If you have brought home a new puppy, then your system may be in shock. Who would have thought that a puppy is so similar to a human baby? Well, puppies are a lot of work, but they do grow up. It’s important that you teach them proper nighttime behavior from the beginning. Realize that it won’t be easy at first, but teaching them the importance of sleep now is much easier than trying to get them to go to sleep later.
As an owner of a puppy, there is one thing that you must not do: don’t get angry! A puppy is similar to a human baby; he does not have control over his body (including his bladder), and he has to learn what you want from him. By getting angry, you may only make the pup fearful and less reluctant to respect and learn from you. If you teach your pet early on how to behave at night, then he will learn as he grows older.
The best thing you can do to start is to put your puppy on a feeding schedule and stick to it. After a few days on a schedule, you will be able to better predict when your pup will need to do his business. It is not recommended that you give your pet food or water late at night, because it may keep him up longer. If you stop the food and water around, let’s say, 7:00 pm, then you may be able to take your pup outside before bedtime. Even if you can’t predict when he’ll go, you should still take him outside before placing him in his crate.
Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise during the day. When you get home from work, take him outside to play a game of fetch or go for a jog around the yard. Exercise will help calm him down. If your puppy is overly rambunctious right before bed time, then play with him enough to get rid of the energy, but don’t play so much that you build extra energy. For instance, instead of playing fetch or wrestling with the pooch, give him a treat-filled toy to keep him occupied.
As it gets closer to bedtime, then you need to start winding things down with your pet. You may want to put him in your lap and brush him or pet him. Take him out one more time, and then take him to his crate. Some owners recommend covering the pet’s crate with a blanket when it is time for bed. If started early on, the blanket is a signal to the puppy to go to sleep. Be careful with the blanket: you don’t want to introduce it out of nowhere and frighten the puppy!
When your puppy is young, waking you up in the middle of the night is inevitable. Instead of listening to him cry after he is forced to sleep in his own urine, take him out when he first asks. Don’t make a big fuss over him. Simply take him straight outside. Give him a chance to do his business. Then, take him directly back to his crate. If you take time to play with him and pet him, then he’ll realize that he can wake you up for attention, making him more likely to cry throughout the night. If within a few hours later he starts to cry again, then realize that he may need to go again. Your puppy has a small bladder, so it’s not impossible for him to have to urinate every few hours. However, if he is crying within an hour, then he’s probably just looking for attention.
As your puppy grows older, he will be able to hold his urine in for a longer period of time. It is still necessary that you take him out when he needs to go, especially after he wakes up. If your pup wakes you up early in the morning and you decide to go ahead and get up with him, then don’t betray your set schedule. If it’s two hours before breakfast, then wait two hours to feed him. Just like midnight cuddling, your pooch will learn that all he has to do is wake you up when he wants to eat.
Don’t worry: with a little patience and practice, your sleepless nights will soon be over. A puppy is much like a human baby, and should be treated as such. If he needs to do his business in the middle of the night, then let him. But, do not turn midnight trips into playtimes or feeding times; they should be strictly business. As your pooch grows older he will learn and be able to sleep through the night, making you one happy owner.