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Oh boy, I remember those puppy days so well when my Mini Poodle Baloo seemed to be particularly hyper when it was actually bedtime.
Not that there was any time during the day when he was actually calm – he seemed to have energy for 3 – but at night, he actually turned it up once more.
If that sounds familiar, you’re probably wondering how to calm a puppy down for bed.
I was wondering the exact same thing a few years ago. And it took me month or years of trying different things until I finally found out what works best.
So, here are all my tips and tricks to help you calm your puppy down for bed.
Why Is My Puppy So Hyper at Night?
You’re ready to settle down for the night and go to sleep, but your puppy has other plans. For some reason, he won’t stop yapping and racing all over the house!
If you’re struggling to get your puppy to relax enough to go to bed, don’t worry. You’re not the only puppy owner with this problem! There are ways you can help your puppy, but the first thing to do is figure out why your dog is so hyper at night.
He Doesn’t Have a Daily Routine
Dogs thrive when they have a routine. Not only can a routine help reduce feelings of anxiety in dogs, it will also help your puppy understand when it’s time to play, and when it’s time to relax.
If your puppy doesn’t have a routine in place, he’ll never know what to expect and when to expect it. That means that when it’s bedtime, as far as your puppy is concerned, it could still be playtime!
Speaking of routine, that’s generally one of the most important aspects for a calm dog. Download my free guide for a calm dog to learn what else has helped me get Baloo from extra hyper to a calm and loving pup.
He Didn’t Get Enough Exercise
Puppies need a lot of sleep while their little brains and bodies are still developing. Once they’re awake, however, you might be surprised by their boundless puppy energy.
When your puppy is awake, it’s important to make sure he’s getting enough exercise! Spending some time playing with him with toys, taking him for walks if he’s gotten his vaccines, having puppy play dates are all good ways to exercise him.
And don’t forget your puppy’s brain! You’ll want to get that little mind moving too. Teaching him tricks, making him work for his food, and checking out these brain games for dogs to play at home are awesome ways to do that.
Being hyper at night can be a sign that your puppy didn’t get enough exercise during the day. But, confusingly, it could also be a sign that he got too much stimulation during his waking hours.
It sounds weird, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t being tired make your puppy want to sleep, instead of speeding around like a maniac?
But think about it like this: puppies are a lot like human babies. And if you’ve ever been around a toddler, you know that sometimes toddlers don’t understand they’re tired, and throw tantrums rather than calmly settling down for bed.
Puppies are the same! They don’t necessarily understand that they’re tired. That’s why they need you to make sure that they’re getting the rest they require.
Unsure if your puppy is hyper because he’s not getting enough exercise, or because he’s getting too much? Here are 10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it.
How to Calm a Puppy Down for Bed
Now that we know the reasons why your puppy is protesting bedtime, here’s what you can do to help!
1. Have a Clear Daily Routine
As we already know, having a daily routine can help your dog know when it’s playtime, and when it’s time to relax. If you don’t already have a daily routine in place, it’s time to set one up.
The best part of having a routine in place won’t just help your puppy. It’ll help you too! You’ll be able to plan your days out much better, and you won’t have to deal with a completely rambunctious puppy.
It will also keep your puppy from getting overtired. Wondering how much sleep your puppy actually needs? Check out my article “How Much Does an 8-Week Old Puppy Sleep?” to learn more.
2. Have a Bedtime Routine
Having a daily routine is important. But it’s equally important to have to have a bedtime routine! As you implement your routine, your puppy will start learning the signs that it’s time to go to sleep.
For instance, our bedtime routine looks something like this: We usually relax on the sofa for at least one hour before we go to bed. I get ready for bed, then I take Baloo out for his bedtime potty. When we get back, he automatically goes to his bed because he already knows it’s time to sleep now. I put up the baby gate in the kitchen and that’s it. No crying, no zoomies, nothing.
All dogs are different, and all people are different, so your bedtime routine might look different from someone else’s. It might take some experimenting to find what works for you and your dog, but with some trial and error you’ll find the routine that works for both of you!
