With all that playing, your puppy will need lots of rest, so appropriate puppy sleeping arrangements should be made. Avoid giving into temptation and allowing your new pup to sleep on your bed, even on the first night with your new puppy. It will quickly become a habit that you later might regret when they will not be able to sleep alone! It is best to make them a comfortable nest that they can call their own, where they can be snug at puppy bedtime.
If you are using a puppy crate then a cozy bed can be put inside, with layers of newspaper underneath to soak up any spilled water or wee accidents. The puppy crate, or bed (if you’re using a bed on its own), should be placed in a quiet corner, somewhere where you can keep an eye on your puppy when they are inside, and out of the way of kids playing and general noise, so they can have a good rest. A corner of the kitchen will allow easy mopping up of any spills. If you are placing the puppy crate on the floor elsewhere on carpet, some newspaper or (chew-proof!) waterproof pads underneath is a good idea.
If you already have other dogs in the house, then placing your puppy’s crate alongside their sleeping area will give your new pup some reassuring company. However, if your existing pets are wary or upset about their new housemate, then it is better to keep puppy’s sleeping arrangements separate, until they are used to each other and are happy snuggling up or playing.
On arrival in their new home, your puppy may take a while to settle in. This is likely to have been the first time they have been away from mum and their siblings. During the day, the activities of playing and sleeping might mean your puppy has been distracted and has not noticed that his previous doggy family are no longer around. When it comes to nighttime though, it is dark and long, and it is normal that your pup may get upset when you spend your first night with your new puppy. As a rule, puppy first nights can be tricky – but they are easier to navigate if you have some idea of what to expect.
Firstly, new owners should fully expect to have disrupted sleep for a few nights or even weeks. Anything else is unrealistic and sets them and their puppy up for failure. Plan your new arrival for a time when you can take this into consideration.
Thankfully we have come a long way from the “shut them in the kitchen and let them cry till they fall asleep” thinking which was both unintentionally cruel and also can lead to attachment issues and potentially to separation related problems - as one of the very first things the puppy learns is that these new people do leave you alone and it’s scary.
You are trying to build a relationship and a trust between you and your puppy that is going to last for your whole life together, and making your puppy’s first nights with you as stress-free as possible is going to help with that.
Puppy sleep training happens little by little. When it comes to your puppy’s bedtime, for the first week or so, it is preferable that they sleep in your bedroom with you. This way, he or she has your reassuring presence nearby, and there are sounds and smells that they will be familiar with. A puppy crate is ideal for this stage: you can either take this up to your room at night, or have a second one that is kept in the bedroom. Ensure that puppy gets out to the loo just before bedtime. When settling into bed in the puppy crate, reward positive quiet behavior in the bed. If your puppy gets upset or you hear your puppy crying at night, do not shout or punish your puppy – this is normal - they are just learning how to be independent. Give them a while to settle down with your presence nearby. Puppy crate training at night is a gradual process, and it is important to be patient. If your puppy is crying all night, it can be unsettling for you also, but with care, structure and patience, you will be able to get your puppy into a good sleep routine.
Helping your new puppy sleep through the night can be a challenge even for the most prepared among us. Watch these puppy sleep expert tips and both you and your puppy will be on your way to a restful night.
During the night, if your puppy is unsettled, take them quietly outside to the toilet and back in to their bed, but do not engage in chatting or play behaviour. Keep everything as calm as possible.
As the puppy sleep training process progresses and they get used to sleeping in their bed, you can start to move the puppy crate towards the door, gradually to be moved out of the room to where you want their new sleeping area to be. It is best to try to accomplish this within the first week of having your new puppy.
Like us, puppies sleep better when they are relaxed, comfortable and feel secure – and knowing that we are providing that for our dogs, means we can sleep easy too!
Puppy beds need to give ample room for the growing pup, and if you’re using a puppy crate, be able to fit comfortably inside. If you’ve ever looked at your dog while they are sleeping, then you’ve probably noticed that dogs can sleep in various positions: on their back, on their side, curled up or stretched out. It’s important to take this into consideration when choosing which dog bed is right for your dog.
It’s very important that the dog bed you choose allows your dog to move around comfortably while staying within the confines of the bed. If the bed is big enough for your dog to lie in while curled up, but too small to fit in with their limbs fully outstretched, then your dog might become uncomfortable.
