Puppy sleep training will get your newest family member on a regular sleep schedule that will save your sanity and give your puppy the stability she needs. Dogs thrive on routine, especially when separated from their mother and litter mates and dropped into a new environment where they don't know what to expect. Your pup will appreciate consistency. Prepare your pup for a sound night of sleep by adhering to a simple crate training schedule throughout the day. As part of this routine, choose a bedtime that allows both you and your cuddly new friend to get some rest.
What Time Should I Put My Puppy to Bed?
Start the day right
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 15 to 30 minutes before taking her back outside until she relieves herself again. Play with her for 15 to 30 minutes, then crate her again before you leave for work.
Afternoon breaks are crucial
Your new puppy, depending on her age and size, will only be able to hold it for two to four 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.
An evening romp makes for a smoother puppy bedtime
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 you can easily wipe it 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.
Get ready for bed
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 two to four hours, even at night, for the first few weeks. You shouldn't expect your puppy to sleep through the night until he is about 16 weeks old.
Think hard before giving in
It's easy to devise a plan for crate training your puppy and getting her on a set daytime routine and sleep schedule. It's also easy to look at that adorable face and give in, letting your new addition get away with sleeping in your bed or skipping some crate time. Think hard before breaking your rules, however. Breaking or changing an established routine can prove difficult, so it's best to avoid bad habits. A puppy may fit on your bed now, but do you really want to share sleeping space with her when she's bigger? If you don't, keep her off your bed now rather than changing the rules on her later. Think hard about what you want life with your new dog to be like and set her up for training success by sticking to your guns now.