11 Ways To Get Your Puppy To Sleep More And Stop Being Cranky

11 Ways To Get Your Puppy To Sleep More And Stop Being Cranky

Welcoming a new puppy into your life is one of the most delightful experiences you can have. Their infectious energy, playful antics, and pure love inject a unique sparkle into your day-to-day activities. However, just like human babies, puppies need plenty of sleep to grow healthily and maintain their sunny dispositions. And when sleep eludes them, their behavior may become less than adorable.

In fact, adequate sleep for your puppy is more than just a rest—it’s a critical aspect of their overall health and behavioral development. Sleeping gives your puppy’s body time to grow and their mind time to process all the new information they’re learning each day, and, most importantly, it helps calibrate their mood – so when it may seem like they have a lot of energy? That may be a false positive. 

But, what do you do if your puppy seems cranky and doesn’t seem to be getting enough sleep? How do you transform those tiresome nights into cozy slumber time? When bedtime turns into a constant battle, it’s easy to feel exhausted and confused. Don’t despair—we are here to help. This comprehensive guide will explore the signs of a sleep-deprived puppy, and most importantly, provide nine effective ways to get your puppy to sleep more and, consequently, reduce crankiness.

My aim? To help you enjoy the blissful peace that comes from a well-rested and content puppy. Keep reading to unlock your path to restoring peaceful nights (and naps) for your adorable canine companion.

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sniffing is a really effective tool for helping your puppy sleep

How Much Sleep Does A Puppy Need?

From 0-6 months – 18-20hrs a day

From 7-12 months – 16-18hrs a day

13+ months – 14-16hrs a day* 
*This said, each dog is an individual and may need more or less (but usually more), e.g. my coonhounds thrive on 17hrs of sleep as adult dogs.  Older dogs or senior dogs will also need more sleep.

When you bring your puppy home, you know your first night is going to be tough, you’re committed to some sleepless nights, because you know as a new puppy owner, that your home isn’t their safe place, and you know that there will be night time house training efforts because puppies have small bladders! 

But ensuring they get that sleep ensures that your puppy will learn, will process, will respond and won’t have huge emotional fluctuations. And we’re not going to 

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That crazy puppy is usually… an overtired puppy

Signs Your Puppy Needs More Sleep

Recognizing the signs of a sleep-deprived puppy can significantly aid in improving their sleep habits and overall wellbeing. Puppies, depending on their age and breed, need approximately 18 to 20 hours of sleep per day. Unfortunately, achieving this can sometimes be a struggle, leading to distinct changes in their behavior and temperament. 

So here are some warning signs;

  1. Bitey-ness or “Aggression”: I say “Aggression” because it’s not really, it’s just overtiredness, but a lot of biting, and a lack of control is commonly percieved this way by humans. 
    Look out for extra rough play, extra bitey puppy, and you may just be looking at an overtired pup.
  2. Hyperactivity or Restlessness: Puppies that don’t get enough sleep will often appear to have excess energy, often “Zoomies“, resulting in hyperactivity or restlessness.
  3. Frequent Yawning or Drooping Eyelids: These are visible signs of fatigue. Just like in humans, puppies yawn when they are tired, and their eyelids might droop due to exhaustion.
  4. Poor Coordination or Clumsiness: Sleep deprivation can affect a puppy’s ability to coordinate their movements properly, leading to increased clumsiness.
  5. Fluctuations in Appetite or Unexplained Weight Loss: Lack of sleep can affect your puppy’s eating habits which can result in weight loss, or over eating.
  6. Excessive Grooming or Licking: This could be a sign that your puppy is trying to soothe themselves to sleep.
  7. Decreased Attention Span, Slow Learning or Difficulty Focusing: Lack of sleep can lead to a reduced capacity to pay attention or concentrate, it also leads to a lack of time to process what they have learned – so it can appear that puppy isn’t learning.

If your puppy exhibits any of these signs, it is essential to address the underlying sleep issues to ensure their long-term health and happiness. The upcoming section will provide helpful tips on how to improve your puppy’s sleep and reduce crankiness.

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good dogs need way more than just exercise.

The 9 Ways to Get Your Puppy to Sleep More and Prevent Crankiness

Creating a serene and sleep-conducive environment for your puppy can be a game-changer for both their mood and behavior. Here’s how you can help your little furry friend drift off to dreamland more easily and maintain a sunny disposition:

