How to Train Your Puppy to Sleep in a Dog Bed
A new puppy is a lot like a newborn baby, with particularly intense sleep needs. You’re likely to find that your puppy needs help at night, whether they want to eat, go outside, or just need some love and attention. But that can be an issue for your sleep health — especially if you’re struggling to get your puppy to sleep in their bed.
Make Your Puppy’s Bed Comfortable
A comfortable bed is important for puppies. Just like you need a cozy mattress, your puppy needs a place that feels good to get adequate sleep.
Consider mattress type for your puppy. You may want to choose a different mattress depending on their unique needs. Puppies that like to curl up may enjoy a donut bed, or a cushion bed can help larger puppies stretch out as they grow.
Pay attention to temperature. If you’re in a colder climate, look for a more cozy mattress that can offer warmth, and make sure your puppy is warm at night by turning on the heater and/or offering a blanket to sleep with. If you’re in a warm climate, you may want to look for a bed that offers breathability.
Bed placement can make a difference, so look for a location that’s dark, quiet, and free of most distractions. Although some toys may make your puppy’s bed more appealing, too many could keep them up at night if they’re playing instead of sleeping. Putting your puppy’s bed near yours can offer comfort, especially if your dog tends to get lonely at night and crave attention. However, keep in mind that allowing your puppy to sleep in bed with you may be a tough habit to break in the future.
Use Positive Reinforcement to Introduce Your Dog’s Bed
Your puppy should feel comfortable in their bed. It’s their personal space, and it should be a place where they feel safe and able to calm down, rest, and relax. So you want to make sure they associate their bed with positive feelings.
Positive reinforcement can be helpful, especially if you use treats to encourage your puppy. Follow these steps to establish positive reinforcement for your puppy’s bed:
Show them their bed. Call it by name, saying “bed,” “crate,” “sleep,” or another name you prefer. It’s important to use a consistent name so you can use it each time you guide your dog to their bed. That way, they can understand what you’re referring to when you tell them to go to bed. Be sure to reward your puppy with a treat when they get into bed.
Lead your puppy to bed with treats. Show your puppy treats and tell them it’s time to go to bed. Consider offering treats along the way, such as a treat when they start moving toward their bed, then another one when they actually get into bed.
Keep up practice and stay consistent. Training is all about consistency. Remember to keep offering treats and showing them their bed so they understand the association.
Plan Ahead For Good Puppy Sleep
Helping your puppy sleep means more than just offering a comfortable bed and training them to use it. Practice healthy puppy sleep habits, too.
Make sure you’re addressing needs before bed. For example, it’s a good idea to offer a treat as a snack and some snuggles before bed. Give your puppy a chance to go out and relieve themselves before bed, too.
Spend time during the day engaging and playing with your puppy. Make time for exercise, too. All of the stimulation will help wear your puppy out and make it easier to go to sleep at night.
Though you should attend to your puppy’s needs at night, set limits. You don’t need to get up for every whimper, or they’ll never learn how to self soothe. Give them a minute or two before you get up so they have a chance to manage waking up and falling back asleep on their own.
Encouraging your puppy to sleep well in their bed can offer better sleep not just for your pet, but for you. Be consistent and use positive reinforcement to help your puppy associate their bed with sleep, comfort, and rest.
Guest Blog Post Provided By: Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.