How to Train Your Dog to Sleep All Night

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

You work long hours. You’re up early so you value every minute of precious sleep. You’ve loved having a new dog in your home. He’s got a lovely temperament and the kids love him. However, he disturbs your sleep more than just a little. He seems incapable of sleeping through the night. He wakes up and then he moans and whines until someone comes down to comfort him. You’ve tried letting him sleep in your bed but he still wakes you up periodically throughout the night.

You need to train him to sleep all night before you fall asleep at your desk at work. It will also be good for him. He needs a regular sleeping pattern so he’s not sleeping in the day when everyone wants to play with him and wide awake at night when you’re all asleep.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to sleep all night will require considerable patience to begin with, but it’s definitely achievable. You need to set a consistent routine and stick to it religiously. That will require resilience on your part, especially to start with. You’ll need to ignore his cries for attention and take a number of steps to ensure he’s tired when night time comes. 

If he’s a puppy he should be growing quickly and needing a lot of sleep anyway. That makes your job easier and you could see results in just a few days. If he’s older and been a restless sleeper for many years then you may need several weeks to cement this new habit. Succeed and you’ll be able to close your eyes at night and not open them until that alarm goes off. You’ll get a delightful, relaxing and undisturbed sleep, finally!

Getting Started

Before training can begin you’ll need to collect a few bits. You’ll need a comfy bed for him in a location where he’ll get plenty of privacy. You’ll also need some treats to motivate him to stay put in the evenings. You may also need his favorite toys.

You’ll need to set aside 15 minutes each day to really tiring him out before bedtime comes. Apart from that, you’ll just need patience and a can-do attitude.

Once you’ve got all that you’re ready to get to work!

The Happy Place Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
New bed
If he’s always trying to leave his current bed it may not be very comfy. Try getting him a new bed and filling it with some nice new blankets. You can also put a couple of new toys in there. The more enticing his bed is the more likely he’ll be to stay in it.
Step
2
Treat
Leave a treat in his bed in the evenings. This will encourage him to go in there to start with. Then give him another one in his bed in the morning when you come down. If he starts to associate his bed with food and knows he’ll get a treat in the morning, he’ll have more motivation to stay put.
Step
3
Don’t punish him
If he does come and wake you, it’s important you don’t shout or punish him. You may only scare him and then he’ll be even more keen to get your attention and the problem could worsen. Simply remove him from the room calmly.
Step
4
Toilet before bed
Make sure you take him to the toilet before bed each evening. If you come down to accidents then this could well be the problem. He could be waking you up because he’s desperate for the loo.
Step
5
Water
He could also be waking you because he’s thirsty. Make sure his water bowl is full every evening before you go to bed. Dehydration is not only bad for his health but it could massively disrupt his sleep.
Recommend training method?

The Routine Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Food & toilet
You need to set a consistent routine for him each day. This is particularly important if he’s a puppy. If he knows when he’s going to eat and go to the toilet each day his body clock will configure around that.
Step
2
Exercise
You must give him enough exercise. Many dogs don’t sleep because they’re restless and full of energy. Give him an extra walk before bed time or a longer walk during the day. Alternatively, take him out and throw a ball for 15 minutes before bed. The short sprinting will quickly tire him out, making it easier for him to sleep through the night.
Step
3
Give him time
If he’s a puppy, you need to give him time to adjust. Most dogs need several weeks to fully feel at home. So, don’t be too worried if he’s not sleeping through the night to start with. Be patient and you’ll see results.
Step
4
Good night & morning
Before you go to bed, take him to his bed and calmly stroke him for a few minutes. Then say "good night" and go to bed. In the morning, spend a couple of minutes stroking him and saying "good morning". This will help build a routine and re-assure him that you’ll be back with him soon.
Step
5
Attention
Set aside at least 15 minutes each day solely for playing with him. The not sleeping may be attention-seeking behavior. If you ensure you give him enough during the day he may be more content sleeping at night.
Recommend training method?

The Environment Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Look for disruptions
Are there any external factors that could be preventing him from sleeping throughout the night? Are neighbors regularly making noise? Do you have guests staying downstairs near his bed? Are there any other loud noises that could be waking him?
Step
2
Move his bed
It could be that the current location of his bed is not conducive to a good night's sleep. Move his bed to somewhere where he has walls around him and a considerable amount of privacy. If he’s secluded he’ll find it easier to sleep undisturbed.
Step
3
Cold shoulder
Don’t pander to his needs throughout the night. You need to make sure you ignore his pleas for attention if he wakes you. If he knows you’ll respond to him he’ll be more likely to pester you again. So, shut the door at night time and leave it shut until the morning.
Step
4
Consider medical problems
If he’s older this is particularly important. If none of the other steps are working it’s worth taking him to a vet. He could have developed joint pain, for example, that’s keeping him up and leaving him in considerable pain and discomfort.
Step
5
Consider other factors
Have you recently moved? Has someone in the home recently moved away? All these factors can cause him to have separation anxiety and may make sleeping a struggle. If this is the case, give him plenty of attention in the day and give him time. He’ll eventually get through it.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Tootsie
French Bulldog
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tootsie
French Bulldog
7 Months

