Has your new puppy been waking you up at night? Are you wondering why your puppy won't sleep? For the first several nights and weeks, you should make peace with the fact that you’re just not going to get a full night’s sleep.
Around 4 months of age (longer for small toys breeds) your puppy should be sleeping throughout the night. However, it's not magic, and the things you do now will help ensure everyone gets their zzzzzz's.
At Camp Becca, it seems to be puppy season, many of my clients are calling with questions and also, expressing frustration.
Firstly, Don't beat yourself up!
Everybody needs time to adjust. You will figure this out, it just takes time and getting to know your puppies personality. If you operate out of love, with calm and confidence, your likelihood of success with be that much greater
Buy a Crate
While you may eventually want to let your dog sleep in bed with you (or your kids), it really is best if your pup at least starts out sleeping in a crate — you can always let them in the bed later, once they’re fully potty-trained, sleeping soundly, and happily acclimated to and recognizing that their crate is their “happy place.”
A crate cover is also a good idea as to make the crate as Den like (i.e. cozy) as possible. This is likely a better option than towels, sheets, or blankets, as this fits more snuggly, possibly allows better airflow and, looks nicer, and is less likely to get pulled through and eaten. However, if your dog does have a habit of pulling their crate covers through and eating them, I recommend against covering their crate in general.
Pick up a comfortable dog bed so your puppy has a comfy place for the night. (Tip: For young puppies, look for a bed or mat that’s waterproof, or at least easily washable, and also chew-proof!) Some people opt for a raised dog cot, which they find maximizes air flow and minimizes mess if puppy has an accident.
Exercise Make sure to give your pup plenty of exercise throughout the evening and before bedtime. If they’re just lounging around at night while you’re watching TV, they are going to fall asleep early and then they will be wide awake when you’re ready for bed. Spend a good 20–30 minutes playing with your pup (outside or inside) a couple of times during the evening.
While you don’t want to feed your pup right before bed, depending on their age, you may want to give them a small meal a couple of hours before bedtime, so they don't prematurely wake up hungry.
Late-Night Bathroom Break
If you want to get through the night without a puppy who’s whimpering to go to the bathroom — or wake up to a puppy who went to the bathroom anyway — it’s always wise to go for one last potty break just before bed.
Pro Tip: If your puppy is waking up around the same time each night needing to use the bathroom, set your alarm 15 - 30 minutes beforehand. Give them a quick potty break and then head back to bed. This will prevent any whining or pawing at their crate if they wake up on their own and need to go outside. Preemptive training is always preferred over reactive training!
Make it Comfy
Puppies are pack animals. They crave warmth and the feeling of closeness. Keeping their crate at the foot of your bed is a good idea. Also, putting a hot water bottle (they come with covers as well) in the crate and/or some other safe snuggle buddy, they even make ones with heartbeats that breathe.
Just like you, your pup’s sleep-wake cycles are influenced by melatonin, a hormone that is affected by the amount and duration of light in the environment. So turn off the lights in the room where your pup is sleeping.
Patience and Kindness
Last but certainly not least, please treat your pup with kindness, just as you would an infant. Your puppy isn't trying to make you angry, they are communicating with you. If you ever have any questions about your puppy or your dog please call or text us at Camp Becca 551-265-3865. We are happy to offer guidance, but remember, it's best to do your own research and ultimaltely you will know your put best. It's not a one size fits all, trial and error, combined with love will ultimately have you and your puppy sleeping peacefully throughout the night.