Puppies are extremely cute. They are very active and eager to learn things each day. Bringing a new family member is always a moment of joy, but it also implies responsibility. Just like children, they need several hours of rest daily for a proper brain development. A sleeping puppy is always a nice view, but at the same time you must be aware of the signs it transmits.
The first night with the little one can be stressful and hearing it cry can make you feel guilty. In this post, you can find valuable information that can help you look after your puppy and raise it the best way possible.
The need for sleep
The first thing that you need to understand is that sleeping, or taking a nap is completely normal for dogs, regardless of the age. If you are wondering if puppies sleep a lot, the answer is yes. While an adult requires about 14 hours of rest daily, puppies need 18 to 20 hours. This is part of the growing system and a healthy evolution. They develop physically incredibly fast, and this requires an impressive amount of energy.
At the same time, there are many places they must get familiar with and countless things to learn, including commands. This means that they discover new rooms, people, or even other pets when they are awake. You must take advantage of this time to model the behavior in a constructive manner.
Just like children, puppies are extremely energetic when they are awake. Furthermore, they cannot perceive tiredness, and this makes them fall asleep in the most hilarious positions and places. Short naps are completely normal and can occur any time during the day. It is advisable to schedule as much as you can its bedtime routine, so it will not keep you awake during night time when it becomes an adult. The best way to do it is to keep the puppy active during the evening. It’s also important to know when to feed your puppy throughout the day so that he’s getting all the nutrients he needs. You can do that by utilizing this great article to learn how to set up a puppy eating schedule.
Play games and even try some training tricks. In order to prevent potty breaks, it is a good idea to give it food and water four hours before going to sleep. If you need to take it out, make sure it is quick, and you go straight to bed after. It is also important to set the alarm and be the one who wakes up the puppy and not vice versa. This will teach it that it is not all right to wake you up in the morning, but to wait patiently until you get out of bed.
The sleeping routine of dogs develops as they get older. Puppies are known to be extremely energetic until they shut down almost instantaneous. The breed plays a major role in the sleeping habit of your puppy. It can be more or less active during the day, compared to others, but this is not something that needs to concern you. What you need to be aware of, is that the sleep is incredibly deep. This means that you can pick them up, cuddle them or move their paws, and they will not feel a thing.
However, it is not a good idea to wake them up on purpose, simply to play with them. Resting is extremely important for a proper development, even if it falls asleep while eating.
If you are wondering how much a puppy should sleep, you need to know that they require a minimum of 17 hours per day. The rest of 7 hours can be used to set up a schedule. You can use it for walks and easy to learn commands, like their name, sit and come here. It is also a good idea to teach your puppy to calm down after playing with it, as part of the future discipline.
At the same time, you must provide a safe environment for the little one. This means that you can allow it to sleep in the same room with you, but make sure you avoid cuddling it when it cries, as this can turn into a habit that you will most likely not appreciate when the dog becomes an adult.
In order to enjoy a well structured sleeping routine, you need to teach your puppy to use its bed. Take it there when you feel that it falls asleep. This will teach it that there are places where it is allowed to rest, and places that are not for it. In brief time, it will go by itself to its bed as it will associate it with tiredness.
It is also important to know that the time it spends sleeping depends on the breed and on how active it is in a particular day. The only way you can monitor it is by taking notes. However, this is not a must. You must not be concerned if your dog spends more time sleeping than playing. Furthermore, all dogs (no matter the age) have a daily activity — sleeping routine, as it can be seen in the table below.
|30%||Rest = awake, but not active|
|20%||Active = playing, running, chewing, etc.|
Though you must not be concerned if your puppy sleeps a lot, you do need to worry when its habits change suddenly. There are certain things that can lead to a changed schedule:
- a diet low in nutrients — it is important to avoid pet food that is based on ingredients that require too much time to digest because this will make it use its energy on digesting the food and less to play with you (you can learn more in this article about avoiding feeding puppies adult food);
- aging — you will notice that once the puppy grows, it requires less sleep; however, the situations changes once it gets old, as senior dogs tend to sleep more during the day and move from a corner to another at night;
- Health problems — your puppy can either be agitated during sleep or stay inactive for a longer period of time; if you notice crying, barking, lack of appetite or intense scratching, it is time to pay the veterinarian a visit.
