How to Get Your Puppy Sleeping Through the Night
Learn to sleep through the night with your new pup without her waking you up!
You've brought home your new puppy -- congratulations on the newest member of your family! Puppies are adorable and lots of fun, but they also require some work, especially when it comes to getting your puppy sleeping through the night.
So where do you start? Rebecca Setler, dog trainer and author of Puppy Sleep Training -- The Exhausted Puppy Owner's Nighttime Survival Guide, says, "In most cases, having the puppy crated at night is the best option." You can purchase a crate that comes with a divider, which you can move as your puppy grows to give her more space to sleep in. A mat or pad will make your puppy feel more cozy, and some dogs like the additional security of sleeping with a toy.
Before getting your puppy ready for bed at night, it's a good idea to try to tire her out. Take her for a walk, play fetch or tug of war -- whatever is fun for her and will burn up her excess energy.
Now it's time for everyone to get settled for the night -- but, as Setler says, "You should always take your puppy out right before putting him to bed, even if he's already asleep and doesn't seem like he needs to go out. If you skip this step, you're almost certainly going to have to get up for a middle-of-the-night potty trip much sooner than you otherwise would have needed to."
A dog's need to go out will vary by age, size, eating schedule and more, but Setler's basic rule of thumb is:
- Puppies between seven and nine weeks of age will need a nighttime potty trip every two to three hours
- Puppies between 10 and 12 weeks will need to go out every three to four hours
- Puppies from 12 to 14 weeks of age can make it for four to six hours before needing a trip outside
You may also want to consider sleeping near your puppy for at least the first few nights she's with you at home. For some dogs, this may be the first time they're away from their mother and littermates, and having you near them can minimize stress. You can put his crate in your bedroom, or, as Setler suggests, "if you don't want to have the pup in your room, you can sleep on a couch or in a sleeping bag next to him in another area of the house. Once he's comfortable in his new home, you can get him used to sleeping in another room if you choose to."
And if you haven't already taken your puppy to see the vet, now is a good time to do it to make sure your dog is in good health before you begin sleep training. Setler says, "Puppies who have digestive problems, urinary issues or any other painful or itchy condition often have a difficult time making it through the night. Resolving these issues as early as possible will make sleep training a much easier process."
So, with a little consistency and perseverance, you can get your new puppy sleeping through the night in no time!
Jill Reed Siroty is a freelance writer and college instructor. She lives in suburban New York City with her husband, two sons and a slightly demanding fluffy white dog named Allie.