The cuddles of a new puppy. Ah, the cuddles. We love their cuddles, soft fur, warm kisses, and wiggly butts.
But when the lights go out, that’s when your playful puppy becomes a banshee in the night – howling away! Gosh, isn’t that something you wish you knew before becoming a dog owner?
Much like a baby, puppies can be noisemakers and keep you up throughout the night for weeks. In those moments, you wonder why you even got a puppy.
You’re tired and desperate for sleep. You’re at your wit's end and it’s only the first night.
We’re here to tell you, it’s okay, frantic puppy owner, we have some solutions to help your puppy sleep through the night.
Why Isn’t My Puppy Sleeping at Night?
Puppies require a lot of attention and management while they grow. Thank goodness it doesn’t take long, but it does take time.
There are a few reasons why your pup may be struggling to sleep:
- Isolation distress: They aren't used to sleeping without their littermates and mother.
- New surroundings: Everything smells and looks different, and they may hear sounds they've never heard before throughout the night. This change may be exciting and make them restless or it can cause them to be nervous.
- Gotta go! Puppies have tiny bladders. Most can’t hold their pee for an entire night and many puppies instinctually don't want to soil where they sleep. So, they'll whine or cry if they really have to go!
Where Should My Puppy Sleep?
Eventually, your new buddy will be able to sleep in your bed or in a bed of its own on its own. But in the beginning, the best thing you can do is crate train your puppy.
Until your puppy has grown enough to be able to hold its bladder through the night and has become acclimated to its environment, you should have your puppy spend the night in a cozy crate or confinement space.
Crates can become a place to keep your dog while you’re out, a place to feed it, a place to send it when it’s bad (aka the dog version of “go to your room!”), and a safe space for your pup to relax.
Here are some tips to consider when crate training your puppy:
- Create a comforting space: Fill the crate with a blanket, toys, and other soft things they can enjoy (but also cannot harm them). Some puppies do better with a full view of their surroundings, however, most prefer a more "den-like" crate with a cover. For young puppies, look for a bed or mat that’s waterproof, or at least easily washable, and also chew-proof!
- Where to place the crate: Puppies typically like being closer to their family. But, if your puppy is crying, it may be best to keep it in another room.
- How much more will your puppy grow? You’ll want to consider a larger crate for a growing puppy.
- Don’t acknowledge whining and barking: Oh boy is this tough! One of the fastest things a puppy can learn is that whining and barking draw you to it. Once they know this, you’ll never have a good night's sleep. Use earplugs, white noise machines, and other noise-canceling options.
How to Get My Puppy to Sleep Through the Night
There are a variety of things you can do to help your new puppy sleep better. While you’re in for a bit of a struggle at the beginning of puppy ownership, it won’t last long and these tips can help.
Exercise the Puppy
It’s super important to provide it with both mental and physical stimulation inside the home. A tired puppy will sleep better because it burns off energy.
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Mind the Puppy Potty Needs
Make sure your puppy uses the restroom before it goes to bed. Because of its small bladder, your puppy will have to go soon. But when you take it out right before bed, you’ll have more time to sleep.
Make the Space Calming
Dim the lights, put on some soft music, and give your puppy a soft, warm place to snuggle. Try including an item of your clothing in their bedding so your pup feels close to you.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) collars and diffusers release a calming pheromone (a synthetic version of the hormone released by a nursing mother dog) that can also help to soothe your puppy. Toys that emit a “heartbeat” can also help get your puppy to sleep.
Keep in mind that your dog will need a mid-night potty break or even an early morning one before you’re ready to get up. But, these tips can still minimize some of the other anxieties.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
The best thing you can do in the early days of dog ownership is to train the dog. That includes establishing a bedtime routine.
A Day in the Life of a Puppy
Speaking of schedules, below is a sample daily schedule for your puppy by the American Kennel Club:
Morning Puppy Schedule
- In the morning when the puppy wakes up, quickly take him outside to relieve himself.
- Feed him breakfast.
- Puppies usually need to relieve themselves after eating, so give him another potty break.
- Spend 30-60 minutes of playing with him, socializing, and taking a walk.
- Naptime. He may sleep from 30 minutes to two hours.
- Give him another potty break as soon as he wakes up.
Feed him lunch.
Afternoon Puppy Schedule
- After lunch, give him a potty break.
- For up to one hour, play with him and allow him to explore.
- It’s nap time again.
- Take him outside for a bathroom break when he wakes up.
- And then it’s playtime again.
- Chances are pretty good he’ll settle in for a nap after he plays.
Evening Puppy Schedule
- Feed your pup dinner before you sit down, or give him a stuffed Kong to work on in the crate while you eat.
- After dinner, take a walk.
- Let him spend time playing and interacting with family members.
- Give him a quick bathroom trip before bed, and then settle him down in his crate for nighttime sleep.
Don’t let the idea of a schedule overwhelm you. It may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll be rewarded with a happy, well-adjusted dog.
For more doggie photos and pup-related fun, follow us on Instagram at @joyrideharness. And for a more detailed blog post about finding the best size dog harness for your pup, check out this blog post!!