Pulls when walked, when I say command come, runs the other way, afraid of balloons and trash bags, needy

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
671 Dog owners recommended

Hello Niki, Check out the Turns method from the article linked below for the pulling: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Reel In method for coming: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall More come: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ For the fear of objects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5BjvNScFPs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlZmJlllP7Y&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Leo
American Bulldog
7 Years
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Question
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Leo
American Bulldog
7 Years

We have recently moved and our neighbors have two large German shepherds. Everyday when we let Leo out to go to the restroom the dogs bark at him and get his attention. He then wants to start attacking the fence to get to them and not in a playful manner. Is there anyway that problem could be corrected?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
671 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zoey, I suggest teaching pup the quiet command, then having pup on a long leash and each time the other dogs bark while you are out there, call up to you before he gets excited about their barking - timing is important here, and reward pup for moving away from the other dogs. You will need to practice this often for pup to develop a habit of moving away from the fence when the other dogs appear and to help pup associate their presence with rewards from you, instead of a fight. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Arian
Labrador Retriever
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Arian
Labrador Retriever
5 Months

Our dog wakes between 3.30 and 4am every night. She needs the toilet so we take her out with no fuss. But she will not settle after this. We have tried letting her bark but after 3 hours of continuous barking we have to go to her for her and our neighbours sake. We have tried her in a crate and more recently tried the freedom of the room where her crate is. We take her for a walk at 10pm to try tire her a little more and have tried giving her a kong which she loves during the day but ignores in the early hours of the morning.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, you are doing everything right! Chances are she is full of energy at this point; it is not unusual. But yes, you definitely have to take Arian out for the pee break at 3:30 or 4. I assume 10 pm is bedtime for everyone, otherwise I would suggest keeping her up a little later - do not let her nap in the evenings - keep her busy with mentally stimulating toys and even a game of tug of war. Make sure you still take her out for a quick pee before bed, even if it is later than the 10 pm walk. I believe that Arian's crate is not in your room? You could try her in your room in the crate, and once she starts to sleep through the night, you can gradually move her crate back to the other room. This is done by moving it just inches a night; it takes a while but after a few weeks, the crate has been inched out of the bedroom. Have you tried giving her a kong stuffed with moistened kibble topped with a smear of dog-safe peanut butter (no xylitol as it is toxic to dogs!)? She may go for that in the wee hours of the morning, but ideally, to not get her used to that is best. Try white noise like a fan (not pointed at her) as a way to try and get her to sleep or at least settle down again. Good luck!

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Question
June and Cash
German Shorthaired Pointer
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
June and Cash
German Shorthaired Pointer
3 Years

My dogs keep waking me up during the night sometimes 1 time sometimes twice. If I feed them they go back to bed but getting up at 2 in the morning is a pain. I am trying to break this cycle just dont know how. They will just keep barking at me till i get up

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, is this a new habit? If it were just one dog, I would suggest a vet visit, but since it is the two of them, I feel they are working together to try and get fed. They get what they want and that settles them down. However, for you to wake up once or twice a night is quite inconvenient. I think the only way to end the problem is a tough solution - let them bark and do not respond in any way. Do not respond by telling them to be quiet, do not go and feed them, and don't give in. This just lets them know barking will give them what they want. Eventually, they will learn that barking does not produce a result. It will be tough for you, for days and maybe even weeks. You may have to resort to white noise in your room to block out the sound. You can also use white noise in the dogs' sleeping area. Try a fan, but have it directed away from them - never blowing on them. Put a diffuser with dog appeasing pheromones in the room as a way to maybe quiet them down for the night. The diffuser emits a natural, calming scent. Lastly, do the dogs sleep in your room? If they do not, you could try setting up an exercise pen (or two pens) in the room with cozy beds. They'll be confined but in a large space and can still have the security of knowing that you are there. That may keep them quiet. I would use the fan for white noise in this case, too. Also have room darkening curtains so that light from the outside, such as a street lamp, does not disturb them. Keep them up as late as you can and take them out for a pee break the last thing before bed. A simple good night and put them in the crate, turn on the fan, close the curtains and hope all goes well. All the best and I hope this helps!

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Question
Charlie
Sprocker Spaniel
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Charlie
Sprocker Spaniel
1 Year

Charlie struggles to sleep al the way through the night and becomes very stressed and worked up anytime we try to leave the house without him. He had started to settle before when we left him but would still be stressed and panting (often having had an accident) when we came home. Since the start of COVID and me and my partner both being at home his stress levels and sleeping have got worse and worse. We know he suffers from separation anxiety but are struggling to separate ourselves from him
As we are both at home all day at the moment. What can we do to ease his stress when we leave and get him to sleep through the night??

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Separation anxiety is a multi-fold issue that usually involves many areas of a dogs life. So I am going to be sending you quite a bit of information. You can read through it and apply what you think works best for your dynamic. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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