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Is your puppy overtired but won’t sleep?
You’re definitely not the only one!
The funny thing about overtired puppies – and overtired toddlers alike – is that the last thing they want to do is sleep! The get so amped up and overstimulated because of the lack of sleep that they aren’t able to settle down by themselves. That’s why they need your help in this situation.
I’m pretty sure my Mini Poodle Baloo was overtired on a regular basis as a puppy. He was so hyper all the time which made me think he needs more stimulation. In reality, he probably just didn’t know how to settle down and was totally overwhelmed by all the action.
So, in this article we’ll first look at what an overtired puppy looks like. And then you’ll get some quick and easy tips to help your pup calm down and get the rest he needs!
What Happens When Puppies Get Overtired?
Puppies are super cute and make wonderful companions. But it’s definitely frustrating when your puppy gets overtired—for both you and your puppy!
The confusing thing about overtired puppies is that they have a lot of the same symptoms as puppies who are under-stimulated. Luckily, there are some differences between the two problems.
Here’s what happens when puppies get overtired. If you’re looking for more signs, here are 10 overtired puppy symptoms.
Throwing Puppy Tantrums
It’s what every parent dreads, whether you’re the parent of a human baby or a furbaby. Tantrums are never fun, and can be really challenging.
So what exactly is a puppy tantrum?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Your puppy is unhappy with the way things are going, and is throwing a tantrum over it. This usually presents as puppy barking, refusing to listen, and getting into things he knows he shouldn’t.
It’s a lot like human toddlers throwing a tantrum. And just like when toddlers throw tantrums, the important thing is not to give in to your puppy. That only teaches him that throwing tantrums is how he can get what he wants!
Overtired Puppy Biting
Puppy biting is annoying at the best of times. Who knew something so small and adorable could have teeth so sharp!
If your puppy is overtired, he might start biting you more than he usually does. Biting is super normal behavior for puppies, since that’s how they learn about the world. But once your puppy gets overtired, he starts losing control of himself, and will bite more often and harder.
There’s no denying that puppy biting is one of the most common complaints and frustrations among puppy owners. If you’d like to learn more about it, here is how to change your little shark into a loving puppy.
Your Puppy Becomes Very Annoying
Again, owning a puppy is a lot like having a human baby in some ways. After all, puppies are baby dogs!
And if you’ve ever seen an overtired human toddler, then you’re probably familiar with how annoying they get if they haven’t slept in a while.
The same is true for your puppy! Your puppy is losing control of himself because he’s so tired, and will start acting out. He might chomp down on you more, or become super vocal.
My Overtired Puppy Won’t Sleep – What Can I Do?
So now that you know what exactly an overtired puppy looks like, here’s what you can do to help yours. Especially if he simply won’t sleep!
Set Up a Regular Schedule
If you don’t already have a routine in place for you and your dog, then now’s the time to implement one. Having a schedule will seriously improve your dog’s life—and yours too!
Dogs do best when they have routine. This is because it helps them know what to expect and when. This will reduce any anxiety your dog feels, and keep him calm.
It will also be really helpful for you! You’ll have a much easier time managing your day once you’ve got your puppy’s schedule in place. You and your puppy will know exactly when it’s time to play, eat, and nap.
A good schedule will also help you make sure your puppy gets enough sleep. Puppies need about 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day, and having a routine will help you make sure he get enough rest!
Having a clear routine is also one of the main things that helped me get Baloo to calm down. If you’d like to have a little calmer furbaby, make sure to download my free guide for a calm dog.
Reduce His Daily Amount of Stimulation
If your dog is getting overtired easily, that means that you probably need to start reducing how much stimulation he gets in a day.
Puppies generally have very short bursts of energy where it seems like they need to be kept busy and entertained. But the problem with that is that activities that are too high-energy make it harder for them to settle down. Also, puppies don’t necessarily understand what they need at any given moment. That’s why you need to help them!
You should definitely make sure your dog is getting in enough exercise. But if your dog is getting overtired and refusing to sleep, try some calmer activities, especially towards the evening. Things like cuddling or going over tricks he already knows can help him settle down.
Crate Train Him
Crates are incredible things! Many people think of crates as cruel or as punishments. But the very opposite is true! It all comes down to you and how you choose to use your dog’s crate.
The important thing is to make sure your puppy only has positive associations with his crate, which you can help him make during the crate training process. Crate training can take a long time, and some dogs tend to catch on quicker than others. But with patience, you can teach your dog that his crate is a comfortable space where he can settle down and relax.
If you’re wondering where to start with crate training, check out this article: What’s a Good Crate Training Schedule for a Puppy?
Ignore the Puppy Craziness
Yes, it’s hard to ignore your puppy when he’s running around like a lunatic and won’t stop chewing on your toes and barking at you. But it’s really important that you do.
A lot of the time, the number one thing your dog is looking for during these moments is attention. This means that when you react to your puppy, even if it’s to tell him to stop, you’re still giving him what he wants. He’ll learn that the best way to get you to pay attention to him is by doing exactly what he’s not supposed to.
So instead, just ignore your dog. Stop playing with him immediately, and don’t say anything to him. If he tries to keep his game going and bites you or barks at you, you can walk away and shut the door behind you.
Once your puppy settles down, you can try putting him to bed for a nap. But make sure you’re not paying him any attention until he’s calm!
Hold Him Still
When puppies get overtired, they have a hard time understanding their own bodies. It might seem weird, but holding your puppy completely still can help your puppy start to come back to his body and relax.
The best way to hold him is by getting behind him. Put one hand on his chest to hold him, and take his collar gently in the other to prevent him nipping you. Then just hold him steady until he calms down. It usually takes a minute or two for dogs to start settling down with this trick.
Give Him Something to Chew or Lick Before Nap Time
Chewing and licking things is a great way to help a dog settle down before bed time. Dogs are mouth-based creatures, so giving them something to do with their mouths keeps them busy. At the same time, this is also a low-energy activity.
Chewing and licking also makes your puppy’s brain produce a hormone called serotonin. This hormone is responsible for making you feel calm, relaxed and happy, which will help your dog get ready for bed.
If you need something super long-lasting, Kong toys are amazing investments. Try filling one up with treats and peanut butter and then freezing it. That will keep your dog’s mouth, nose, and brain busy for a while!
Take His Toys Away
A lot of puppies will try to get you to play with them when they’re super overtired. And one of the ways they might try to do this is by grabbing a toy!
Even if your dog is spending some time playing by himself with a toy, that’s still ramping his energy up. Which, of course, is the last thing you want in this situation!
The best thing to do is to make sure he doesn’t have access to his toys in the first place. Put them somewhere out of reach so he can’t get to them and has no option but to settle down.
Turn on Some Quiet Music or White Noise
Just like it does for humans, throwing on some soothing, relaxing music or some white noise can help dogs settle down for the night!
White noise can drown out other sounds that might distract your dog while also being very calming. It’s also super easy to find some!
You can search “white noise for dogs” on YouTube and find plenty of results. And the best part about quiet, calming music and white noise is that they might help you sleep too!
Puppies are so cute and make such great family members. At least, they do until they start getting overtired and begin acting out!
If you and your puppy struggle with overstimulation and with being overtired, don’t give up. There are ways you can help your puppy and yourself get some rest.
The best thing is to be proactive. This means having a schedule in place, crate training your puppy, and making sure that he isn’t getting overstimulated throughout the day. Ignoring him when he’s acting out and taking his toys away will also help.
And don’t worry—this behavior won’t last forever! With your help, your little puppy will learn how to stay calm and rest easier. He just needs you to guide him!
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.