Knowing how to get your puppy to sleep longer will mean you and your new best friend getting enough rest during those trying first weeks. It’s up to you, the dog parent, to teach your new best friend how to sleep through the night without much fuss.
As a dog expert I get asked all the time about puppy sleeping – how much is normal – and how to get more sleep overnight.
In this article we discuss
- How much sleep a puppy needs
- How long till a puppy can sleep through the night
- And strategies for a better night of puppy sleep
Sleepless nights aren’t necessarily inevitable… but there may be some. Young dogs are always eager and ready to learn from human cues. Therefore, success requires careful attention in everything you do, both during bedtimes and overnight hours.
The following guide shares some vital advice on how to get your puppy to sleep longer, meaning a good night’s rest for you too.
How Much Sleep Does a Puppy Need?
One thing we must get out of the way is that puppies sleep a lot. My pup can sleep anywhere between 18 and 20 hours (sleep.org) every day. But even this doesn’t get me off the hook just yet. He can spread his sleeping time throughout the day and night.
This can also mean that he is usually awake for the better part of the night. So, technically, it’s no problem to make your new pup sleep longer, especially when it means having some good rest in the process.
Can Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night?
It depends more on your puppy’s age and how well he can hold his bladder throughout the night.
It is probably unreasonable to expect six or more hours of uninterrupted sleep with a new puppy in your home. But with some planning, you can at least get a good three to four hours of quality sleep, a quick walk outside, and another three to four hours of sleep. You will probably be well-rested by morning as long as your pup sleeps soundly before and after his walk.
Therefore, you are responsible for ensuring he relieves himself before bedtime and takes that middle-of-the-night walk just in case he needs it.
These tips will help get your puppy to sleep longer so both of you can have a quiet, sound night:
1. Tire Him Out with a Lot of Exercises
Maximizing your dog’s playtime and activities is one of the best ways of making sure he sleeps well and for longer periods at night. (See our list of 35 indoor dog games and activities if you need inspiration)
Activities such as extended walks, long play sessions, and other stimulation exercises (like nosework) will burn off any excess energy he may have and prepare him for a good night’s sleep.
A properly tired pooch never makes a sound at night after a long tiring evening of running and playing around. (Though some dogs do bark in their sleep!)
Generally, you would expect any puppy to be very active throughout most of the day, except, of course, when they are sleeping. But it’s still important to pay special attention to your little dog’s daytime activity level, especially when closing in on his bedtime.
If you tire him out early in the morning, he will probably have the entire day recharging with naps. Safe to say that you would be in for a wild and loud night.
The more effective strategy is tiring him sometime in the evening or close to nightfall. The trick here is to ensure your puppy is so exhausted that sleep seems like his only option. And the best part about having puppies around is that there are many ways you can keep them entertained (and exhausted).
2. Give Him a Dedicated Quiet Location for Naps
While it’s always tempting to let your little pup sleep with you in your bed, it’s not always the best idea when they are a puppy. Your dog will quickly develop the habit of sleeping only in your bed, and getting him out of this habit will be very difficult.
Instead, you can set up a safe sleeping space where he can take his many naps. Over time, my dog learned to associate the location I set up for him with sleep. It’s pretty similar to how humans associate beds and bedrooms with rest.
You can set up a crate for your puppy to sleep in. The right-size crate can also help with housebreaking your puppy because he will be reluctant to defecate or urinate in the same place he sleeps. However, the crate needs to be the right size for this strategy to be effective. You want it to be just the right size that he can stand, turn, and lay down comfortably.
If you get him an oversized crate, your pup may regard one section of the crate as his “bathroom” and the other as his “bedroom,” which could encourage accidents. At the same time, keeping the crate too small might make it too uncomfortable for him to sleep in.
After buying the right-sized crate, add a soft bed and some of his favorite toys. Also, keep in mind that pups can be very destructive. So, look for bedding that he cannot chew up or destroy easily.
3. Developing a Positive Association with the crate
Simply buying the best crate you can find and dolling it up won’t make your puppy love it. This next step is to make your pup love the crate and associate it with sleep and other good things. After all, you don’t want to end up chasing your puppy around until you catch them and force them into the crate unceremoniously.
Your pup might develop a negative attitude towards the crate and quickly learn to resent it and bedtime. He will be less willing to enter it or go to sleep.
Instead, you want your pup to develop a positive relationship with the crate. You can place several treats inside the crate when it’s time for him to go to bed. I also learned that putting his favorite toy in the crate helps a lot.
You don’t want your pup to see the crate as some punishment.
4. Plan Ahead for Potty Breaks
Most new puppy owners make the mistake of feeding their puppies immediately before bedtime. There’s always the chance he will need to relieve himself in the middle of the night by doing this.
Instead, I would advise feeding him at least two to three hours before his bedtime. This worked well for me because he gets to relieve himself and have his bowel movement before getting into bed.
This allows you to get more sleep before he needs his overnight potty break again and even reduces the risk of overnight accidents. Everyone wins here.
5. Don’t Reward Bad Behavior
It’s human nature to check on your puppy and pamper him when he starts whining during the night. You may even be tempted to put a leash on him and take him outside to check if he doesn’t feel like relieving himself.
However, by giving your puppy attention every time he starts whining, you are essentially giving him the license to whine in the night and give you a difficult time.
In this instance, whenever your puppy starts whining in the middle of the night, ignore it. Only open his crate when he is calm and quiet. You don’t want to reinforce his bad behavior by always opening his crate whenever he starts whining.
As time goes by, your pup will learn that whining won’t get him any results and opt to stay quiet altogether. Eventually, you will eliminate the whining.
Invest Time Now for a Happier Future with Your Pup
As a new puppy parent, you must learn to be compassionate, responsible, and empathic with your new friend. These qualities go a long way toward keeping your little doggo healthy and happy.
The tips in this post should help smooth things for you and make both of you happy and comfortable. They will help your pup sleep soundly through the night and longer periods too. It’s not so difficult once you grasp the basics of how to care for him. I know I enjoyed the process as much as my pup did.