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 Routine Method

Effective
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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?

The Happy Place Method

Effective
0 Votes
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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Duke
English Springer Spaniel
17 Weeks
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Question
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Duke
English Springer Spaniel
17 Weeks

I can’t get him to sleep through the night he whine and barks a lot I play with him before bed a lot and I have sometimes let him sleep with me just because I needed the rest myself , he may be sleeping slot durhing the day because I work 10-7 , any suggestions ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
32 Dog owners recommended

Hello Valerie, Unfortunately that is a common problem at his age. Consistency is probably the number one thing that Duke needs. If he cries do not let him out until he is quiet for at least a couple of minutes. He is probably making noise because he wants to be with you instead of in his crate where it is boring, especially because his breed tends to be very dependent on people and on affection. Give it time and do not reward his cries with freedom and affection unless he becomes quiet and remains quiet for five minutes or more. Also give him a stuffed Kong in his crate at night, so that he will have something to do when he wakes up randomly. To stuff the Kong, place some of his dry dog food into a bowl, cover the food with water, so that the water is a little higher in the bowl than the food is, let the food soak until it becomes marshmallow looking mush. This will probably take at least three hours, so it is best done ahead of time. Next, add a little peanut butter, or squeeze cheese if you can't have peanut butter, and mix the peanut butter or cheese with the food. The food should turn into a soggy mush when you do this, and not look like solid pieces of food anymore. Stuff the Kong loosely with clumps of this mush and freeze the Kong overnight or until frozen. If he has a hard time getting food out of the Kong then simply drop the clumps of mush into the Kong. Do not stuff them down, and use a larger sized Kong. It is easiest to purchase several Kongs and prepare them all at the same time ahead of time, so that you can just grab one when needed. You can also give your pup these Kongs during the day, for while you are gone, to keep him more alert and entertained. I recommend feeding your puppy as much of his daily dog food as possible in the form of stuffed Kongs and training rewards, so that you hardly even need a food bowl. Doing that will stimulate him more and encourage him to work for his food and be less bored and frustrated. If that does not work, and time and consistency do not fix it, he might need to spend around three days a week somewhere like a doggie daycare, where he will be active, interacting with the staff and other dogs, and then come home tired. You can also hire a great dog walker, like a walker from Wag!, to not only take him out to go potty during the day but also to take him on a good walk in the middle of the day or play a high energy but focused game with him in your yard. The stuffed Kongs with his meals inside and some more interaction during the day from a walker or doggie daycare should hep with the daytime sleep, so that he is more tired at night. The Kong in his bed at night should give him something other than barking, and consistency should teach him that barking and whining never get him freedom, so learn that he learns crate plus nighttime equals sleep. If you choose to take him to a doggie daycare look for one that has staff that have been trained to properly supervise dog play, so that dogs are not bullying other dogs or getting bullied by other dogs, and so that the interactions are supervised in order to keep dogs safe from potential fights. My favorite types of daycares are ones that requires a pet interview during the first visit, so that the staff there can evaluate temperament and choose an appropriate group for your pup to be in. This keeps all the dogs safer and less stressed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Caesar
Chihuahua
1 Year
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Question
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Caesar
Chihuahua
1 Year

Will not sleep through the night. He sleeps in kennel (always has) we go to bed at same time every night. But he wakes up at least once a night.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
32 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nicki, He could be waking up for a few different reasons. The reason why he is waking up will have a lot to do with the solution to the problem. If he is receiving any type of attention when he wakes up at night, then he is probably waking up out of habit, in hopes of receiving attention from you. If that is the case, then you will need to give him some tough love and stop responding to his cries. This might take a couple of hours for the first few nights, and you will have to be patient and possibly buy some earplugs, while he learns that waking up is not fun anymore and that he might as well just go right back to sleep. If he is waking up because he is not tired enough then have a look at his daytime schedule. He might need more exercise, less time sleeping during the day, or more physical contact with people during the day. If you can't meet those needs yourself during the day then you might want to look into hiring a dog walker, like Wag!, or into taking him to a doggie daycare about three times a week to play, if he likes other dogs, and into leaving better toys at home, to entertain him. Great toys for entertainment are Kong's, stuffed with your dog's food that has been soaked in water until mushy and mixed with peanut butter or soft cheese, and frozen overnight, or puzzle toys filled with your dog's kibble, or wobble type toys, that your dog has to push around to make treats fall out. If he is needing to go potty during the night still, then a trip to your vet is probably in order. Your dog might have a urinary incontinence issue or something related, such as a urinary tract infection. Those things would make it hard for him to hold his bladder overnight. The issue also could be his eating and drinking schedule. Try removing all food and water two hours before bedtime, and taking him potty right before time to go to sleep. His bladder will remain active until he is sleeping, so it is important not to take him out to go potty for the last time too early before bed, or he might just need to go again before morning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Coco
Mini Australian Shepterrier
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Coco
Mini Australian Shepterrier
2 Years