3. Stop Any Action At least One Hour Before It’s Bedtime
Part of getting your puppy to settle down for the night is teaching him that nighttime is the time for quiet relaxing and for sleeping. So you don’t want to be doing anything before bedtime that will get him riled up!
You’ll want to stop anything that’s particularly active at least an hour before you’re putting your puppy to bed. This will tell him that it’s time to settle down, and help get him ready for a peaceful slumber.
4. Do Calm Things Like Cuddling or Giving Him a Massage
Even though bedtime means it’s time to stop engaging with your dog in anything too high-energy, that doesn’t mean you need to ignore him completely!
You should still make sure to spend some quality time with your dog. It just can’t be anything super energetic. Instead, do things that are calm, like cuddling or giving him a little puppy massage to help relax.
5. Give Him Something to Chew or Lick
Chewing and licking things helps your dog feel good and relaxed. Chewing and licking releases serotonin, known as the “feel good hormone”, in your dog’s brain, which helps him feel calm.
For puppies who are teething, having something to chew on can also give them something to relieve the discomfort. So when it’s time for your puppy to wind down for the night, giving him something he can chew or lick on can be super helpful, helping him feel both mentally and physically ready to sleep!
6. Make Sure He Gets the Right Amount of Exercise During the Day
Making sure your puppy gets the right amount of exercise will help prevent behaviors associated with boredom, and overtired symptoms.
If you’re wondering exactly how much exercise your puppy needs, unfortunately there’s no magic number. There are a lot of things you need to consider when it comes to exercising your puppy.
The general rule of thumb many owners go by is that a puppy should have 5 minutes per month of age of activity at a time, 3 times a day. So, for instance a 3-month old puppy should get 3 times 15 minutes of exercise per day.
I wouldn’t go over this threshold, as your puppy will easily get overtired otherwise. Plus, his bones are still soft at that age and too much exercise can be really harmful for him.
If you feel like he needs, better add one or 2 short sessions of mental stimulation.
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
7. Take Away His Food or Water at Least One Hour Before It’s Bedtime
Depending on how old your puppy is, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to wake up to let him outside at least once in the night.
But you can make it a lot easier on yourself by taking away his food and water about an hour before settling down for bed. It’ll stop him from refilling his tummy and bladder, which means you’ll (hopefully) need to bring him outside less frequently during the night.
How Do I Get My Puppy to Sleep Through the Night?
Depending on how old he is, it might just be inevitable, that your puppy is waking up frequently in the night. Puppies have little bladders, and will need to go outside every few hours to relieve themselves during the night.
As your puppy gets older, though, he’ll be able to start sleeping through the night. For more information, check out this article: “Can a 10-Week-Old Puppy Sleep Through the Night?”
How to Calm a Puppy Down from Biting
One of the most annoying things about puppies is how much they bite. It’s no wonder when you think about it—puppies experience a lot of the world through their mouths. It’s like a baby exploring the world by grabbing onto things and sometimes throwing them!
Unfortunately, puppy biting can be painful, and it’s something you’re going to want to curb as quickly as possible. If you have a biter, here is how to deal with overtired puppy biting.
How to Calm a Puppy in a Crate
Crate training is a really useful tool for helping puppies to settle down, and prevent future behavioral problems. But it can be confusing for a puppy at first!
The first step to helping a puppy learn to relax in his crate is to have a schedule. You can learn more in this post: “What’s a Good Crate training Schedule for a Puppy?”
For more general rules, you’ll also want to look at “How to Crate Train a Dog Easily in 13 Steps.”
Having a puppy is such an amazing experience. They’re so cute, and watching them learn about the world is so much fun—not to mention rewarding!
But there are frustrating parts that come with puppy ownership too. For anyone who’s ever dealt with a puppy who refuses to go to bed, you know exactly what I mean! Luckily, there are ways you can help your puppy learn that when it’s bedtime, it’s time to settle down and go to sleep.
P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.
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.