Among the challenges of getting a new puppy, encouraging them to sleep is one of the most difficult. Expect a few sleepless nights, as puppy adjusts to the separation from his mom and littermates who are no longer around to keep him warm and safe. Here is some information as a bedtime guide for puppies.
In the early days, it is reasonable to let your pup sleep inside with his new family. It need not be forever, but it will help ease his transition into his new home and family. It will also allow you and your neighbors to get some sleep! In fact, it’s a great idea to let your pup sleep in a crate in a bedroom so he has some company.
A Full Tummy for Your Puppy
Feed your puppy before bedtime so he has a full tummy, and then settle him in a warm bed. A box or a basket is perfect for this. If it’s chilly, than a hot water bottle will make him more comfortable. Quiet music can provide background noise that will help to soothe him to sleep. A ticking clock sounds like a heartbeat and will give your puppy the feeling of having a littermate.
Bedtime Toys for the Puppy
You can buy toys that are like an artificial puppy, with soft fur and a ticking heartbeat. However, you can make your own littermates with a few old socks and some white rice. To create surrogate littermates, fill old socks with rice, and then heat them in the microwave until they are close body temperature.
Dog Appeasing Pheromones
Another useful tool in the fight against wakeful nights is a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP). This is a chemical that mimics the pheromones that are produced by a female dog when she is feeding puppies. You can choose a DAP spray or a collar, but both will help your puppy rest as he gets used to his new home.
What about when it’s time to move him out of your bedroom and into his permanent sleeping area? Again, the DAP is your friend. Start by making that place his favorite place to be, with toys and comfortable beds. Feed him all meals in his new den, and when he is comfortable being in there, start to close the door while he is finishing dinner.
Getting Your Puppy on a Schedule
The next step is to put your pup in his sleeping area during the daytime, but only for a short time. Close the door for just a few seconds, and if he is quiet, open the door and reward him. If he whimpers, tell him “be quiet” in a firm voice. Don’t be angry, this is a tough time for him. When he quiets down, praise him softly and after a few more quiet seconds, let him out for a play.
What you are doing during this drawn out process is initially getting your pup used to settling without his canine family, then when he sleeps well, moving him into his usual sleeping place. Make that place lots of fun with food and toys. When he is happy to be in there, start leaving him there during the day when you have time to reward him.
It will take a few weeks to go through this sequence but it’s worth putting the time into it while your pup is young. He’ll grow into a secure and happy who sleeps quietly all through the night.
Thanks for this Guest Post from Susan Wright. Susan is a dog lover extraordinaire as an owner, author, dog product expert and a veterinarian. Dr. Wright keeps her own pets safe with wireless dog fences.