How to get your puppy to sleep better at night
With more people getting puppies during lockdown, sleep has become a real issue for some new dog owners as puppies generally sleep for less time at night than fully grown dogs – and both prefer to be close to people when they sleep if they are allowed to.
According to a study by Dogs Trust; whilst puppies aged 16 weeks sleep for significantly longer than older dogs during the daytime, they sleep for less time at night and only really begin to match their owner’s sleep patterns once they reach one year old. By which time, 27% of owners will have allowed the dog to sleep in their bed – as opposed to just 13% who let them do this when they were 16 weeks old.
Speaking about the study, the Director of Canine Behaviour and Research at Dogs Trust, Rachel Casey said:
“These findings provide a fascinating insight into what the nation’s puppies get up to when the curtains close at night and it’s time to go to bed.
“We know how testing it can be for new dog owners to settle their four-legged friends, especially in the first four months of a puppy’s life, and that’s why we are sharing our top tips for a good night’s sleep.
“Whether it’s making sure your pooch has had the right amount of exercise during the day, has a comfy and safe place to settle down or even just teaching ourselves to recognise signs of tiredness in a dog, these tips could help our pooches to drift off peacefully at night.”
Tips for puppy sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for dogs and owners alike, so here are the Dogs Trust’s recommendations for a good night’s sleep:
- Include walking, playing and short, fun training sessions as part of your puppy’s daily routine so that they have enjoyed using their brains and bodies during the day and have plenty to dream about once they are asleep.
- Create a cosy, comfy place for your puppy to sleep, somewhere away from the busier areas of your home so that they have a suitable place to relax and rest without disruptions.
- Just like babies, an evening routine can help to prepare your puppy for a good night’s sleep, and if you do the same types of activities before bed then your puppy will learn what to expect and settle more easily.
- Help your puppy to unwind by removing anything that might catch their attention. Close the curtains and settle yourself down and this will help them to switch off.
- When puppies grow tired, they might become energetic and run about, bite your hands or tug on your clothing, particularly during the evening. Although it seems like they want more exercise, this actually means they are tired and ready for bed. So try not to react to this behaviour and work to get them settled down instead.
- In the wild, a puppy is born into - and would generally sleep in - a family group so they need to learn to enjoy being in a cosy bed all by themselves. It can take a little time for them to adjust, but you can help them by staying close by and being ready to respond if they appear distressed.
Dogs Trust is continuing to study puppy behaviour and is calling on puppy owners across the UK and Ireland to participate in their Generation Pup study. Find out more at generationpup.ac.uk