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“Help! My puppy won’t sleep at night” is what I hear from new puppy parents.
Having a new puppy is exciting and he’s soooo cute! But all that cuteness doesn’t help you cope if you don’t get any sleep at night!
My Mini Poodle Baloo was so hyper that he never settled down by himself! Never!
So, I had to become creative and figure out what makes him calm down. Over time, I luckily found a few ways that helped a ton and so I finally got some sleep myself again!
If all of that sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. In this article we’ll go over why your puppy isn’t sleeping at night and what you can do about it.
Why Isn’t My Puppy Sleeping at Night?
Trying to get your puppy to settle down for bed when all he wants to do is run around and play can be frustrating. If you’re struggling to get your puppy to sleep at night, you’ve come to the right place!
There are ways you can help your puppy sleep soundly at night. But first, we need to look at the reasons why your puppy won’t sleep!
He Doesn’t Have a Good Bedtime Routine
Dogs tend to thrive when they have routine. Routines and schedules let puppies and dogs know what to expect and when.
This makes it way easier at bedtime to fall asleep. As soon as you start performing your bedtime routine with your puppy, your puppy will know that it’s time to settle down for bed.
Speaking of routine, that’s one of the main things that helped me get my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo to calm down. If you’d like to achieve the same, download my free guide for a calm dog.
Not Enough Exercise During the Day
Puppies tend to sleep a lot because their little brains and bodies need that sleep to develop properly. But it’s still important to give your puppy his exercise!
The amount of exercise your puppy needs will vary depending on his age, breed, and overall health. Unfortunately, there’s no magic number to go by as for the number of minutes or hours you should be exercising your puppy daily.
The general rule of thumb, however, is that you should exercise your puppy for 5 minutes per month of age (e.g. 15 minutes for a 3-month old puppy) up to three times a day.
Yes, it’s confusing!
Just like not exercising your puppy enough, overstimulating him can keep him from falling asleep at night. Puppies are a lot like human babies that way. You may have seen a toddler throwing a sleepy tantrum because he’s overtired. Your puppy might be doing the same thing!
It can be hard to tell the difference between an overstimulated puppy and an under-stimulated puppy. If you’re wondering if your puppy is a little overtired, here are 10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it.
How Can I Get My Puppy to Sleep at Night?
Now that we know why your puppy isn’t sleeping, let’s go over what you can do about it!
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Since we know that having a bedtime routine is important for your puppy, it’s important to establish one! You’ll find plenty of example schedules online that could help you and your puppy. But don’t worry if those schedules don’t work for you.
It might take some trial and error, but you’ll find the best schedule for you and your puppy. And once you find a routine that works, make sure you stick with it!
Don’t forget to download my free guide for a calm dog to see an example routine:
Use a Crate
Many people consider crate training to be cruel, but crates use one of your dog’s natural instincts to find small, secure places where they can hide and rest. That’s what makes crates so useful!
Having a crate means that your puppy has a designated place to sleep. As your puppy gets used to his crate, he’ll begin understanding that crate time means time to settle down.
So, what’s a good crate training schedule for a puppy? Your schedule may look different from another puppy owner’s, but looking at examples of crate training schedules is a great place to start.
Here are a few more articles about crate training:
- How to crate train a dog easily in 13 steps
- 6 best crates for dogs to sleep in
- 11 tips to stop a puppy from peeing in the crate
- 7 tips to stop your dog from whining in the crate
- How to crate train a dog with separation anxiety
Cover the Crate
Okay, so you’re already crate training your dog but he still refuses to get any shut eye during the night. What can you do?
One thing that might help your puppy is covering his crate with a sheet or blanket. This could be especially helpful if you’re using a wire crate instead of a hard plastic or soft crate.
Your puppy might not want to sleep because the room is too bright, or because he can see all the fun things there are to do outside his crate! Covering the crate and making it dark will help encourage him to fall asleep.
Only Do Calm Activities in the Evening
The last thing you want to do before bedtime is rile your puppy up. Instead, try doing some calming activities with your dog to help him settle down for bed.
