You’ve had a long day and the last thing you want is to wake up throughout the night to a fussy dog.
It may seem counterintuitive that your canine companion doesn’t care for sleep, especially after a long day. But dogs are simple to please: a full belly, cozy bed, and loving home are usually enough for a good night’s sleep. However, if your dog receives tender loving care but still struggles to get some rest, there may be deeper issues at play.
Whether your dog is new to the home or king of the castle, these tried-and-true tips will help you both get some shuteye.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
The number one cause for a restless dog at night? Excess energy from a lack of exercise. Engaging your dog mentally and physically throughout the day is important to burn off all the extra excitement.
- Do engage your pup’s active body and mind with activities, games, and exercises throughout the day. Not only will these expend his energy; it’s also a great way to bond.
- Do engage in activity at least a few hours before bedtime. Even a trip to the park or a long walk can be enough to blow off the extra energy.
- Don’t exercise or play right before bedtime, or he may be too hyper to rest.
Crate Train Your Dog
You love your dog and want him to feel at home, but too much access to the house can pique curiosity, or induce anxiety at night. Confining your dog to his own space with a soft bed may help ease his mind.
- Do make going into the crate a positive experience by smiling, using a reassuring tone of voice, and tossing a toy or treat inside.
- Don’t make bedtime in the crate a punishment. You want to associate it with comfort to ease your pup’s mind.
- Do praise your dog when he rests inside. Bid “good night” and leave him alone. You are not punishing your dog, but establishing routine.
Fill the Belly, Empty the Bladder
If your dog has had too much to eat or drink or not enough, he might be too full; too hungry; or in need of bladder relief. Get your dog ready for bed by feeding and relieving him at the right times.
- Do monitor mealtime. You may be feeding your dog too much, or not enough. Try feeding him a little before bedtime to satisfy a hungry stomach.
- Don’t encourage your dog to drink too much water right before bedtime, especially if he’s a heavy drinker. Filling his bowl with ice cubes will give your dog something to crunch on while staying hydrated, too.
- Do take your dog to the bathroom as late as you can before bedtime. Just make sure not to get sucked into playing!
Make Bedtime Comfortable
As the seasons change, temperatures can rise and fall, leaving your dog uncomfortable at night. Just a few alterations in sleeping arrangements could be your golden ticket to a good night’s rest.
- Do give your dog a treat, or something to chew on, in the spot he likes to rest at night. The treat will create a positive association with that spot while a chew toy will calm him down.
- Do test ambient factors to see if they are affecting your dog’s sleep. Try turning on the lights, keeping a radio on, or providing cool and warm areas to provide comfort.
- Don’t give into whining after you’ve taken your dog to the bathroom. He may just be looking for extra playtime with you, but it’s your goal to establish routine.
Set Ground Rules
- Do practice crate training throughout the day and at night, making it a positive experience. Set the crate close to your bed so you can reach down to reassure him you’re near.
- Don’t cave in and let him on the bed during this time, or it will reinforce his bad habit of whining.
- Do gradually move the crate farther and farther away from your bed until he’s used to sleeping without you. If he objects, provide a shirt with your scent for comfort.
Training your dog to sleep through the night can be a taxing, but necessary process. With these tips, you are on your way to a better night’s rest—for you and your dog, too.