No more sleepless nights with a new dog
So, you’ve expanded the family. Except, this one has a tail and is a little hairier than the others. How exciting! Unless you’re now having a little less sleep than you’re used to. Don’t worry, we want to help you settle in your newest addition and know how to help get your puppy to sleep at night.
Here are some hacks from the professionals and those who have been there, done that and come out the other side with a decent night’s rest.
Dos and don’ts of settling in a new dog
Do set up a sleeping space
Whether you’re using a crate or opting for simply a bed, it’s important to establish a sleeping area for your dog. This will help make bedtime go a little smoother as they get used to having their own space.
Do make their area appealing
From leaving something that smells of you to making sure they go to bed with a favourite toy (not too many), making their space more appealing will help make the nights easier. Make sure their area is warm and cosy so that they’ll want to sleep there otherwise, they might try and find a new place to doze during the night.
Do take them to the toilet
Make sure your dog gets the chance to go to the toilet before going to bed. Adding this to their nightly routine can help them settle a little easier too. It might also be worth dotting a couple of puppy pads near their bed (but not too close) so that they can use them throughout the night if needed and save you some of the clean up in the morning.
Do give them rewards
When your dog uses their sleeping space, providing them with a treat can make their bedtime a positive experience. One that they’ll want to do every night!
Do speak to your vet
If your dog still struggles to get settled at night after spending a few weeks with you, you could always speak to your vet who might be able to suggest a bedtime diffuser or treats containing calming ingredients.
Don’t give in to their crying
As hard as it may be, don’t run to them if they howl or whine. If you always respond to their crying, it can encourage them to do it even more.
“Indie was crate trained because we didn’t have a kitchen door and when she cried at night I went downstairs and let her know that I was near the crate. I didn’t talk to her, didn’t pet her, and didn’t get her out of the crate. Eventually, that soothed her enough to get her back to sleep and I was able to go back to bed. It meant I only had a couple of nights of a crying puppy.” – Alexis with Indie
“Don't fall into a trap of laying down with them in their bed to settle them, I woke up many nights sleeping on the floor with my head in Skye's basket!” – Patricia with Skye
Don’t let them sleep in bed with you
As tempting as it may be to cuddle your pup in bed at night, you might regret it as they get bigger! A dog needs its own space so it can grow into a well-balanced pooch who has no problems spending time alone.
“I was quite naive when it came to getting my rescue pup, Sky. She is very big and fluffy so all I wanted to do was give her cuddles. I may have encouraged her on the bed a few too many times for cuddles because now my husband and I get woken up around 2-3am most nights because she has hopped on and tried to wedge herself between the two of us for some cuddles. The best part is that because she is quite a large dog, she often ends up landing on my face and I get woken up with a mouthful of fur! So, the lesson is... maybe don't give into temptation when it comes to letting them on the bed.” – Sophie with Sky
Don't put lights on
Don’t leave the main light on for them at night as this might confuse your dog as they get accustomed to the different times of the day. If you’d like to provide them with some comfort, a night light might help.
Don’t use their bed space as punishment
You want your dog to have a positive association with their bed or crate so that it’s easier for them to settle at bedtime. Avoid using their sleeping area as punishment, so that they know it’s a safe space.
Don’t place their beds near drafts
If your dog’s space is cold and uncomfortable, they’re not going to want to sleep there. Make sure you place their bed or crate in a warm area of the house.
Will crate training help my dog’s bedtime routine?
Crates come in handy for dogs who need to adjust to their new surroundings, who might need a break from all the noise around them, are recovering from surgery or just need a familiar place to rest. Here are some dos and don’ts for using a crate for your dog at night.
Do take things slow and steady
You should introduce your dog to the crate gradually, especially if they’re going to sleep in it. When your pup is home, get them used to the crate by throwing a treat in and keeping the door open so they’re able to explore it in their own time. From here, slowly increase the time they spend in it until you’re happy leaving them over night.
Do make it comfortable for them
Use a bed and blankets to create comfy space in their crate so that they’re more inclined to want to spend time in there. Covering the crate (but making sure it’s still breathable!) can make it cosier and more appealing too, as it helps block out some of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Do line the bottom of the crate
Using puppy pads to line the bottom of the crate can make cleaning up a lot easier if your puppy has an accident or can’t wait until morning before needing the toilet. You can use less as they grow and become housetrained.
Do make sure it’s big enough
Picking a crate that’s big enough for your dog is important in making sure it’s comfortable for them when they use it. You’ll need to measure your dog for this, with the ideal size allowing your dog to stand up without ducking their head, and to lie down and stretch without being cramped. If you’re buying for a pup there are crates that include a divider panel so that the space can "grow" as your dog does.
Don’t use the crate as a punishment
We know we've already said this but we really can't stress this enough. Never be tempted to close your pup in their crate as punishment for something they might have done wrong. This will give them a very negative association with a space that’s supposed to be safe.
Don’t use it for long periods of time
No matter how much your pup might enjoy their crate, never leave them in for longer than necessary. Your dog needs exercise, time to play and human interaction.