It's 2 a.m. and your puppy has decided it's playtime. Or maybe he's whining and crying that sad pick me up and love me way song. Your groggy brain may simply give in to get him back to sleep, but you may be teaching him to continue this late-night habit.
First and foremost, your puppy needs a safe place to call his own when it's time to hunker down for the night. A crate offers this den-like area, and becomes his bedroom. Train your puppy to head in during nap times or at bedtime and ignore whining or other behavior when he's inside. When you start training, leave him in the crate for short periods, and let him out only when he's calmed down and stopped fussing. Increase the amount of crate time gradually, and he'll associate the crate with a place of calm and rest.
Lots of Play
A great way to encourage your puppy to sleep through the night is to tire him out enough during the day so he drops like a rock at bedtime. Take him outside for a walk and offer plenty of opportunity to play and expend his energy throughout the day. At 2 months old he probably still takes regular naps, so utilize his awake time as much as you can. Offer a variety of toys and swap them out regularly so he doesn't become bored with them.
Eat and Potty
An empty belly and full bladder are good motivators to wake your puppy from even the deepest sleep. Your 2-month-old puppy is probably just getting used to solid food, and following a three meals a day feeding schedule. If his last meal of the day was too far away from bedtime, his nightly wakings may be hunger related. Feed him about three hours before bed to allow time to digest. Take him outside a few times after his last feeding to make sure his bladder is empty. Pick up his water dish about two hours before bed so he doesn't have to potty in the wee hours of the morning.
Puppies learn what works, and if whining and making noise at night get you up and interacting with him, he'll keep doing it. Crate training and careful food and potty schedules won't mean anything if you keep giving in when he cries at night. Ignore him if he makes noise, or offer correction with a sharp “No!” If he's still whining after about 20 minutes, take him out of the crate only to let him outside. Once he does his business, put him back in his crate. Teach him that the middle of the night is for sleeping, and ignore any playful behavior he may try to initiate.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.