As cute as your new puppy is, he can be equally annoying at night. Puppies who are full of energy brush off sleep and instead bark, whine and run through the house like madmen. Crate training and a little bit of exercise and comfort go a long way to reclaiming your regular sleeping schedule.
Sap the energy from your pup by playing with him throughout the day. Puppies tend to play for 30 minutes or an hour, lose all their energy and then refill after a nap. If they don't have a way to release some energy before bedtime, they're going to cause you to count barks instead of sheep. Fetch, mad running through the house and short walks will help your pup's head meet his pillow at night.
Let the little guy out immediately before bedtime. Try as they might, puppies can only hold it for a few hours. Letting him out before going to bed prevents your pup from whining and crying to go out, or, in the case of puppies that are not house trained, from having an accident. If your puppy wakes you up in the middle of the night, he probably needs to go out again.
Schedule his last meal for about three hours before he goes to bed. There's no reason for him to be scarfing down kibbles right before he lies down for the night.
Crate train him immediately. Crate training provides a den for your puppy. He'll hate the crate at first, but soon learn to love it, feel safe in it and seek it out when he's tired. When training him in the crate, never show him attention until he stops whining, and train him only twice or three times a day for a maximum of one hour each time. Keep the crate in your room when you sleep to help your puppy better relax.
Make his crate comfortable. Place a dog bed inside or cover the bottom with a blanket. Block out the light and make him feel safe by tossing a sheet over the crate. Puppies can and will sleep on just about anything, but soft surfaces are always more inviting.
Make minimal noise. Puppies hate distractions when they're trying to sleep as much as you do. When it's bedtime, don't create a commotion or talk loudly. The less noise that's made, the more likely it is that your pup will remain sleeping, rather than jumping up and checking out what's going on.
Items you will need
- Dog bed
- Old blanket or sheet
- Placing a non-squeaking toy in his crate can help keep your pup busy if he's too keyed up to sleep. Give him only safe toys that he cannot break into pieces while you're sleeping.
- Avoid disrupting his naps during the day. Puppies need plenty of sleep. If they don't take regular naps, they can become moody like a child, leading to mouthing and biting.
- Never yell at or discipline your puppy for throwing a fit when it's time to sleep. Regardless of what steps you take, the first few nights will likely be rough. After your puppy adjusts to your house and his new surroundings, he'll relax easier.
- Never give in to your pup's barking and whining. Unless he needs to go out in the middle of the night, ignore him. If you comfort him—or worse, put him in bed with you—you're telling him that all he needs to do is belt out a few cries and you'll come save him.
- Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Newsletter of the Community Practice Service Spring 2010 [PDF]
- Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Crate Training
- University of California School of Veterinary Medicine: Crate Training Your Puppy [PDF]
- Ranchel Coastal Humane Society: Puppy Biting 101 [PDF]
- sleeping puppy image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com