I know why you are here. Your adorable puppy has just arrived yesterday and you couldn’t be more excited about dog parenthood. The day went quite smoothly with a bit of playtime, exercise and a lot of potty breaks.
But then bedtime arrived and your furry baby grew tiny horns and prepared itself to rip you off your well-deserved sleep. Now you are sitting here exhausted with 0 hours of sleep and I know exactly how that feels. Even though it doesn’t look like it now, I promise that it will get better with these tricks below.
Why Won’t My Puppy Sleep at Night?
The first couple of nights are definitely not easy neither for you nor your puppy. But why is he crying and whining through the whole night? Isn’t he tired? Is something wrong with him? Does he hate his new home?
I want to tell you that no matter how scary his howling might be sounding this process is completely normal and common. When you bring home your new dog for the first time either one of these two things will happen:
- Your puppy will be so tired from all the new impressions of people, sounds and smells that he will be fast asleep and quiet for the first night.
- He will be so overwhelmed and anxious that he won’t be able to sleep for one second.
The first people might sound like the lucky ones but after the first night, they can also get affected by sudden whining because the dog is realizing that this might be a permanent situation.
Caring for a puppy has many similarities to caring for a newborn. Sleep deprivation and insomnia will be your worst enemies. But why are puppies crying so much at night?
Your puppy has spent the first few weeks of his life with his mother and littermates. One day he happily plays with his friends and before he knows it, he is being kidnapped by two strangers and put into a new home.
He can’t ask where the toilet is, doesn’t know the house rules and only sees strange faces. I think that it’s very understandable that your puppy is feeling a bit confused and anxious.
At night, he is being put into a crate beside the bed or even in another room. In an attempt to be saved, he calls for his pack, an instinctive behavior that is rooted in every canine. This calling can easily last for hours and can become louder and louder.
Puppies should be 8 weeks old when being separated from their mother. The younger the puppy is the more difficult it will be to get him comfortable in his new home and the less likely he will be having a good night’s sleep.
Make sure to only adopt a puppy from a reputational and responsible breeder that won’t give you a puppy earlier than 8 weeks of age. To find the perfect breeder you will have to ask the right questions: All 17 Questions that You Will Need to Ask Your Potential Breeder.
Not Crate Trained
A crate is a wonderful tool that will make many puppy training steps a lot easier including housebreaking and sleeping through the night. Dogs are den animals and feel very safe in dimmed and enclosed spaces. But if your puppy has never been confined before, he will have a hard time learning the whole process within the first day.
How to Teach Your Puppy to Sleep Through the Night
Puppies are like newborns and they will require a certain amount of time to get adapted to the new environment and routine. This could take a couple of days or even weeks. With my Rottweiler puppy, we definitely had a hard first week.
But we stayed consistent with the tips and tricks below and one day she simply fell asleep and slept through the whole night. Be patient and enjoy the process no matter how difficult it is you will miss this time.
The first step we took was to crate train Amalia from day one. We figured that the crate will help us so much during the night and it definitely did. It will keep your dog from soiling itself while providing a safe and comfortable space.
For our puppy, we chose the AmazonBasics Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate with a divider. This divider is crucial and will keep your puppy from pooping in one corner and then sleeping in another. So the crate will be able to grow with your dog gradually.
During the day we set up the crate in the living room so she can get accustomed to it. At night we would move the crate from the living room into the bedroom where she is still sleeping today (now she has a dog bed).
If you don’t want your dog to sleep in the same room as you then please do it at least for the first few nights. It will save you a lot of whining and barking and when you think about it, going from cuddling with your mom to staying alone in an unfamiliar room is quite shocking.
If you want to learn more about the right set up, crate introduction, training, and tips for the first night then head over to my article on 4 Steps to Crate Train Your Puppy.
Make It Cozy
You will want your puppy to feel incredibly cozy in his new bed. Soft blankets will keep him warm and are perfect for snuggling. But if you want to max out the coziness then try out the SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy.
This amazing toy imitates a real heartbeat to take away any stress and anxiety. Having this plush toy might save you from sleepless nights and it will comfort your puppy like nothing else.
Mental & Physical Exercise
If you want your puppy to sleep through the night then make sure that his energy is drained. Exercise consists of physical activity and mental stimulation. A young puppy doesn’t need much physical exercise and spends most of his day sleeping and exploring.
Sniffing and going on adventures is very exhausting for a puppy and will ensure a good night’s sleep. For some mental exercise, I can recommend a stuffed Puppy Kong or the Outward Hound Puzzle Dog Toy.
Just like us humans, dogs are diurnal animals which means that they are the most active during daytime. In the evening, your puppy will take a few naps and when bedtime arrives, he will be wide awake. Schedule 20 minutes playtime in your evening to get out that physical energy. This will also help your puppy to fully relieve himself right before he gets into the crate.
Recommended Reading: How to Exercise Your Puppy
Bedtime is Quiet time
Once you enter the bedroom keep it quiet. Teach your puppy that the crate is a place of rest rather than a play hub. Don’t play a rough game of tug-of-war right before bedtime because it might push up your puppy with adrenaline.
Minimize the amount of talking and only interact with your puppy in a calm manner. This relaxed energy will help your dog to sleep better at night and take a lot of anxiety away.
Young puppies cannot go through a whole 8 hour night without potty breaks. You can start with one or two potty breaks during the night to determine your dog’s needs. When picking your puppy up to go outside, don’t talk and don’t make eye contact.
Nighttime potty breaks are serious business and won’t allow for any play sessions or baby talk. You will want your puppy to stay tired so he can go right back to sleep immediately.
Recommended Reading: How to House Train Your Puppy
There are a lot of steps to take into consideration so creating an evening schedule will help a lot. Dogs thrive for routines and it helps them to feel relaxed and confident in their new environment.
Mealtime, playtimes and potty breaks should be around the same time every day. Your puppy will quickly pick up on cues that indicate bedtime. For example, I clean my face and brush my teeth right before bedtime every day and my dog always goes into the bedroom on these two cues.
When your puppy knows that bedtime is just around the corner, he will get sleepy and ready for the night. The more consistent you are with your routine the quicker your dog will adapt.
I know that it’s hard to not get mad at your puppy for screaming throughout the whole night. But if you set your expectations right, you will be much more relaxed and positive during the process. This should be a time of happiness and excitement while some people even consider giving away their puppy because of it.
Approach your puppy with kindness and understanding and you will definitely be rewarded. Getting angry and yelling at your dog will only make the situation worse. Always remember that it will get better and some parts are just harder than others.
Recommended Reading: 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting a Puppy
Should I Leave My Puppy to Cry at Night?
It’s not easy to determine whether or not your puppy’s crying is serious but after a few days, you will learn to differentiate. Most of the times your puppy will cry at night to get your attention.
If you are sure that his natural needs are met then don’t respond to his crying at all. Do not scold him or make any noises. Even negative attention is a form of attention and reward for your dog. Eventually, he will learn that the crying does nothing and will get back to sleep.
I made the mistake and took my puppy to sleep on the couch with me because this was the only place where she would be quiet. Don’t do this. It will quickly become a habit and your puppy will demand to sleep with you every night.
How to Stop Puppy Whining at Night
I have talked about this a lot in my other posts and the tips I have mentioned above will definitely help with the whining at night. But some puppies are just so persistent that they never seem to get exhausted.
That’s when I found a video on Youtube and I don’t know this guy but he has saved me from a lot of sleepless nights. If you stay persistent with this trick, I will guarantee you that your puppy will stop whining at night.
I hope that these tips will help your puppy sleep through the night. If you have any additional questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below!