Putting your puppy on a regular sleep schedule will not only save your sanity -- dogs thrive on routine and your pup will appreciate the consistency. Prepare your pup for a sound night of sleep by adhering to a simple crate training schedule throughout the day. You'll be able to choose a bedtime that allows both you and your cuddly new friend to get some rest.
Start your puppy's day about 15 hours before you'd like her to go to bed. For example, plan to get up at 7:00 a.m. for a 10:00 p.m. bedtime. Take your pup out of her crate and immediately take her outside to relieve herself. Offer lots of praise and a couple of treats when she does. Give puppy her breakfast and plenty of water, then let her rest in her crate for 30 minutes. Then take her back outside until she relieves herself again. Play with her for 15-30 minutes, then crate her again before you leave for work.
Your new puppy, depending on her age and size, will only be able to hold it for 2-4 hours at a time. When you come home to relieve her, take your pup outside immediately and praise her when she potties. Play for a little while, then take her inside to provide food and water. Let her rest in her crate again for about 30 minutes, then take her outside again before crating her when you return to work.
In the evening, follow the same routine you did in the morning and afternoon. Once your puppy has relieved herself after eating, play with her in a puppy-proofed area. The kitchen, gated-off from the rest of the house, is an ideal playroom because it can easily be wiped clean in case of accidents. Don't allow your pup to nap in the evening -- you'll want to make sure she's very tired and happy to go to bed later on. Bring your pup outside every 30 minutes or so, in case she has to relieve herself.
An hour before bedtime, remove your puppy's water to ensure her tiny bladder stays empty. Take her outside right before bed, but don't encourage any play. Now is the time to wind down for the night. Keep your pup's crate in your bedroom -- small puppies should not be completely separated from their "pack" while they sleep. Offer puppy a treat when she enters the crate, and close the door. She may cry for a few minutes, but if you let her be, she'll settle down soon. Remember that your little one may need a potty break every 2-4 hours, even at night, for the first few weeks.
By Olivia Kight
About the Author
Olivia Kight is an experienced online and print writer and editor. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012, and has worked on education, family life and counseling publications. She also gained valuable knowledge shadowing a zoo veterinarian and grooming and socialize show dogs, and now spends her time writing and training her spunky young labradoodle, Booker.