Puppies are often remembered as a whirling tornado of energy, but they need 18–20 hours of sleep daily to help them grow big and strong. Puppies don’t yet have a good handle on their internal clock that tells them when to sleep. So, it can seem like night and day; one second, your puppy is running around like a bull in a china shop, and the next, they’ve fallen asleep where they stand.
You can help your puppy grow comfortably and help contain the whirlwind side by helping establish a nap routine for them. Just like human babies, puppies need to sleep enough so that their bodies can grow to their adult size. They also don’t have the same energy threshold as adults and will need to sleep more since they’re expending so much energy growing!
How to Help Your Puppy Nap
1. Don’t Bother Your Puppy While He Naps
While his cute napping face might seem irresistible, you’ll have to exercise self-control. Cuddling your puppy to sleep can cause him to become dependent on you or other family members for comfort before falling asleep.
Encourage all household members to leave your puppy undisturbed while he sleeps. It will help him sleep more soundly and establish good sleeping habits.
You do want to be aware of where your puppy is while he’s sleeping, though. He’ll likely need to go outside when he wakes up. So, you want to be on top of that to help ease him into housebreaking.
2. Establish a Sleeping Space for Your Puppy
Whether the spot is in his crate or a bed, you’ll want your puppy to know where he’s supposed to go when he needs a nap. If he seems sleepy, encourage him to lay down in his designated sleeping spot and leave him to take his nap.
3. Create a Routine
A bedtime routine is critical. It will help both you and your puppy get a better night’s sleep if he sleeps in his bed. You’ll also be able to slot naptimes into your puppy’s daily routine to help ensure that he’s getting enough sleep daily.
4. Make His Crate Inviting
You wouldn’t want to sleep in a cage. Why would you think your puppy does? An expensive dog bed for a puppy will likely get chewed to shreds. Instead, line his crate with a soft, felt blanket. Avoid wool because it can be unwoven into long strings that can be harmful if swallowed.
If you can, bring home a soft toy or blanket that smells like his mother and place that in his crate to help him understand that the crate is a safe place.
5. No Bedtime Extensions
As long as your puppy is fed, watered, and has been taken out to relieve himself, there’s no reason to extend his bedtime. Even if he wants to keep playing, it’s important not to give in to his whining and barking. He will soon learn that it’s time for bed and settle down.
6. Midnight Potty Breaks
Puppies have small bladders, and until they finish growing and developing, they will need potty breaks during the night. Keeping a pee pad might be a good idea while you both develop the midnight potty break routine.
On average, a two-month-old puppy can hold urine for about three hours; a three-month-old puppy for about four hours; and a four-month-old puppy for about five hours. So, while your puppy is growing and developing bladder control, you will have to schedule some midnight potty breaks.
When letting your puppy out in the middle of the night, stay as neutral as possible to avoid getting the puppy into “play mode.” A simple “Good boy/girl” after the puppy finishes doing its business and then take them right back to sleep. Soon this routine will be well established and over time you can gradually extend the time between the potty breaks until you both have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Example Puppy Routine
Puppies thrive in structured environments. When they know exactly what to expect, they know what’s expected of them. Here’s a sample routine your puppy could follow to help them navigate their new world and home.
Caring for a puppy is hard work! He’ll need less and less hands-on care as he grows and becomes more independent. Having a structure will help your puppy flourish and thrive. While it might seem like a lot at first, the payoff of having a happy, well-mannered dog will be well worth the trouble!
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Featured Image Credit: Piqsels