Seeing as you are reading this article, it’s fair to assume that you are a fresh puppy owner who has already had a few restless nights, courtesy of your new furry friend. That will indeed happen with pups, as they aren’t really all that different from babies. The question presents itself: How do you keep your puppy sleeping throughout the night and ensure a good night’s sleep to get you ready to take on the next day?
First, you must understand that your new puppy herself is going through a lot of stress, quite likely more than you are. At the shelter or breeder, the small pup spends time with her mother and the rest of the litter, to which she is deeply attached. Getting your pup home is a major, life-altering change of setting that is bound to cause a lot of stress and separation anxiety, which, among other things, leads to issues with sleeping.
Training to Get the Puppy Sleeping
The first weeks are crucial, and you will have to do everything in your power to soothe your puppy’s anxiety. For one, make sure that she sleeps in your room. To leave your puppy sleeping in another room might appear like a good idea to toughen her up and make sure she doesn’t wake you, but it’s unlikely to yield any results. You will just make your dog's separation anxiety worse, which could lead to deeper problems once the dog starts growing. And besides, leaving the pup alone will make her much more likely to whine and cry through the night, which you are bound to hear.
What you should do instead is keep her close. You can have the puppy sleeping in your bed, but the ideal solution is to seize this opportunity to get started with crate training. Procure a spacious and comfy dog crate and furnish it with soft bedding and enrich it with some cuddly toys to make the pup as comfortable as possible. Do not leave food and water with your pet inside the crate overnight. You don't want the puppy eating and drinking when she should be sleeping, as they already have poor control over their bodily functions until about four months of age. On top of that, doing the potty deed inside the crate goes against a dog's natural denning instinct, so the pup is likely to start crying in the night on top of having an accident. Instead, you should use food to help to get your pup accustomed to the crate during the day.
Make sure that your puppy has gone potty and doesn’t eat or drink for a while before sleep to maximize her comfort. Once they grow up a bit, pups will be able to go an entire night without bathroom needs, but a puppy sleeping right after a meal is you just asking for trouble.
All told, crate training is your absolute best bet to acclimate your new pet and get the puppy sleeping soundly as soon as possible. This training will go a long way later in the dog’s life and will help you immensely in potty training and overall discipline.
Beyond crate training and doing all you can to make your pup’s transition as smooth as possible, there really isn’t a whole lot you can do to immediately root out any sleeping problems on the spot. The chances are that you will have to start getting up earlier than usual and putting in a fair bit of work, but that is mainly to get the puppy sleeping well as soon as possible. Getting used to you and your home is just a natural process for a pup that has been separated from her mom and familiar environment. You are essentially becoming her new mother, which takes some getting used to. The good news is that this process takes no more than a few weeks, and with crate training and some effort, your pup will be sleeping like a rock within just a couple of days.
For more on Puppy Training in general, check out our E-Book with the Perfect Puppy Training Schedule