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If you’re a new puppy-parent, you probably feel like your puppy is a super early riser! In case you’re no morning person (I feel you!) then you’re probably wondering: How on earth do I get my puppy to sleep longer?
While puppies naturally wake up with the the first light of the new day, it’s luckily not that difficult to get a puppy to sleep longer. All it needs is some patience and persistence.
But before I can show you how to do that, it’s important to first understand your puppy’s sleeping needs.
How much sleep do puppies need?
So, first of all you need to understand that puppies sleep a lot! I’m talking between 18 and 20 hours for every 24 hours!
However, they spread their sleeping time over the whole day and night. This means it’s also possible that they’re awake for a longer period during the night. This is especially true for dawn and dusk because that’s the main activity time for dogs.
Technically, it’s no problem to make them sleep longer. However, puppies usually sleep in short sessions.
As I’ve explained in my post about the question “how many hours a day should a dog sleep”, dogs sleep in a 2-part cycle. The cycle consists of 16 minutes of sleeping and 5 minutes of waking time. There can be a very long sequence of those sessions after one another. But as you can see, there are always short periods where he’s awake.
And at some point, he’ll get bored and will want something to do.
How long do puppies sleep at night?
This depends a lot on their age and how long they can hold their bladder.
At about 5 or 6 months, most puppies have pretty good bladder control, which means that they should be able to easily sleep through the night.
At this point puppies can sleep up to 9 or 10 hours at night.
Dogs would naturally go to sleep at night when it’s dark and would get up with the first rays of sunlight. If you put him to bed much later, he’ll usually still be awake once it’s getting bright outside. So, in order to make him sleep for 9 to 10 hours, you’ll need some training.
How do I get my puppy to sleep?
Now, before you can learn how to get your puppy to sleep longer, you might be asking yourself: how do I even get my puppy to sleep in the first place?
For hyperactive puppies: use a crate
Well, some puppies are naturally lazier than others. These kinds of dogs will usually sleep and rest whenever they need it.
If you have a hyperactive pup like my Miniature Poodle Baloo, then that’s certainly not the case, though!
For the first few months, Baloo was unable to lie down outside his crate! He was soooo excited the whole time, it was kind of a nightmare.
However, after some initial protest, he always managed to calm down and sleep once he was in his crate.
Luckily, he learned to relax even outside his crate after a while. But that took a few months and at first, he only managed to sleep outside the crate at night. During the day he was still super active, always looking for trouble!
If this sounds familiar, I really highly recommend a crate. I particularly like the ones with a cover, like this one. This sort of creates a comfy den where it’s easier for your pup to relax.
It’s completely normal that he’s not going to fall asleep instantly. Just be persistent, ignore his crying or barking and he’ll calm down soon. Hyperactive puppies are often overtired. So, once you take all the stimuli away, they’ll soon feel how tired they actually are! His crate is really what saved both our sanity.
Make sure he gets the right amount of exercise
Most people would probably answer the question “how do I get my puppy to sleep” by saying: make sure he gets a ton of exercise.
Well, I agree to a certain extent. Exercise certainly makes dogs and puppies tired. So, in order to make a puppy fall asleep, that’s a great idea. Make sure to check out Dogpackr’s article about how to tire out a puppy for inspiration.
However, you have to keep in mind that puppies shouldn’t run around for the whole day. As I’ve mentioned before, puppies sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours per day. Very young puppies need even more sleep.
So, it’s best to calculate an average of 4 or 5 waking hours. That includes: walks, potty breaks, eating, drinking, play time, cuddling on the couch and so on. It definitely doesn’t mean that he needs action during all this time!
A puppy should only walk or play for about 5 minutes per month of age at a time. So, with a 5-month old puppy, you shouldn’t walk or play more for 25 consecutive minutes. Of course, you can make multiple of these sessions throughout the day. But there should always be at least 2 to 3 hours of resting time in between.
Use mental stimulation
What’s really great to make a puppy tired is mental stimulation, though.
Mental stimulation is really exhausting for dogs. This is why you should make even shorter sessions with a puppy. Up until 5 months, I wouldn’t exceed 10 minutes per session. After that you can try extending it slowly to 15 or 20 minutes. More than 20 minutes of intensive mental stimulation is very tough, even for an adult dog.
Observe your puppy closely: as soon as he shows some of the overtired signs, particularly if he’s throwing a puppy tantrum, you know he’s had enough. Don’t exceed that time limit. Otherwise you’ll have to deal with overtired puppy biting and overtired zoomies…
Mental stimulation is everything where your dog needs to use his brain to figure something out. This can be a food puzzle, teaching him a new trick and also scent games. Obedience training is also a great way to mentally stimulate your puppy’s brain.
