast. Below are a few steps that you can follow to get your dog to sleep using a method that involves exercising to help your puppy to sleep at night.
The Exercise Method (highly effective method)
- Research the best exercise for your breed – different breeds have different amounts of energy. In some cases, you may find that a simple walk around the yard will do the trick, whilst others may need a full-blown walk around the park. Make sure to research what requirements there are for your breed when it comes to exercising, and follow the recommended guidelines accordingly.
- Play often – I always recommend getting hold of some stimulating toys for your dog so that they are mentally stimulated throughout the day. Puppies need a lot of stimulation in order to grow into a healthy adult.
- Go for regular walks – Whilst it is not recommended that your puppy goes out before they have had their shots. As soon as their vaccinated, then its time to take a stroll outside (and a lot of them). I recommend that you take at least once per day to start off. It’s also a great time to get started with some leash training after too.
- Start training – You want to start obedience training with your puppy, and amongst this, you can include basic instructions that will encourage stimulation too. I recommend that you get started with an excellent dog training course called (brain training for dogs). Its the course I used and it worked wonders for me. You can see the full review I wrote on this training program on this blog too.
- Exercise daily is possible – By making sure that your puppy is exercising every day, you’ll ensure that they are ready for bed and all out of gas by the time it gets late. Make sure to encourage activities not too long before bed and then feed and a quick potty break before getting your pup off to sleep each night.
3. Routine method
The routine method (least recommended)
- Write down a schedule – Whether sits on a piece of paper or a sticky note on the refrigerator. Simply laying down some ground rules is what the routine method is all about.
- Stick to the plan – Establishing a routine is all about sticking to the plan and creating new habits. That goes the same for your dog too, as the routine will never become a routine if you are not living in accordance with the plan. Make sure that you are following the same guidelines that you laid out from the start an make adjustments or improvements if need be to increase the benefit of this method.
- Take regular bathroom breaks at night – I recommend that you set an alarm for 2 times per night to go off and remind you to take your puppy for a potty break. By doing so you will ensure that this becomes a routine not only for your dog but for you too. Os you will have a hell of a lot easier time in getting back to sleep after.
- Ensure the room is dark – Make sure that every night the lights are turned off to encourage your dog to sleep. You want to teach them the difference between night and day so they can make the mental connection with actions and energy levels that go in accordance with these times of day too.
- Be persistent – There’s nothing like the old classic line ‘be persistent’…I know you’ve heard it before but ill tell it to you again. The reason why is because it works and with persistence then you can achieve things that you would never believe you could. You just got to keep practicing the techniques and keep trying to make things work. Eventually, you’ll start to unravel what works for you and then just stick to it and keep improving on it. That’s it!
Training an older dog?
If you have an old dog won’t sleep at night then you may need to look at training. Sleep training is a thing… you can help your dog to get into good sleeping habits and stop keeping you up at night. I have a great course you can check out for this, its called braining training for dogs and it also gives you full access to a certified dog trainer.
If your struggling with an adult dog to sleep at night or your puppy is not responding to the training techniques that you’re trying to install, then check out my review of the program to find out how to fix it. The program will teach you the basics of how to make a dog go to sleep which sounds like something that YOU need help with!
All of the above information covers the best puppy sleeping habits that teach you how to get your puppy to sleep through the night. Is there a complete guarantee that this will work? Of course not, but you got to try each of the techniques to find out if it will for you. I recommend that you pick 1 method and stick to it until you get your new puppy sleeping comfortably through the night.