Sweet Dreams: The First Nights with a New Puppy
Those of us who love dogs can think of few things more exciting than the arrival of a new puppy. Along with lots of laughter and smiles, you can also expect a few mishaps and accidents to occur in those first few weeks. However, one thing an exuberant new owner may not consider are the sleeping habits and nighttime behaviors of a puppy.
Nighttime Tips for a New Puppy
At first, a puppy’s never-ending curiosity and little howls may seem cute…until it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, and Patches has kept you awake most of the night yipping and whining.
By nature, dogs are pack-oriented animals. As you may have noticed, puppies tend to pile together at night, both for warmth and for protection. Typically, mama canine is also nearby. That’s why sleeping solo can be scary for a new puppy.
In the wild, this instinct is wonderful. At home, it may lead to a few sleepless nights. Thankfully, there are ways to address these behaviors and make the transition a lot more sleep-friendly for all.
We hope the following tips go a long way to encouraging sweet dreams instead of restless nights.
Before the First Night…
- Purchase a small crate with enough room for your puppy to grow and move around in, yet small enough to feel like a “den.”
- Pick up a few snuggly stuffed animals that are free of buttons, add-ons, or anything that could be swallowed.
- Plan on getting up a few times throughout the night for potty breaks. You may want to set an alarm every few hours or enlist the help of another family member.
- Gather soft blankets, towels, and other crate liners for a cozy slumber. If you have a blanket with the mother or littermates’ scents, even better!
- Place the crate near your bed or in the bedroom to alleviate loneliness and anxiety.
- Line the crate with a blanket or towels and your baby pup’s snuggle toy.
- Play with your pet until he or she is relaxed and a bit sleepy.
- Right before bed, take him or her outside for another potty break. Ensure your puppy has an empty bladder before entering the crate.
- If your pet whines, check to see if another potty break is in order. Expect to go outside once every 2-3 hours with a puppy under 3 months.
- If the whining continues, offer a reassuring pat but remain firm about bedtime. Use a cue word or phrase, such as “quiet” or “go to sleep.”
- Take your fur baby out to potty as soon as you wake up. Carry him or her to avoid an accident.
- Provide ample praise and plenty of pats and kisses for a successful first night.
With practice and patience, your puppy will eventually get into a bedtime routine and will snooze without all the anxiety and restlessness of the first few weeks.
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