Getting your puppy to sleep through the night may mean a few sleepless nights. With these 4 Ways to Help Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night to remember steps, you'll have a best friend companion for life.
Have you ever seen the classic movie, Lady and the Tramp?
You know the scene where they bring the puppy home for the first time and she’s in her room? Only then she barks the entire night because she doesn’t want to sleep alone?
It’s no secret that sleeping through the night with a new puppy can be almost as difficult as it is with a newborn baby.
The good news, it's easier than you think to get your new puppy sleeping through the night.
With a little foresight, planning, plus a commitment to training, you can have your puppy sleeping through the night in just a few days.
Your Friend for 12-20 Years
Because you now have a cute, snuggly, and loyal companion for the next 15-20 years, let’s focus on ways you can help your puppy sleep through the night happen.
You’re super excited by that little bundle of fur, but unfortunately coming home is a big change for your puppy. Puppies wake up so often because they’re lonely for their mothers.
Expect your puppy will stress for the first week or two in its new home. Think about it, your puppy has left its mom, siblings, and the only home it’s known. I’d stress too!
For your puppy, its new home is a scary place for the first week or two. They don’t understand what a wonderful companion and best friend it will have with you as it’s loving and attentive owner.
Over time, those first few weeks, your puppy will relax and begin to completely trust you as its owner/companion.
Tips for Helping Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night
1. Crate Train your Puppy
You can either crate train or have a small designated room setup with a bed, pee pads, water and toys. If possible, have a crate with the door left open in a small designated room that you can close off with a baby gate.
2. Exercise Your Puppy
Play with your puppy before bedtime.
Your puppy needs lots of exercise throughout the day. By helping your puppy get plenty of exercise, you can help tire them out before bedtime. Generally, the bigger the dog, the more exercise they'll need.
3. Don't Share Your Bed at First
In the beginning, it's best not to let your puppy sleep with you. You could easily wake up with a soggy bed in the morning.
Plus, the chances of getting a good night's sleep can be difficult when you're worried about your new puppy.
It’s also more difficult for your dog to sleep. If you’re tossing and turning throughout the night, they will most likely will be as well.
4. Regularly Schedule Feed Times
Try to feed your puppy their last meal of the day three to four hours before bedtime.
This way they will have more time to digest and eliminate their food outside before settling down to sleep for the night.
Remember that last chance potty break! Before the last person heads to bed, they should give the puppy a quick trip outside.
Basically, you'll want to feed your puppy two hours before bedtime. You want them to poop before putting them to bed.
5. Provide them their Own Sleeping Spot
Give your puppy a safe and comfortable place to rest that is just theirs.
Provide your puppy with a dog bed or blanket in their crate. It's also helpful to have some low music playing to help soothe your puppy as they drift off to sleep. Even an alarm clock that makes the ticking nose will soothe your puppy.
Show your puppy where to sleep. Either a crate, dog bed, or a quiet place in the house where he can nap undisturbed. It may take time for him to get the idea, but eventually he’ll recognize that spot as the place for sleep.
Cuddling him and letting him fall asleep in your lap can be hard to resist, but you don’t want him to be dependent on you to fall asleep.
Children should be taught to leave your puppy alone while he is sleeping. Just monitor your puppy because when as soon as they wake up, your puppy will need to be taken outside.
Plan his day so that your puppy's play time is followed by quiet time for sleep. Most puppies are ready for a nap after playtime or a walk.
In the beginning, your puppy may nap every hour, sleeping from 30 minutes to as long as two hours. All of this sleep is perfectly normal.
Ways Sleep Through the Night
Let’s look at some tips and tricks to help you and your puppy sleep through the night.
First, you must have the puppy supplies when you bring your puppy home.
A Snuggle Puppy Must Have
A snuggle puppy is a stuffed animal made to look like a dog or cat. Inside is a little heart that mimics a mother’s heartbeat. This will help your puppy to relax. To this day, my dogs both still play with their snuggle puppies.
Crate or a Special Room?
When I brought Ruby my Goldendoodle home, I had a crate for her to sleep in. My intention was to crate train her. I’ll be honest, it didn’t last long before she was in bed with me! However, a lot of folks crate train with no problems.
When I brought Callie, my Labrador Retriever, home, I had a room setup for her.
Between the mother's heartbeat with her snuggle puppy, the music playing, we had very few nights where she cried or whined.
Food and Water Bowls
The water bowl should be larger than the food bowl. A stainless steel bowl is preferable over a plastic bowl.
Puppies love to chew. They would destroy a plastic bowl in no time flat.
Stuffed Animals and Toys
A puppy Kong is a must-have for your new puppy. They love to chew.
I like to make stuffed Kongs for my dogs and when it’s time for my dinner, I’ll give them their Kongs.
They love the game of digging out the food from the inside of the Kong. It’s good for mental stimulation besides keeping them busy.
Keep them on the Same Food
Before picking up your puppy, check with the breeder or humane society on what your new puppy is eating. This way you can purchase a new bag before your puppy comes home.
By keeping your puppy on the same food when you bring them home will help prevent diarrhea or bathroom problems.
If you’d like to transition food, you can do so slowly over two weeks' time after they are settled in their new home.
