It’s not uncommon for new puppy owners to liken the first few months of puppy ownership to that of caring for a new born baby. Whilst, granted there are many differences between babies and puppies, there too are some similarities – establishing a routine being a fundamental one.
Puppy bedtimes can prove quite the challenge to begin with but with some guidance and of course patience, you’ll be well on your way into a settled sleep routine and the bonus is it takes much less time to establish when compared to a baby!
Understanding Your Puppy
An important step in this process and how to get a puppy to sleep has to do with appreciating why your puppy may struggle to sleep through the night to begin with. Often, even adults dogs will struggle with this when they first arrive in a new environment.
Remember, in most cases this will be the first time your puppy has been away from his litter mates or mother and into a brand new environment. They’ll be uncertainty, potentially some stress and you should fully expect this may mean your puppy crying first night.
How Long Until A Puppy Can Sleep Through the Night?
You can expect your puppy to consistently sleep through the night from around 8 weeks but there is no hard and fast rule. Considering most puppies are purchased at this age, it will take some time to establish a routine and therefore your puppy might not settle completely through the night until up to the age of 12 to 16 weeks.
Where Should Your Puppy Sleep?
It can be handy to use a dog crate or kennel to help you puppy associate a specific area with sleeping. However, a dog bed in a designated area of your home will also suffice. It can also be wise if you do choose this option, to select a space where accidents can be easily cleaned up!
When your puppy is showing signs that they’re tired and ready for a nap during the day, encourage your pup to the sleeping area and reward with treats. Before long, your pup will associate the crate, area or bed with sleeping.
Avoid allowing your puppy to sleep in your bed to begin with as its more important for them to have a quiet space to learn this routine. Being in your company may simply be too much stimulus to sleep in the early stages.
Establish a Routine
You’ll need to apply a consistent routine in all areas concerned with your puppy. This will allow them to relax as they know when to expect food and toilet breaks. Remember whatever your puppy consumes (food or water) will need to be eliminated at some point. By ensuring a consistent feeding routine, you’re decreasing the chances of accidents. However, do expect accidents to occur in the early stages, the older your puppy gets, the longer they’ll be able to hold their toilet.
Food and Water
To enable your puppy to digest their food and go to the toilet before bedtime, they should be fed and encouraged to drink about 3-4 hours prior to bedtime. Failure to do this will increase the chances of them waking you up and having accidents during the night.
Level of Activity
Whilst it’s important not to over exercise a young puppy, ensuring they are active and exerting some energy during the day is essential. Take your puppy for short walks and engage in short bursts of play time throughout the day. At night, avoid over exertion as this will help them understand when play time is and when sleep time is.
Allowing your puppy to urinate and defecate just before bed will do wonders for increasing their sleep time and decreasing the volume of accidents. However, do put down suitable means such as a puppy training pad so they can go toilet easily when required and without causing too much mess for you!
As a general rule, you can expect your puppy to hold its bladder one hour for every month of age. So at 8 weeks, they’ll be able to hold it for around 2 hours.