The first days and weeks of owning your puppy are one of the most exciting and joyful experiences; however, the prospect of sleepless nights can be quite the opposite. With the right approach, you can give yourself and your puppy the best chance of sleeping well. Crate training is one of the most essential parts of puppy training, especially at night. In this article, we’ll share our top tips on how to make this as easy as possible.
Tip 1: Make the Crate Your Puppy’s Very Own Happy Place
The crate may be a new and unfamiliar space. Introducing the crate gradually and positively is crucial. We recommend allowing your puppy to explore the crate at their own pace. You can place treats or their favourite toys inside to encourage them to enter willingly. Avoid forcing them in, as this could create a negative experience for them.
When your puppy is willingly entering or spending time in the crate, it is vital to get them used to the door being closed. You can do this by gradually increasing the time the door is closed and rewarding for being calm. If they try to exit the crate when closing the door, do not force them inside, as this will make them feel trapped. Instead, let them out and start from the beginning again.
Tip 2: Wear Out Your Puppy During the Day
Puppies are bundles of energy, so having plenty of playtime during the day is vital. Short walks and play sessions will help your puppy release that built-up energy. We recommend some mental and physical stimulation an hour or two before bed. It is also essential to allow time for your pup to de-compress (calm down) before bedtime, as they most likely won’t feel tired right away.
Tip 3: Crate Your Puppy in Your Bedroom at Night Time
The first few nights can be very unsettling for your puppy. They are now in a strange new environment without their litter and mother. Making them feel safe is vital to feel comfortable enough to sleep. Placing the crate in your bedroom at night is reassuring for your pup and allows you to keep on top of toilet trips during the night.
Tip 4: Create a Cosy Den with a Blanket Over Their Crate
Placing a light blanket or cover over the crate at night creates a warm and secure environment, mimicking the feeling of a den. A cosy atmosphere will help soothe your pup and promote a restful night’s sleep. Also, this is great for blocking visual stimuli and sounds that may disturb or wake your puppy during the night. Ensure the blanket is breathable and allows for adequate airflow.
Tip 5: Limit Food and Water Before Bed
Limiting your puppy’s food and water an hour or two before bedtime is essential to avoid multiple late-night bathroom trips. Reducing the times they will likely need to go to the potty during the night allows you both to get as much sleep as possible. We find the best time for this is just after their bedtime play session, as most puppies usually need to go to the toilet after exercise. Please remember that most puppies will still need at least one toilet trip during the night for the first few weeks of puppyhood.
Tip 6: Stay Patient and Consistent
Crate training your puppy at night may require a lot of patience and consistency, but with our helpful tips, you can create a happy and successful experience for your pup. Remember to be gentle and understanding during the process, as your puppy is still adjusting to their new environment. With time and love, your puppy will view their crate as a safe place and happily settle down for a peaceful night’s sleep. Good night!
Tip 7: Don’t Give In to The Crying
At first, your puppy will probably cry or whine when placed into the crate at night. As long as your pup has recently been to the toilet, it is most likely a reaction to being alone and confined. The best thing to do is to not give in to the crying and give the puppy chance to calm down. If you give in, they will associate crying with getting attention, which is never good. If the crying is persistent, wait for a break in the crying and open the pen and give them a toy to occupy themselves and try again when they have calmed.