If your puppy seems nocturnal, you're most likely not a happy camper. Puppies need about 18 hours of sleep a day. Forcing your furry pal to stay up during the day in the hopes he'll sleep at night is asking for trouble, because just like a tired child he can get overstimulated and agitated and throw a tantrum. To help your puppy establish a healthy sleep schedule, find out what's triggering his erratic sleep pattern and take steps to adjust it.
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If your puppy is wide awake when it's time to go to bed, tire him out. Rather than letting your puppy nap in the evening right before bedtime rolls around, keep him busy so that when it's time to go to sleep, he'll be good and tired. Play with him, take him for a long walk outside or invite friends over to keep him busy. He'll burn pent-up energy that he might otherwise use to keep
you up at night.
If you feed your puppy and give him water right before putting him in his crate, your furry pal will most likely have to go potty shortly after. Instead, don't give him food or water within three hours before bedtime. Right before bedtime, take him to his designated potty area so he can relieve himself and is more likely to sleep through the night or at least for about five hours straight.
Being in a new environment can trigger your pet companion to whine and call out for his mother and siblings at night. Having him sleep in a crate on the floor in your bedroom is your best bet for getting a good night's sleep. Your presence is comforting to him and strengthens your bond. A warm-water bottle wrapped in a towel and placed it in the crate can resemble the warmth of his littermates and might also help him sleep better.
Establishing a daytime routine that includes regular meals, playtime and naps is essential to raising a healthy, happy puppy, and also promotes the housebreaking process. Avoid waking your puppy up when he's sleeping or keeping him up when he's tired. He should be able to sleep uninterrupted at regular intervals throughout the day. This also helps you to know when you can expect him to be awake and alert for training and meet-and-greet with your friends.
By Kimberly Caines
First Class Puppy; Beth Mattei-Miller
The Housebreaking Bible: Surviving the Night with Your New Puppy
Cesar's Way: Problem: Dog Won't Sleep Through the Night
Bring Me Home! Dogs Make Great Pets; Margaret H. Bonham
Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month; Debra Eldredge and Liz Palika
About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.