  1. Establish a Daily Routine: Just like human children, puppies thrive on routine. Set a regular schedule for meals, potty breaks, playtime, and bedtime. Puppies are creatures of habit, and a consistent routine will signal to their body when it’s time to wind down for sleep. Your puppy’s sleep schedule can be executed with your puppy’s crate (if you need help with crate training, go check this out), or on your sofa, wherever your puppy might settle into a good, deep sleep – this is why some pet parents prioritse the dog crate (though, you don’t necessarily need to close the door) or a play pen! Establishing these specific times where you let your dog sleep,
  2. Balanced Amount of Exercise: Provide your puppy with sufficient physical activity during the day. Puppy-appropriate exercise like short walks or play sessions can help burn off energy, making them more inclined to sleep. Be careful not to overdo it, though, since an over-tired puppy can be just as cranky.
  3. Feed a Quality Diet: Nutrition plays a vital role in a puppy’s life, not only for growth and health but also for sleep quality. A well-balanced diet will ensure that your puppy isn’t kept awake by hunger or an upset stomach. Consult with a vet to establish the best feeding schedule and diet for your dog’s breed and size.
  4. Create a Good Environment for Sleep: A quiet, cozy, and comfortable sleeping area is essential. Make sure the bed and the room are kept at a comfortable temperature and are away from noisy or high-traffic parts of the home. Some puppies may also sleep better with a blanket over their crate to create a ‘den-like’ environment.
  5. Using Sniffing and Chews to Encourage Sleep: Mental stimulation can be just as tiring as physical exercise. Offer a long-lasting chew, chew toy or a treat-dispensing toy in the evening to help your puppy settle down. The act of sniffing and chewing can be incredibly soothing and conducive to sleep.
  6. Work Their Brain: Engage your puppy in brain games and training exercises that challenge them mentally. Use short, fun, and positive training sessions to tire out their minds. Puppies will sleep better after problem-solving activities as it helps them burn mental energy.
  7. Don’t Rush Separation Training: If your puppy struggles with separation anxiety at bedtime, take your time with crate or space separation training. This process needs to be done gradually and kindly to prevent anxiety, which might lead to loss of sleep.
  8. Manage Your Tone: Puppies are sensitive to the tone of your voice. Use a calm and soothing tone as bedtime approaches to reinforce the idea that it’s time to wind down. Avoid exciting your puppy with a playful or energetic voice which could stimulate them instead of calming them.
  9. Reward Calmness: During the day, acknowledge and reward moments when your puppy is calm and relaxed. This will encourage them to practice self-settling and calmness, which is beneficial when it’s bedtime.
  10. Avoid Over-playing: While playtime is crucial for a puppy’s development, too much stimulation before bed can make it hard for them to settle down. Aim to have more tranquil activities as you approach their bedtime to help them relax.
  11. Great a bedtime routine – haha, gosh it feels like your puppy is a baby now, huh? But it benefits young puppies just as much as adult dogs, and humans. Ask them if they want to go to their dog bed, walk there with them, reward them for doing it, say goodnight, and call it done. 

By implementing these tips, you can help ensure your puppy gets enough rest and grows into a well-adjusted, well-rested dog. Remember that patience and consistency are key—over time, these strategies can make a significant difference in your puppy’s sleep habits and overall temperament.

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Play is awesome, just needed in appropriate doses!

Remember: Don’t Be Tempted 

Don’t be tempted to give your puppy less sleep during the day to make them sleep at night. 

I know, I know, you’re tired, but this is one of the areas where dogs and kids differ. You will need to get up in the middle of the night, but you can start slowly shifting it, 5-10 minutes a night. That much time shouldn’t be noticeable for puppy, and slowly, you’ll shift the sleep times and pattern to be something you find more comfortable. More sleep, appropriate sleep in a cozy bed will really help a young dog and the benefits really outweigh the negatives – I promise. 

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Puppy Biting Solution

Little Book Of Puppy Biting

The little book of puppy biting is Ali’s guide to how to stop your puppy from biting – because we all know how tough it is! 

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Enrichment guide

How To Kong

Kong’s are confusing, huh? They’re great tools, but they’re also really useful for stimulating your puppy’s brain – you just have to do it right.

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When to Consult a Vet

Adequate sleep is fundamental to a puppy’s health, and persistent sleep disruptions should not be ignored. If your puppy continues to display signs of distress at bedtime, sudden changes in sleeping patterns, lethargy during the day, or excessive night-time activity, it may be time to consult a veterinarian. Additional concerning symptoms include indications of illness, loss of appetite, discomfort, and anxiety or behavioral changes that affect sleep.

Veterinarians are invaluable resources in identifying causes and recommending treatment options tailored to your puppy’s needs. Prompt intervention can address underlying issues that may be causing sleep disturbances. Do not hesitate to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your puppy’s sleep, as proper sleep is critical for their overall health and wellbeing.

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Kongs and enrichment toys are a wonderful choice for stimulating your puppy’s brains

The Goal Is Self-Regulation

Teaching self-regulation, the ability to independently control emotions, behaviors, and impulses, is a significant goal in training puppies for better sleep and behavior. It’s a challenging task requiring consistent efforts, as it involves emotional, physical, and mental development. Puppies, driven by instincts and natural curiosity, need time, patience, and a balanced environment to practice and learn these skills. Hence, encouraging self-regulation is imperative for a harmonious and rewarding human-canine relationship, even though it’s a challenging process for both humans and dogs alike.

A Tired Dog Isn’t Always A Good Dog

A balance of sleep, mental activity, learning and physical activity will result in a better night’s sleep for your young puppy. Recognizing and addressing the signs of a sleep-deprived puppy can significantly improve their overall health and temperament. It’s vital to establish routines, provide balanced exercise and mental stimulation, create a cozy sleep environment, and maintain diet quality for your puppy’s optimal growth and development. But, even with the most dedicated efforts, do not hesitate to seek professional help if any sleeping issues persist. A good night’s sleep is essential for your puppy’s wellbeing and can ensure that they grow into a healthy and well-adjusted dog. By implementing these strategies, you’re not only assisting your puppy’s development but also building a strong foundation for a lifelong companionship filled with joy and healthy habits.

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Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a professional, qualified, and multi-award winning trainer is the founder of rebarkable. She has always believed animals deserve kindness and champions force free methods. Believing that dog guardians will all choose the kindest options if proper information is provided, she aims to help all dog guardians who need it and make dog training as accessible as possible

Ali lives win Maryland, US with her husband and her three dogs.

 

Welcoming a new puppy into your life is one of the most delightful experiences you can have. Their infectious energy, playful antics, and pure love inject a unique sparkle into your day-to-day activities. However, just like human babies, puppies need plenty of sleep to grow healthily and maintain their sunny dispositions. And when sleep eludes…

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