It’s been a long while since my husband and I set the alarm clock. We have a puppy. At 8 months, it’s less than a “need” than a simple desire to begin her day. At dawn.
Many of my clients arrive for puppy kindergarten or query me individually—can I please teach their dog to sleep in! The good news is yes…all dogs can be urged to sleep later, some up to two hours, with a few simple few human modifications.
First, consider their differences: dogs habituate to routines--which often includes waking up their household for attention or food, whereas young puppies may need to eliminate.
If a dog gets attention or food at 6 a.m. during the week, it won’t resonate with your hope to sleep in—when possible schedule walking and feeding at a time that most closely reflects your weekend desires. To urge your dog or puppy to sleep in, consider this:
- When given too much freedom, many dogs pace or startle to sounds in the night. A sleep station or a crate encourages sleep as a crib or bed does to a child.
- Want to go for the gold? I’ve seen an immediate two-hour improvement when dogs are settled near their buddies at night versus crated in isolation or enclosed near open windows. Social critters, a dog’s biorhythm are set to the sun: secluded, they’ll adapt but their day will begin with the birds, who literally start chirping about 5 a.m. Once up they’ll want company, and don’t care if the reconnects are negative or positive. You can arrange a crate in your room or nearby hallway, or station your dog next to your bed.
- If shared sleeping quarters are not optional a darkened space with a sound machine can help eliminate the influx of sun and sounds.
- A late meal or drinking spree often interrupts restful nights. While a needy dog can’t be ignored, water can be restricted after 7:30 p.m. and feeding can adjusted to ensure an empty bladder at bedtime (my dog’s last feeding is between 4 and 5 p.m.).
- Working Parent Problem…If a dog/puppy is left alone 6-8 hours during the week, his/her biorhythms will readjust--yikes! Day becomes night, night to day—and it won’t just flip back on the weekends when you’d prefer sleeping until noon. Dogs being dogs, especially when their young, need midday stimulation, whether friend, family or hired help. Doggie daycare can also be a great alternative for working puppy parents.
- Once a puppy can theoretically make it through the night, she may still choose not too. If nighttime interruptions are purely interactive, it’s best not to stir. If ignoring doen’t sway her determination, purchase ear-plugs. No joke.
- Young Puppies, Newbies, fresh from the litter are accustom to full time companionship. While taking them into your bed may seem like a good idea, it generally isn’t--fodder for yet another article. Consider making or purchasing a “Snuggle Puppy” to leave with them in the night. Our puppy out grew hers in a few weeks, but my daughter still loves to activate it when she gets tucked in!