How to Get Your Puppy to Sleep Through the Night
Bringing home a new puppy is always such an exciting experience. And why wouldn’t it be? There is so much to love!
But do you know what isn’t fun about a new puppy? Sleepless. Nights. Getting your puppy to sleep through the night may be one of the bigger challenges that you might face.
I cannot think of a more appropriate quote when talking about puppies…..
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Just like kids, puppies need a lot of attention, and this doesn’t stop in the PM hours, either. Regular potty breaks, stress, and a general unfamiliarity with the environment can spell quite a rough few weeks for you, if you aren’t mentally prepared.
Luckily – and as we’ve said before – dogs are creatures of habit. You can easily increase the amount of sleep you’re getting by following a handful of simple, straightforward steps.
Getting your puppy to sleep through the night is as simple as setting expectations and sticking to them. Stay consistent, deliberate, and unflinching. It’s all about routine for dogs – especially puppies.
The you of tomorrow morning will be grateful you did!
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1. Create a Daily Schedule.
Getting your Puppy to sleep is all about the schedule. Set the right cadence of activity and routine, and you will both be dreaming up a storm in no time. Mishandle this critical piece of training, and it will cause you and your dog quite a bit of headache down the road.
When you implement a daily schedule of feeding, potty breaks, and bedtime, your puppy will fall in line quickly. Repetition and practice make perfect – just be sure to never give up, even when things get frustrating!
2. Provide Plenty of Daytime Exercise.
An exercised puppy is a sleepy puppy. The more activity during the day your little four-legged friend can get fetching balls, romping with friends, and exploring the town on your lead, the more likely they are to crawl into bed without a fuss.
Exercise in the traditional sense isn’t the only key here, however. Intellectual stimulation can do more to wear a dog out than physical exertion, in many cases. So, consider using brain-building toys, or allow them to sniff and search for new things throughout their afternoon walk. Mentally engaging them will keep them focused on you when it comes time to learn the ropes.
3. Cut Off the Food and Water Early.
The number one reason your puppy might fuss during the night – besides light anxiety – is their need to eliminate. Taking away their food and water a good hour before bed will prevent them from refilling their bladders and bowels at an inopportune hour.
4. Encourage Potty Breaks Right Before Bedtime.
Cutting off food and water early isn’t the only thing you need to do to help your new dog sleep comfortably. Getting your puppy to sleep through the night is also dependent on them enjoying one, final potty break before bed.
Granted, you’re almost certainly going to need to let them out several more times throughout the night for the first few weeks. But as they grow, that pre-bed pee break will come in handy, especially once they finally reach an age where they can safely and comfortably control their bodily functions.
5. Schedule Night-Time Potty Breaks.
It might seem counterproductive but getting your puppy to sleep through the night can be fast-tracked by letting them out several times in the later hours. The key here, however, is to set a schedule and adhere to it religiously.
In the beginning, letting your dog out every 2.5 to 4 hours (depending on size and breed) is to be expected. And while it might be annoying at first, what you’re secretly doing is further reinforcing the rule of routine in your household. You’re essentially telling your puppy that you are in control of when they can go out, and that is a lesson that will stick with them for life.
6. Practice a Bedtime Ritual.
How to get a puppy to sleep all night all boils down to a routine. And a straightforward, soothing bedtime ritual is the perfect way to establish a solid pattern. Consider reserving special treats for bedtime or provide your puppy with a Kong to work on in their bed or crate.
Most importantly, establish a command associated with bedtime, such as “bed”, or “night-night”. This will help your puppy know that, when you say the command, it’s time to tuck in for the evening.
7. Keep Things Calm.
Putting your puppy down to sleep is not the time to get your new friend overly excited. While young dogs are surely adorable when they’re tuckered out, using excited tones can instigate and rile them back awake.
Instead, use soft, soothing dialogue to set the stage. You might also choose to take advantage of a white noise machine, turn off the lights, or experiment with a crate cover to add an extra layer of relaxation to your puppy’s environment.
8. Use the Crate.
No matter your thoughts on crating (read our opinions here), getting your puppy to sleep through the night is much easier when they’re comfortably confined.
Try to think of the crate as less of a restrictive boundary and more of an assuring den space. Dogs are denning creatures by nature, so if used correctly, your favorite pooch will come to love and associate their crate with good vibes in no time.
9. Don’t Acknowledge Cries for Attention.
It’s hard, but you have to stay strong. Your puppy will almost certainly cry – possibly even bark – the first few nights in your home. It is vital that you do not reward this behavior with attention.
The best and swiftest way to remedy crying behavior is simply to disregard it all together. While it might make for a frustrating week or so, eventually, your dog will come to understand that crying is not rewarded, and nighttime is bedtime.
10. Plan for Distractions.
Getting your puppy to sleep through the night is an uphill battle – there’s no two ways about it. Just remember: You are following these steps for the benefit of the long term.
While it might at times feel like these steps are ineffective, they are, in fact, gradually working in the background. Trust the method, stand firm in your resolve, and within just a few, short weeks, your puppy will be snoozing peacefully…and so will you!
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How long until a puppy can sleep through the night?
All puppies are different; however, an average for a puppy to be able to comfortably sleep through the night is around 16 weeks old. This can range anywhere between 6 to 10 hours.
Should I take my puppy out in the middle of the night?
Again, this will depend on several factors. The puppy’s age, his size, and ultimately what he is able to do. Remember, like with children, all puppies are different and will progress at different stages. That being said, you should always take your puppy out to go potty right before he (you) goes to bed. Typically puppies will be able to hold their bladders for longer periods when they are asleep. But the bottom line is, listen to your puppy, he will tell you what he needs by his actions.
What time should I put my puppy to bed?
This will typically depend on you and your schedule. You should do what works best for you. The best time to put your puppy to bed is when the house is quiet and there is less chance of distractions and him getting upset because he thinks he is missing out on something. Bottom line with puppies and dogs is routine, routine, routine. So if you put him to bed at 10pm, and that works for the household, then you should put him to bed at 10pm every night so he learns that this is bedtime.