Trying to get a newly adopted puppy to sleep through the night can be just as difficult as getting a newborn baby to sleep for a solid 8 hours. Your new puppy is away from his canine family and in a new environment. It's important to help him adjust to his new home and learn how to get a puppy to sleep through the night.
Your puppy may wake up often because he's lonely for his mother. He will also need to use the bathroom multiple times during the night. Training a puppy to sleep through the night isn't as hard as it seems, but it will take patience, planning and commitment.
I've raised many puppies, and there are 5 tips that I always share when people ask me how to get a puppy to sleep through the night. I've used these tips and tricks myself, and they haven't failed me yet! Puppies may need as much as 18 to 20 hours of sleep each day, you just need to make sure that he gets most of those hours at night instead of during the day.
Remember to be patient. It's not going to happen overnight (no pun intended). You need to make peace with the fact that you're not going to sleep through the night for a while. The first few nights after bringing your new puppy home will be long, but it will get easier as your pooch settles into the routine and gets used to his new environment.
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How to Get a Puppy to Sleep Through the Night
Puppies, like human babies, need a routine. If their schedule is sporadic, they can't get used to anything. They'll never know what is coming next, and that means they won't be able to figure out what they are supposed to be doing. It will be a fun puppy free-for-all at all hours of the day.
As I previously mentioned, puppies could need up to 20 hours of sleep per day. The average puppy will need at least 15-18 hours. He's obviously not going to get all of that sleep at once, so you need to create a routine to space out his naps.
Fido should be taking naps in the morning and afternoon. You don't want him to take any naps within 3-4 hours of bedtime. If he sleeps before bed, he won't be tired when he lies down for the night. Thus, defeating the point of learning how to get a puppy to sleep through the night.
You should also feed him 3-4 hours before bedtime. That will allow for plenty of time to use the bathroom before climbing into bed for the night. After he eats, be sure that you set aside plenty of time for play in the evening. But, you'll want him to start settling down about 30 minutes before bedtime.
Make sure you give your puppy plenty of bathroom breaks before bed, and one right before you head for the bedroom. If your pup is very young, he will need to take bathroom breaks in the middle of the night as well. Begin with potty breaks every 2-3 hours and gradually make the time between breaks longer until your pooch can hold it all night.
2. Crate train your puppy
Some new puppy owners believe that crate training a puppy is inhumane. That couldn't be anymore wrong. When crate training is done properly, your puppy will actually enjoy having his own space and a place to relax and be alone when he wants to be.
You need to do research on crate training before you bring your puppy home. Crate training needs to begin as soon as your pup arrives. He should be getting used to his crate from day 1, so it’s important that you know what you’re getting into before you adopt your new canine companion.
For more information and tips on crate training, check out these resources:
- The Guide To Crate Training A Puppy – 20 Easy Crate Training Tricks
- 16 Tips for Crate Training A Dog
- 5 Mistakes of Crate Training Dogs (and how to fix them)
- How To Crate Train A Dog – A Video Guide
If you decide to use a crate when learning how to get a puppy to sleep through the night, you should place your dog's crate in your bedroom. Your presence will comfort him and make him feel more comfortable at night. Speaking of comfort, it's important that you make the crate as comfortable for your pup as possible.
Place a blanket or dog bed in the crate. You may also want to put a piece of your clothing or other material that smells like you in the crate. Your scent will help to calm your dog and make him feel comfortable.
When learning how to get a puppy to sleep, you have to remember that puppies may struggle with teething pain in the middle of the night. This could cause them to cry or chew on their crate. For this reason, you should place 1 or 2 of their favorite chew toys in the crate at night.
3. Do not reward crying
While your dog is adjusting to his crate, it's important that you do not reward his crying behavior. Of course, he's going to cry if he needs a potty break, so there is a fine line between not rewarding the crying and helping your dog when he needs you.
If your dog begins to cry or whine, wait for a break in the whining before you get up to let him out. If your pup just went into his crate, he's probably just whining because he wants to come out. Wait it out, and I promise you he will settle in and go to sleep eventually. If you think it's time for a bathroom break, wait for a break in the crying before getting up to let your pup out.
4. Try music for dogs
There are certain types of music that have been proven to be effective for calming dogs. For example, a new study published in the journal of Physiology and Behavior concluded that the two genres that calm canines the most are reggae and soft rock. Classical music was also mentioned among certain dog sleep studies.
If you can sleep with quiet music playing, it may help when learning how to get a puppy to sleep through the night. The music can help prevent your dog from feeling all alone, and the soothing sounds of the music will help him rest peacefully. There are even specific types of dog calming music pieces that work particularly well on puppies. Alternatively, you can also use a white noise machine. Check out this podcast episode for more details on how it works.
5. Wake up early
Yes, I said it. You will need to wake up early if you want to learn how to get a puppy to sleep through the night. Your dog is going to be resting and recharging his energy all night. By the time the sun comes up, he's going to be ready to hit the ground running (literally).
Plan to be up early. When you puppy wakes up for his morning bathroom break, it's time for you to get up for the day as well. Once Fido goes outside to urinate, he won't want to settle back in for more sleep. He'll be ready for breakfast and fun round of tug-of-war.