The first night you have your puppy in its new home, expect to have some hiccups when it comes to the puppy sleeping through the night. Remember that they are going through an exciting and perhaps scary time. By taking steps to prepare yourself and their new space will make the transition easier. It can be extremely frustrating and exhausting if your new puppy won’t sleep through the night. Here are some handy tips:
- The first night
- A regular routine
- Be prepared for what sleeping through the night actually means
- A large soft toy
- A ticking clock
- Tire them out
- A full tummy
- Where should a puppy sleep
- Somewhere safe and quiet to sleep
- Be consistent. Same bedtime each night
- Make sure they are warm enough
- Reduce noise levels 30 minutes before bedtime
- Take them to the bathroom one last time before lights out
- Check on your puppy twice in the night if he/she is crying
- Be firm, don’t give in
Be aware of what is likely to happen the first night and why your puppy won't sleep
Your new puppy is used to eating, playing and sleeping with their littermates. The first night is always the worst, as they adjust to being on their own. He or she will cry a lot, feeling sad and lonely.
You may need to get up several times during the first night and soothe them until they fall asleep again. The good news is that puppies of 8 weeks of age usually fall asleep easily for short amounts of time. Provide lots of comfort the first night but it is best to get them into a routine after that.
A regular routine
The best habit you can develop with your new fur baby is a regular routine. A routine provides your dog with stability as they know what is going to happen each day and at which time. Have you ever wondered how your dog seems to be able to tell the time? It is because you do the same thing at the same time each day. My dogs let me know at 5.30 pm every day that it is time for the park.
A routine will help your puppy to settle in and will help with training. For example, You wake up at 6 am, get your puppy and take him or her straight to the bathroom.
Then it’s breakfast at 6.15 am and another potty break. Play with your puppy for 15 minutes and it is probably time for a nap. By doing these activities at the same time each day will teach your puppy what is expected of them and when.
Be Prepared for what sleeping through the night actually means
Be prepared for early morning wake-ups. Sleeping through the night for a puppy means being wide awake and ready to face the new day at 6 am. As time goes on, they will sleep later and later, but it is best to be prepared for early rises for the first few months.
A large soft toy
Provide a large toy to snuggle up to. Puppies sleep in a lump, draped over each other for warmth and comfort. By giving your puppy a large soft toy to cuddle up to, he or she will feel safer sleeping on their own. If possible, give the toy to the breeder a few days before pickup, so it will smell like the puppy’s mother, brothers, and sisters.
A ticking Clock
Many puppies miss their littermates and mother terribly for the first few days. Putting a ticking clock under the blankets will soothe your puppy, as the ticking noise will replicate their mother’s heartbeat.
Tire them out
Take your puppy for a short walk during the day, or engage in some playtime. Young puppies under 3 months of age need 18 to 20 hours of sleep per day. Once they are over 3 months of age, that number reduces to 15 hours of sleep per day.
The trick is to create blocks of time they sleep during the day. You will want them to get enough sleep so that they can grow properly, but not so much you end up with a puppy that won’t sleep through the night. Creating a routine will allow you to get the rest you need.
Not only will playing with your puppy help you to create a strong bond, but it will also tire the little mite out, helping to sleep through the night.
A full tummy
Feed your puppy one hour before bed. This will give them time for their bodies to need a final potty break. Having a full tummy will help your puppy to sleep through the night. Just like us, if we are hungry it will disturb our sleep and we will wake up.
Where should a puppy sleep
For the first few nights, your puppy should sleep in a bathroom or laundry. It is easier to clean any little messes and will be quieter for your new puppy. Any noises will disturb their sleep, waking them up and causing them to cry.
If your little one is stubborn and after a few days won’t settle in a different room, try moving him or her to your bedroom. The solid floor of the crate will hold any accidents, but be aware your puppy will be a light sleeper and wake up a lot. You need your rest too, but an unhappy baby is not pleasant for anyone.
Somewhere safe and quiet to sleep
Some people find crate training cruel, but it is actually the opposite. Your puppy will have its own area that is safe and comforting. Putting your puppy in a crate during the night will stop them from waking up and exploring on their own. Not only can this make a mess (pee and poop all over the place) but they can also learn to be destructive at a young age. If there is nothing to do but sleep or play with toys in their den, they won’t have any choice but to sleep.
Be consistent. Same bedtime each night
Ultimately, the goal of sleeping through the night should mean sleeping on a regular schedule. For example, they should go to bed just before you do at 10 or 11 p.m, and stay asleep until say 6 a.m. or so. What you are aiming for is a straight period of sleep so both you and your new puppy can be rested and ready for the day at the same time.
Turn off the light so your new baby knows its bedtime. You can even use a word to show it is time for sleep “bedtime” or something similar, then shut the door, turn off the light and walk away. It sounds like a mean thing to do, but I guarantee you will be happy you stuck to your guns in a week or two’s time.
Make sure they are warm enough
It is important for your puppy to be snug and secure. The type of bedding included in the space is one of the keys to helping your puppy sleep through the night. Certain breeds need different types of bedding. Breeds with heavy fur need sparse bedding and a single sheet should do just fine. Other breeds who naturally tunnel or burrow, will want extra blankets to snuggle into and under. Several layers of easily washable blankets or towels should do the trick.
Reduce noise levels 30 minutes before bedtime
Keep calm and quiet 30 minutes before bedtime just like you would a human child. 30 minutes before bedtime, you should get in the habit of reducing the noise and activity in your home. If your puppy is excited, it will be much harder to get them to settle in for bed. Avoid playing and use quiet voices as well as calming slow pats so they will relax and be more likely to fall asleep. Create an ideal atmosphere by dimming the lights and turning down the television. Loud noises and bright lights may frighten or excite your puppy, making it harder for them to relax.
Take them to the bathroom one last time before lights out
Take your puppy to the bathroom directly before bed. This will allow them to sleep longer before nature calls once again. You can use a command as you put them on the grass which will help with toilet training.
Check on your puppy twice in the night if he/she is crying
You will need to get up once or twice during the night to allow your puppy to relieve their bladder. Puppies have small bladders and will whine and cry when they have to use the bathroom. They will try to hold it (no one likes a wet bed) but accidents happen. Keep some dry bedding handy so you can replace it quickly if you need to.
Be firm, don't give in to cries or you will undo your hard work and have to start again
It is extremely difficult to hear any baby cry, whether human or fur. It is important you ignore the cries, as every time you give in and cuddle your puppy, he or she is developing a habit and you will have a very tough time getting your puppy sleeping through the night.
The first 2 nights are an exception as your puppy will need reassurance. After that period, if you persist in ignoring him or her, you should end up with a four-legged friend that doesn’t cry by the end of the week.
Enjoy your puppy and your sleep
Learning how to get a puppy to sleep at night can be accomplished in as little at 3 to 7 days with the right plan in place and some vigilance. It is important to avoid changing the routine or giving in and having a snuggle or speaking to them. It will undo all your hard work. Hang in there and stay consistent and the results will pay off.
If your puppy still won’t sleep at night, it is best to take him or her to your veterinarian for a health check. Your new addition may be in physical pain.
If you have found this article helpful or know someone who is struggling to get their new fur baby to sleep, please share this article with them.