Pee Pads for Puppies
Puppy pee pads are optional. I’ve used them for all my dogs.
I usually have a new puppy in a room, with a crate, bed, toys, and water bowl. I leave the crate open so they can come out to go potty.
Puppies quickly learn that the pee pads are there for them to use. I spread them out on every inch of the floor, giving them no choice.
Over time, the pee pad area becomes smaller and smaller.
Leash, Collars and Harness
I traditionally use a wonder walker as a harness for my dogs.
When Ruby, my Goldendoodle, came home, the only harness she would fit in was a cat’s harness. If your dog is on the smaller side, don’t be afraid of using a cat or even a rabbit harness.
It’s important to use a harness instead of a collar when walking your puppy to prevent tracheal collapse or eye pop-out, which results from pulling on a collar.
I love the sleepy cotton leashes. They come in 4 or 6 ft lengths, are easy to handle and come super clean, just by washing them.
Before your puppy even comes home, determine his or her sleeping area.
If using a crate or a room, you’ll want to ensure the sleeping area is comfortable with soft bedding, a snuggle puppy, and an amazon dot for soft music. I always ask Alexa to play country music for 5 hours.
This sleeping area should be his private area and safe zone. This is not a playtime area for kids.
The easiest way to crate train is to prevent your puppy from feeling trapped inside a locked crate.
Leave the crate door open so your puppy can come in or out.
Never put your puppy in the crate unless it’s tired. Tiring out your puppy is key to helping your puppy accept the crate as a positive space.
I always had the crate door open in a smaller room. The door to the room stayed open with an actual baby gate to prevent the puppy from coming in or out. However, because the door was open, they didn’t feel like it locked them in. This helped tremendously those first weeks at home.
Exercising Your New Puppy
Exercising is important to get your dog tired before nap or bedtime. By exercising your puppy, it will get used to the crate easier and faster.
Help to stimulate your puppy’s mind and body with activities and toys, like the KONG Puppy Dog Toy, during the day.
Toys and activities will help you bond with your puppy and use up their energy. As your puppy grows up, they will need more exercise. Larger breed dogs need more exercise than smaller breed dogs.
By having playtime and potty time before bed, your puppy will sleep.
Potty Training a New Puppy
Puppies can only hold their bladders for a short period at night. When potty training my puppies, I would take them potty at 10:00 and set my alarm for 2:00 a.m., then again at 6:00 a.m. for the first month.
After that, as your puppy gets older, it can go longer between potty breaks. By about 12 weeks of age, both of my dogs could sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. with minor problems.
I will admit by 12 weeks old, both my dogs were sleeping with me. This really helped in getting my dogs to hold it all night long.
If you’d prefer to keep your puppy in a crate and it’s crying, you can bring the crate into the bedroom with you. Usually the noise of its human companions sleeping helps to calm the puppy in the crate.
Feeding On A Schedule
In order to properly potty train, you must plan out your puppy's feeding schedule. Just like a newborn baby, a puppy will enjoy a set schedule.
As new puppies, it's best to space out your puppy's meals by feeding three times a day. They should get breakfast, lunch and dinner. A good feeding schedule is 6:00 a.m., lunch at noon, and dinner at 6:00 p.m.
By feeding on a schedule, you’ll have an easier time potty training. If you feed no later than 2-3 hours before bedtime, your puppy will have pooped before bed.
Once they turn about 6 months of age, you can move them to breakfast and dinner and a small snack before bedtime. A small snack before bedtime will prevent them from throwing up in the morning due to being hungry.
When you bring home, your brand new puppy will only be able to hold its bladder for a few hours each night. Smaller dogs may need to go potty every 2-3 hours.
If your puppy whines, barking or yelps at night, it may be scared or needs to go potty. While it is frustrating and tiring, think of it as a newborn baby.
Just like a newborn, don’t let your puppy whine or cry for too long. If you want a secure and trusting older dog, teach your dog that you will come to its rescue.
Take your puppy potty, turn on the snuggle puppy and music and keep working on teaching your puppy during the daytime and at night.
The first week is always the hardest with a puppy. With both my dogs, for the first two weeks I wondered what I’d done to myself. Then miraculously, things turned, the potty training worked, and they are both wonderful dogs.
What Time Should my Puppy go to Sleep?
Your puppy will adapt to your scheduled bedtime. Whether you go to bed at 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. that's the time you'll want to train your puppy is its bedtime.
A set bedtime will help your puppy to adjust and make house breaking easier for everyone. Puppies like routine as much as kids love routine.
Should I let my Puppy Sleep in my bed?
Okay, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. I let both my Goldendoodle and my Labrador retriever sleep with me!
However, I didn't the first week. The first week they had a crate with a snuggle puppy inside the laundry room. The crate was for sleeping with the door left open. I had a baby gate at the laundry room door so they didn't feel cooped up.
After a week they were beginning to feel more at home, so I let both my dogs sleep with me. As puppies, they would whine when they needed out in the middle of the night. I'd take them potty and right back to bed.
So if you want to let your puppy sleep with you - go ahead! It's perfectly safe and will become your favorite thing to do! They are such a comfort.
Be patient and encouraging and soon you’ll have a secure, trusting and best companion you could ever wish for night after night.