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How to Get a Puppy to Sleep Through the Night (6 Tips)

Nicole Cosgrove

The day has finally come- you finally brought home your new puppy! Everyone is excited about the new addition and the day is spent watching the puppy explore its new surroundings and playing with its new toys. The puppy takes random naps for hours at a time, so you think the puppy won’t have any problem sleeping at night.

Nighttime falls and everyone’s ready for bed, but your puppy is suddenly crying hysterically and won’t fall asleep. Every night is the same story: everyone is ready for bed and your puppy just cries continuously. It’s natural to wonder do puppies sleep through the night? We’re here to offer you some tips on how to get your puppy to sleep through the night, so everyone can get a little shut-eye (and keep their sanity).

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Why won’t my puppy sleep through the night?

Most puppies go home with their new owners around 8 to 10 weeks of age, which is considered an optimum age by both breeders and veterinarians alike. Most breeders start socializing their puppies around week 6 up until the puppy leaves with its new owner. Reputable breeders start introducing puppies to children, new people, other animals, and new stimuli and environments to help puppies make the transition to their new homes.

With all this training going on, you would think that the puppies are ready to just go home with their new owners with no issues. But your puppy isn’t sleeping through the night and there is a simple reason why. The sad truth is that your puppy likely isn’t sleeping through the night because it misses its mother. Your puppy did everything with its mom and its littermates before coming home with you. They all ate together, played together, and slept all bundled together.

It’s not hard to put yourself in your puppy’s shoes when you think about the fact that it used to spend all its time with its family and now, they’re just gone. There are a few things you can do to help your puppy grow in confidence in its new home and to help ease your puppy’s transition to help it sleep through the night.

Golden retriever puppy playing and bite owner hand
Image Credit: Damix, Shutterstock

Top 6 Tips to Help Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night:

1. Develop a set routine.

A routine will help your puppy learn to differentiate between playtime and sleep time. A walk, or playing with toys, a few hours before bedtime will help make sure your puppy receives enough mental stimulation during the day to help it wind down at night to go to sleep. Setting a routine will help your puppy start to recognize that this is the time you all sleep and there’s no anxiety needed.


2. Crate training.

A crate becomes a safe haven for many puppies as they age. Many breeders will send home a blanket or a toy that smells like the mother or littermates. To help your puppy sleep at night, put the blanket on the floor of the crate to help your puppy fall asleep to a familiar scent. If the crate is a wire crate, cover it with blankets to help make the space dimmer, which appeals to your puppy’s instincts for a den-like dwelling. This will also help your puppy sleep a little later as they tend to wake up with the first light of morning. Over time the crate will become your puppy’s go-to place when it wants to nap, or just needs some alone time. You can place this crate in the bedroom with you during the first weeks of your puppy living with you so you can hear it when it cries to go out.

labrador puppy bites cage
Image Credit: Olya Maximenko, Shutterstock

3. Prepare for crying.

Your puppy is used to having its mom and littermates to sleep with at night, so be prepared for some crying, howling, and barking as it learns to sleep alone. This will likely be distressing to hear but leaving your puppy in the crate and not giving in to the temptation to let it out when it cries will reinforce that it’s time for sleep and not for play. One way to help ease the crying is praising and rewarding your puppy with a treat when you put it in the crate at night. Your puppy will quickly learn to associate the crate with the reward and will stop crying.


4. Nighttime potty breaks.

Your puppy will need bathroom breaks during the night to relieve its bladder. You’ll be able to hear your puppy cry if it’s sleeping in the crate in your room. Take your puppy outside to relieve itself, praise it, and then return it to bed immediately. If your puppy is having accidents in the crate, you may need to set an alarm for every couple of hours to wake you up to take the puppy out. You should only have to do this for a short period of time as your puppy become potty trained and can hold its bladder for longer as it grows.

Tibetan Terrier puppy
Image Credit: Tomislav Stajduhar, Shutterstock

5. Play soothing sounds.

Playing classical music during bedtime can help your puppy by drowning out new and different sounds that can be upsetting or unfamiliar.


6. Try a heartbeat toy.

There are some toys on the market that simulate the heartbeat of the mother dog. The Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy uses heat and a pulsing heartbeat sound to help alleviate anxiety, loneliness, and fear in young pups. It’s best if these are used under supervision so your puppy doesn’t inadvertently chew it apart and end up choking.

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Conclusion

It’s hard when your puppy is not sleeping through the night. Lack of sleep is not good for your puppy or you, but the good news is that this is just a short phase in your puppy’s life. Using the tips we listed will help ease your puppy’s transition to its new home with you and within a few weeks, it will be sleeping through the night. Before you know it, this will all just be a fuzzy memory as you and your pup have a lifetime of play and love between you.


Featured Image Credit: Sundays Photography, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.