There’s a new puppy in the house. Congratulations! You’re in for a whirlwind of excitement, action, happiness and love. Unfortunately, you’re also in for a slew of wakeful, challenging and sleepless nights. A puppy sleeping is a beautiful thing. But it’s also a challenge. Like any new parent, sleep is a priority for your new arrival – and for yourself. You may wonder how can I train my puppy to sleep at night? How long does a puppy sleep? Most importantly- when will a puppy sleep through an entire night?
Worry not. Rover, the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, is here to help answer all your questions about puppy sleep. From how many hours a day does a puppy need to sleep, to how long does a puppy sleep, to help to get your puppy sleeping through the night, we’ve got you covered. Early mistakes can be undone, but it’s best to start off on the right foot. Whether your new pup is four months or eight weeks old, here are some training tips to help everyone sleep well, all night long.
More Exercise = More Sleep
If you can tire your puppy out during the day, they will be more likely to sleep through the night. Even if your pooch is too young to go on walks or hasn’t been fully vaccinated, there are still plenty of ways to provide physical and mental stimulation. If you’re lucky enough to have an enclosed backyard, your pup can run around outside. But even within the confines of your home, you can start getting your puppy comfortable walking on a leash. Challenge your dog by feeding him from puzzle toys or hiding treats.
Be sure to take your pup out for a quick bathroom break right before bedtime. Puppies are not developmentally wired to hold in their pee for more than a few hours at a time. Giving them the chance to empty their bladders before bed gives everyone more time to rest before they’ll need to potty again.
Keep a Routine
Bedtime should feel like bedtime. When it’s time for lights-out, make sure your puppy feels cozy and comfy. Tuck him into a snuggly bed, lower the lights, and even put on some soft music. Sometimes including an item of clothing with your scent on it can help your puppy feel close to you. Some collars and diffusers are designed with Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) in mind, releasing synthetic pheromones, the hormones released by nursing mother dogs. Toys with heartbeat sounds may also help soothe your pup.
Designated Sleeping Space
Once you’ve decided where your puppy will sleep, stick to it! Remember it is your choice, so choose wisely. When your puppy looks up at you with those cute puppy-dog eyes and whines, you’ll be far less tempted to bring your buddy into bed. That being said, if you do decide to let your dog sleep with you, that is absolutely ok. There is nothing wrong with co-sleeping with your pet, as long as you, the human, are making that choice!
Less is More
When it comes to puppies and their sleeping environment, less is usually more. A confined space, or crate is usually best when you first bring your new puppy home. Until your puppy is old enough to hold in their urine, having them in your bed will likely result in soggy sheets. If you opt for a confinement space, place a potty pad next to your pup’s bed so they can potty without waking you up in the middle of the night.
Middle of the Night Crate Breaks
If you choose to have your puppy sleep in a crate, be prepared for a middle-of-the-night potty break. Because puppies cannot physically hold their bladders for more than a few hours, they will need to go out. They also don’t want to be forced to sleep in their own waste – after all, who would? When you take your puppy out, try not to engage him. Stay quiet, try not to play and avoid excessive snuggling, hard as that may be.
Just like with toddlers, your puppy may be able to hold it in longer when they’re exhausted, but it’s unlikely they’ll make it all the way through to morning. A good rule of thumb for most pups (tiny breeds excluded) is that for every month of life, count one hour of holding their bladders. In other words, a three-month-old can hold for three hours, a four-month-old for four, and so on.
Your puppy will quickly figure out how to get your attention. Do not acknowledge whining or barking. If your pup knows that she only needs to whimper and you’ll come running, you’ll never get a good night’s sleep! For the first few nights your puppy is home, try a white noise machine, earplugs, or any kind of noise-cancelling opportunity to block out barks and whines. For some dogs, being confined within your bedroom is enough to keep them quiet. Just knowing you’re close by can keep them relaxed.
Sleeping through the Night
Sleeping through the night means different things for different folks. It may mean an early 6AM wake-up. Chances are, after a few hours of sleep your puppy will be ready and raring to go. Like with babies, new pups are learning exactly what sleeping through the entire night is all about. Waking up early to take your puppy out to pee and finding her full of energy is a normal and rewarding part of pet parenthood.
If you value sleeping in, try confining your fur baby to a space larger than a crate so she can amuse herself, or even potty without waking you up. Failing that, try snuggling up with your puppy to see if she’s willing to catch a few extra minutes of sleep. If all else fails, wake up and enjoy your new puppy. Just like with childhood, those early days will fly by so enjoy that puppy cuteness while you can!