9/17/2018

My Puppy Needs to Sleep... And So Do I!

Yay! You adopted a dog. And, not just any dog. A PUPPY! Adorable. Fluffy. Perfect.

You, your family, and your puppy are so excited it’s hard to contain the happiness you’re feeling. Adding a pup to your family isn’t something to take lightly. And, oh. The life you will have sharing experiences with your dog will be priceless.

But, you’re exhausted. Your puppy isn’t sleeping through the night. She’s staying up barking, whining, and crying. She doesn’t want to be without you. And honestly, she probably has no idea what she wants either.

Can’t blame her, right? Dogs are social animals and they enjoy the company of others. On top of all the other changes she’s gone through, she has been taken from her mother, too.

There are a few tips to help your pup sleep through the night, so you can once again get that sleep you need so badly.

Play During the Day

If you play with your puppy during the day, she’s much more likely to sleep through the night. They’re tired out. A tired dog is a happy dog. And when they’re worn out, they want to sleep as badly as you do.

Even if your pup is too young to go for walks (due to not having all her vaccinations yet), it’s still important to make sure she gets enough mental and physical stimulation. You shouldn’t give up on exercise all together simply because she’s a little pup.

If you have a fenced-in yard, that makes it so much easier for you. If you don’t have a fenced-in area for your dog, this may be something worth looking into.

Play with toys.

Play fetch.

Chase one another around.

Make the most out of her training.

Walk her around the yard on the leash.

Grab some puzzle toys for mental stimulation.

All of these can help tremendously. You’ll be surprised at her change in behavior once you implement one or all the above activities.

Potty Breaks are Crucial

Puppies can’t ‘hold it in’ for long periods of time. Their little bladders don’t have enough control to prevent an accident if they aren’t taken out regularly (not their fault).

Your pup could wake you shortly after you fall asleep because they have a dire need to go outside and do their business.

To prevent this from happening too soon, be sure to take her out right before bedtime. By taking this simple step, you have just bought yourself more sleep time.

Get Comfy and Cozy

When bedtime arrives, you should truly make it feel like bedtime.

This might sound like a ‘given’ but you would be surprised at how much we do around the house once we realize it is time for bed.

If you have kids, you’re probably getting everything ready for school the next day. This also may be the time you sip your cup of tea. Or, have some quiet time to yourself to calm down from your busy day.

If you are around the house finishing things up for the day at bedtime, be sure not to bother your puppy while doing so.

To help your dog relax and fall asleep, dim the lights, put on some relaxing music, and give your puppy a nest that smells like you. They may not be directly next to you but will feel closer with your scent near their body.

DAP, or Dog Appeasing Pheromone, can also help tremendously with this process. DAP releases the hormone your dog once ‘smelled’ by their nursing mother.

Try Not to Switch it Up

Before you pick up your new puppy, look around your home for the best place to allow her to sleep.

Prepare your puppy’s bed in advance. Pick a spot for her bed that’s going to be comforting for her. If you’re not sure where that could be, just think of where you would want to go to relax in your home. It’s probably the same for her.

Or, maybe you want her to sleep with you.

It’s important to note here, if you let your puppy sleep with you in the beginning, the chances of her wanting to do this every night are extremely high.

There’s nothing wrong with your puppy sleeping with you but make sure it’s a choice you’re comfortable with. This will be hard to change later if it’s not what you want.

Crate Training Could Help

If you don’t want to sleep with your puppy, crate training or confinement are two options to consider.

Crate training can be the best choice for your puppy if they’re struggling to hold their bladder. If you don’t want to put your pup in a crate, simply choosing a confinement area may work.

If you’re using a confinement space rather than a crate, place a puppy pad right next to your pup’s bed just in case she feels the need to go potty while you’re sleeping.

If you decide on crate training, your puppy will need a middle-of-the-night potty break. Puppies can’t hold their bladder for more than a few hours. It’s not their fault, their bodies are just not made to hold it yet (P.S.- This is repeated multiple times on purpose. It’s common for humans to punish dogs for having accidents- especially puppies- don’t do this as it can hurt the bond you share with your dog for the rest of her life and it doesn’t help their bladder become larger either).

As a general guideline, if you don’t have a toy breed, a pup can hold their bladder for approximately as many hours as they are months old. For example, if you have a four-month-old puppy, she should be able to hold her bladder for up to four hours.

Don’t panic if your puppy doesn’t make it this long. And, don’t think they’re having accidents to spite you. They’re still learning.

Ignore the Whining

Yes, this is near impossible. Not only are we frustrated with the continuous whining and/or barking, but we usually feel terrible for leaving them in their crate as they’re crying.

But, guess what happens if you acknowledge this? Your puppy will learn to get what he wants by crying for it. If they make this connection, you’ll never sleep through the night.

Every time your pup wants something, if you tend to her every time she cries, she will be asking you for things all the time.

Get Some Beauty Sleep

Overall, there are ways to get more rest. But, you aren’t going to get that ‘full rest’ for a few months as your pup continues to grow. If you have someone helping you take care of your puppy, you can take turns letting her outside to go potty. Then, you’re not thoroughly exhausted every day.