Here’s a full article on how to mentally stimulate your dog.
With 1 or 2 mental stimulation sessions per day, and 2 or 3 short walks or play sessions, your puppy should be sleeping soundly during the resting hours.
Give them a frozen kong or something to chew
If your puppy struggles to calm down by himself, you can give him something to chew or lick to help him.
Chewing and licking have a soothing effect which will help him to calm down. My 2 favorite ways are to either fill a kong toy with peanut butter or something similar and freeze it. Or to give him a bully stick. Both things will probably keep him occupied until he’s relaxed and tired enough to fall asleep.
Can a 10-week-old puppy sleep through the night?
It depends on how long your night is, but a 10-week old puppy will certainly not have a strong enough bladder, yet, to sleep for 10 hours straight.
I’ve heard of people whose puppy slept for a whole 6 to 8 hours at 10 weeks old. Well, this is possible, but rare. It depends a lot on your dog, some simply have stronger bladder than others. The average is probably around 4 to 5 hours at 10 weeks old.
In my opinion, this is certainly only possible if you use a crate. Dogs naturally don’t want to soil their sleeping place, so if they can’t go to another spot to do their business, it’s easier for them to hold it for longer.
By 16 weeks they should slowly be able to sleep through the night, like 6 to 10 hours.
I’ve got another article taking specifically about how you can get your young puppy to sleep through the night.
How do I get my puppy to sleep longer?
Okay, now that you know how to get your puppy to sleep in general, let’s look at how you get your puppy to sleep longer.
How do I get my puppy to sleep at night?
Now, to get your puppy to sleep at night, you can pretty much apply the same things as I described earlier.
If you feel like your puppy is the most awake when it’s time for bed at night, I highly recommend you set up a routine. Always make the same actions in the same order.
For instance: feed him at 8.30pm, make some mental exercises from 9.00pm to 9.10 pm, go potty at 9.30pm and put him in his crate at 10pm. From then on, ignore him!
If he’s really struggling to fall asleep, then try giving him a frozen kong toy or a bully stick. After all his daily activities and after night has fallen, he’s definitely tired. Just give him some time and don’t give in on any of his crying or whatever else he’s doing to get your attention.
Also make sure it’s dark. If he’s sleeping in your bedroom, it’s best to go to bed at the same tame as you put him in his crate. Otherwise, definitely cover his crate, so that it really feels like nighttime.
How do I get my puppy to sleep longer?
In order to actually get him to sleep longer in the morning, it’s also best to have a routine. If you get up at the same time every day, that’s perfect. This is predictable for your pup, which will make it easier to stay relaxed.
First of all, you need to be sure that he can hold it for the whole night. A good indicator is if he’s interested in other things than straight going potty in the morning. For instance, playing, cuddling, eating, all of these interests mean he’s fine holding it through the whole night.
Most times puppies wake you up early because they want your attention. And they’re masters at observing you!
Puppies will soon understand the signs of when you wake up. Then they’re like: okay, let the day begin! Come on human, I’m so ready!
If that’s the case, it’s best to tell him to go back to bed, turn your back on him and go back to sleep. Or at least pretend to do so.
Most puppies will naturally pick up your routine and will understand pretty quickly at what time you’ll get up. That is if you don’t give in when he’s crying or barking and let him out after that, of course!
If he’s being vocal, it’s best to teach him the quiet command, so that you can use it in these situations. Then turn your back and ignore him!
As I’ve mentioned before, you should only use this technique if you’re sure that it doesn’t mean he has to go potty.
How to get my puppy to sleep in his crate
In order to get your puppy to sleep in his crate, you need to crate train him first. Make it the best, comfiest place where your puppy loves to go by himself. This particularly means to put a comfy dog bed inside, some of his favorite toys and possible a shirt with his littermate’s smell and one with your smell.
Then, only feed him in his crate for a few days and only let him have the best treats and toys when he goes inside.
Here’s a video on how to crate train your puppy:
What to do if your puppy barks or whines in the morning
The best thing for vocal dogs really is to teach them the quiet command. Here’s how you can do that:
Make sure you definitely never let him out of his crate or even feed him or give him anything at all, if he’s crying or barking. In case you feel like he needs to go out, wait for a moment of quietness and then take him out.
Btw, if you’re wondering if puppies grow out of barking, make sure to check out my article on the question “do dogs get tired of barking?“, where I also show you how to stop excessive barking.
In case you’ve got a little cry baby, make sure to check out my article about the question why is my puppy whining and crying?
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.