It’s best to put your dog’s bed in a place that is warm and free from draughts. You might also want to have multiple dog beds in the house so your dog can choose where they sleep. For example, a dog bed in a quiet part of the house could be nice for your dog when they want some alone time, but also putting a bed in the living room can be nice when your dog wants to rest near family.
With so many options, choosing which dog bed is the right one for your dog isn’t always the easiest of tasks. However, by following the tips in the article and making sure you assess all the possible options, you can give your dog a comfortable, cosy place to rest that they’ll love you even more for.
Set up a bed for your puppy beside yours. An indoor puppy crate* can be invaluable here as it means your puppy can be beside you but still be safely contained so both of you have a chance to get some sleep – and your puppy begins to learn that night times are for settling down and sleeping. Line the puppy crate with veterinary bedding (which is warm, comfortable and washable) and ideally include something that came from the breeder such as a blanket that smells of mum and security.
A big advantage of a puppy crate is that once your puppy is settled, you can gradually move this to wherever you ultimately want your puppy to spend the night – they do not have to stay in the bedroom forever - but for now, they need the comfort of being beside you.
The puppy will have the comfort of your presence, you are beginning the bonding process and building trust, and even better, you will know if your puppy wakes and needs to go out to the toilet – which will make your toilet training even quicker and easier too.
If you choose not to use a puppy crate, have a soft, warm, safe bed that you can put on the floor beside you but ideally set up a play pen or a barrier around it so your puppy is more likely to settle down and sleep – and so get into a sleeping routine – and can’t wander off, chew things, play, or use various parts of your bedroom as a toilet! This keeps your puppy safe – and means you don’t stay awake all night worrying about what they are doing!
During the day your puppy needs plenty of opportunity to be able to sleep too. Puppies have bursts of energy followed by frequent naps to recover – so they need somewhere comfortable and quiet to sleep, while still being close to you. You can set up a crate or a playpen with soft veterinary bedding in every room you are likely to spend time – or more likely you can get a bed to put in a quiet area of the room, as you will be there to supervise daytime napping.
While for most new owners, the early nights pass fairly incident free, what can you do if things don’t go entirely to plan?
It is way too late to tell you this but ensuring you get your puppy from a breeder who rears in the home and so who has puppies that are already used to a domestic sleep/wake routine will make the puppy’s first nights so much easier.
Many people do not like the idea of using a puppy crate – and there is no doubt they can be misused by people who use them as a way to shut their dog away for hours on end – but used properly, a crate is an invaluable training aid that can help you keep your puppy safe, simplify your toilet training, and make sure you both get some sleep in those early days of your life together.
It is vitally important that you do it right though – and thankfully very simple.
First of all, make sure you get a crate the right size for your puppy – and this may mean you upgrade it several times as your dog grows. At all times, the crate should be big enough that your puppy can stand up comfortably, lie stretched out and be able to get up and turn round. It shouldn’t be so big however that they can use one end for sleeping and the other end as a toilet!
Feed your puppy their meals in the crate and while they are eating you can shut the door for a few minutes. Whenever the pup is sleepy, put him in the crate beside you, so they feel comfortable about sleeping in there. Make a hard and fast rule that no-one ever disturbs the puppy when they are in the crate. It’s important especially on the first night with the new puppy to teach him that this is his safe haven away from the craziness of his new life where he can totally relax. Always stay close by however, especially in the early days, so your puppy doesn’t feel abandoned or ‘locked away’ from you.
Once the puppy is happy and relaxed about sleeping in the crate and going in and out of it, they can be put in there to spend the night – and for most pups this doesn’t take long at all. Every pup is different thought and so you need to be sensitive to your own dog and not rush this.
Thankfully many breeders will have already crate trained their puppies (as it is a lot easier for them not to have puppies running riot around their house) and this will make things so much easier for you and allow you to start as you mean to go on – so it may well be something you want to ask the breeder right at the very start.
Remember, the crate is a place of safety and security designed to help you manage the puppy’s first nights home – it is not something to use for long periods of time. Your puppy should spend their life out and about with you, learning about this new world and bonding with you – not shut in a crate!
NOTE: If your puppy wears a collar in the house, always take it off before you put them in the crate.
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