Setting some time aside for cuddling is a great relaxing activity that helps your dog settle down while also strengthening your bond.
Provide the Right Amount of Exercise
Making sure your puppy doesn’t get too much exercise is just as important as making sure that he gets enough. Over-exercising your puppy can leave your puppy overstimulated and unable to settle down.
But over-exercising can also affect your puppy physically! Getting too much exercise before your puppy’s growth plates fuse can severely damage their growth, and may even cause disabilities!
At the same time, not giving your puppy enough exercise could lead to destructive behavior and other problems. You can use the general rule of thumb mentioned above.
But the best thing to do is ask your vet to recommend how much exercise your puppy should have based on his age and breed, and overall health.
Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!
Go Potty Right Before It’s Bedtime
One of the things that probably isn’t helping your dog fall asleep is if he needs to go outside! Depending on how old your puppy is, you can expect to make at least a few bathroom breaks during the night.
But heading outside for a potty break right before putting your dog to bed will help reduce the amount of times you’ll need to go outside during the night.
You should also remember to take away his food and water about an hour or so before bedtime. This will keep him from filling his tummy and bladder and needing to go outside more frequently.
Play Some Relaxing Music or White Noise
Some dogs have trouble settling down in the quiet. Having ambient noise could be helpful for those dogs! You don’t want to play anything too energetic or loud, especially if your puppy is sleeping in your room with you. But relaxing music and white noise can be really helpful for getting a dog to settle down.
There’s plenty of music and white noise specifically for dogs online! A quick search for “dog music” on YouTube will bring up a bunch of results to choose from.
When Should My Puppy Be Able to Sleep Through the Night?
Every puppy is different, and some puppies are able to sleep through the night sooner than others. Most puppies can sleep through the night completely by the time they’re 4 months old. Your puppy may be able to sleep the whole night a little sooner or a little later. It depends on your puppy!
Crate training your puppy and establishing a routine will help your puppy sleep through the night. And if your puppy is one that struggles with sleeping through the night, just be patient! With time and consistency, your puppy will start understanding that nighttime is for resting.
How Do I Get a Puppy to Stop Whining at Night?
If you’re wondering, “why is my puppy whining and crying?” especially at night, there are a few reasons why that may be.
The first, of course, is that he’s upset that it’s bedtime and that he doesn’t get to keep playing. In this case, the best thing to do is have a routine and work on consistent crate training.
Your puppy may also be crying because he needs to go outside. When you’re still potty and sleep training your dog, it’s important to be the one to wake your puppy up for potty time, and not the other way around. Set your alarm for when your puppy will need his bathroom breaks, and don’t let his whining be what wakes you up.
You should also be mindful to reward your puppy with treats when he’s being quiet during the day. This will help him understand that he gets good things and attention when he’s settled and quiet, and not when he’s whining and crying.
My Puppy Doesn’t Sleep During the Day
Some puppies are good at self-regulating their sleep. You’ve probably heard stories of puppies passing out in the middle of playtime! So why doesn’t your puppy do that?
Well, your puppy probably just doesn’t know how to settle himself down and needs your help. Puppies should average about 16 – 20 hours of sleep every day. This is where having a good crating training schedule for a puppy comes in handy!
You love your puppy so much, and he’s so cute he just makes you melt! Until bedtime, that is… Then he turns into a little, sleepless monster who refuses to let you have any rest either!
If that sounds like your puppy, you’re not the only one! Some puppies struggle with bedtime, and your puppy might just need your help to learn how to settle down and relax. The above tips, like crate training, playing relaxing sounds, and making sure not to over or under exercise your dog will all help you out.
Just remember to stay consistent, patient, and positive. It might seem like you’re never going to get any rest ever again, but with time, your puppy will start letting you sleep again!
Struggling with your puppy's hyper behavior? I offer private 1:1 online coaching to help you with your puppy's behavioral problems (biting, crate training struggles, crying, barking, separation anxiety, daily schedule etc.). Schedule a free 15-minute video Zoom call to get started!
Please note that I'm not a professional dog trainer. Everything I know is from my own experience with my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo and hundreds of hours of research.