The first night with your puppy
Dogs, just like humans, feel the need to be as close as possible to the family members. They feel comfortable and safe when they are around, and feel disoriented when they are left alone. The feeling is more intense for puppies, as they are taken away from their siblings and mother. It is completely normal to feel it anxious and to hear it cry.
Once it gets used to your arms, it will feel abandoned when you put it in its bed to sleep. This vulnerability makes the puppy feel uncertain about its new house. It may take a while until it feels confident enough to sleep by itself with no worries. This means that it is up to you to ensure an environment that inspires confidence rather than fear.
The first night is crucial because this is when the puppy realizes that it is away from its canine family. Some people decide to take it as far as possible from the bedroom in order to avoid hearing it cry. Others put it in a cage to prevent it from scratching the furniture or the doors. The truth is that none of these solutions are recommended. They only manage to increase the insecurity of the puppy, and as a result it will whine all night.
Furthermore, this can be a trauma with long term effects, and the dog can develop behavioral problems when it reaches adulthood. This means that you need to be prepared and set up a space for the new family member where it does not feel alone or isolated. A solution would be to purchase a doggy bed or a special blanket and to place it close to your bed. Though it is acceptable, not all people feel eager to bring the pet inside.
If you do not want your dog to be this close to you each night, it is advisable to avoid bringing it inside the bedroom. It can get accustomed to this cozy place pretty fast and you will find it impossible to teach it to sleep somewhere else when it grows up. A great alternative for both of you would be to purchase a crate and to place it close to the bedroom door. It is advisable to leave the door open, so the little one can hear you move in bed. If you hear it cry, you can talk to it and comfort it.
Another thing that you need to teach your puppy is to go for a walk before going to sleep. This will get it so tired that it will sleep well during the night. It is not unusual for the puppy to feel alone in the crate. In order to make it feel more comfortable you can give it a toy to make the space feel more familiar. Though it may be hard to ignore it, you need to stay strong and to avoid running towards it immediately.
If it whines continuously, you can take it up by the back of its neck and tell it in a calm voice that it is not allowed. This is a good opportunity to introduce it to the sleep command. In brief time you will see that it is enough to say the words without coming close to the puppy and it will obey you.
The night routine needs to end with a morning walk. Your puppy will be eager to see you get up and will do anything to receive attention. While you walk, you can give it treats to encourage the good things it does. Praises also do wonders, so remember to congratulate it verbally when it obeys the commands. By doing all these, you will make it feel comfortable and protected.
As a result, it will trust you, and it will not develop any sorts of anxieties that could lead to an aggressive behavior. This initial relationship also has a direct impact on how the dog responds and learns the commands, but also on how it shows its affection.
There are four rules that all puppy owners need to consider before taking their dog to bed:
- Physical exercises can help the puppy relieve the stress and sleep better. You can opt for a long walk, or running around the house, depending on how cold it is outside. It is best to take it out, as it gets tired easier and puts all its muscles to work.
- It is important to avoid a quick nap before the bedtime hour. The only way you can keep it awake is by encouraging the puppy to do the things it likes. This is also helpful to prevent it leave the crate.
- It is not a good idea to deny access to water, as the puppy can get thirsty after playing with it, especially if it is hot outside. However, you need to limit its drink and only allow it a few sips to prevent midnight accidents.
- You need to feed your puppy the dinner 4 hours before bedtime. It will keep it active, and you will not need to worry about taking it for a walk after you go to bed. At the same time, this is a great habit that is good for its health.
It can be concluded that sleeping plays a major role in the puppy’s life. It helps it grow beautifully and develop mentally. As a result, it is up to you to help it feel loved and a part of your family. Though not all pet lovers are eager to share the bedroom with the puppy, having it as close as possible can prevent anxiety and the dog will feel confident and trust you.
If you’re still new to having a puppy, be sure to check out our wonderful article on how to take care of a puppy.
It is also advisable to follow a daily routine and to focus on a good night sleep rather than on naps. All puppies are active and curious, no matter the breed, so remember that the space designated for them must be clear of objects or substances that could harm the little ones.