Coco just had puppies 3 weeks ago. Prior to giving birth, we moved from a large 7 bdrm house to a cute 3 bdrm condo (with no doggie door). She used to be able to let herself out at night if needed. Now, we have to let her out. During the pregnancy she ate a lot! Now, I'm trying to get her back to just eating in the morning, little at lunch and little at dinner and not at all during the night. She whines to go out nearly every hour - it's driving all of us crazy! Sometimes she actually goes, and maybe poos, but last night, she just wanted out to roam and smell her surroundings. We reward her when she actually goes, but I need sleep!!! She doesn't seem to want to sleep with the puppies, and I'm worries she's not feeding them through the night. Can you help me and my 3 kids get a little sleep tonight?? Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
32 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carla, Coco might be starting the process of weaning. This process often begins around three to five weeks for puppies, and lasts until seven to eight weeks of age or longer. It is typically a very gradual process which helps the mother dog avoid nipple infections. If she is feeding them once during the night that might be enough for the puppies so long as they seem well hydrated and their weight gain is good. If she is feeding them less than every six to eight hours at night then try creating an enclosed area for her, connected to the puppies' whelping box that the puppies cannot get into, but low enough for her to go between her area and the puppies'. That way she will be next to them, and can get to them when they cry to eat, but does not have to touch them or be bothered by them while she sleeps. You want for her to be able to go in and out of the whelping box as she pleases, without moving too far away from them. If she seems to be wanting to be with you at night, then her separation from you might be the issue and moving the puppies' whelping box near where you sleep at night might help. If she is starting the process of weaning then around four weeks you can begin to introduce them to gruel, which is a mixture of puppy food, puppy milk formula, and warm water. It is very soupy at first and the puppy food is soaked in hot water to make it mushy. I would highly recommend not decreasing her caloric intake yet. She will actually need as many or more calories while nursing as she did during the pregnancy. Unless your vet suggests otherwise, I would wait until she has weaned the puppies to decrease her food. Although you might be able to consolidate the number of times per day that she eats, she should still be eating more frequently than normal and more calories than she does when not nursing or pregnant. If she does not get enough calories that can effect her milk supply and health while nursing.. When you take her outside to go potty take her on a leash, stay in one boring spot or walk just a few feet and let her sniff the ground. If she does not go within five minutes then take her back inside. If she goes, then praise her and reward her with the treat, but if she does not go, then bring her back inside and place her into a crate for ten minutes, to discourage her from asking to go out more frequently then she needs to go. Because of her prior pregnancy her bladder capacity is probably still diminished, so more frequent potty breaks are normal, even during the night because she is awake and nursing, which wakes up her bladder as well. Every hour seems excessive though, especially at night, so if she is actually peeing that often I would visit your vet to get her evaluated for blood sugar issues, a urinary tract infection, or bladder damage that occurred during her pregnancy or labor. If she is not actually peeing that often though, then you can assume that it is just normal post pregnancy frequency combined with a desire to be outside. Making the trips outside boring, crating her for a few minutes if she does not actually go, and possibly even eliminating the treat reward, so long as she is doing very well with her potty training and does not need that incentive anymore in your new home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Coco
Mini Australian Shepterrier
2 Years
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Question
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Coco
Mini Australian Shepterrier
2 Years

How do I know if her puppies are getting enough milk? Can I supplement with any formula type milk for puppies? Should they be wanting water

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
32 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carla, Typically a puppy should double his weight by the end of the first week of life. After that he should consistently be gaining weight each week. The exact amount that the puppy should gain will depend on his own genetics from his parentage and your vet's recommendations. Generally expect regular weight gain every week and watch for signs of dehydration, such as skin that does not immediately go back to normal after you pinch it, very yellow pee, white gums, and a dry nose. If you are at all concerned contact your veterinarian. You can also contact your veterinarian for general guidelines on how much your specific puppies should be taking in. If a mother dog has enough milk and is feeding her puppies correctly, then they should not need supplementation with milk. If they are not getting enough from her, then they will need to be bottle fed puppy replacement formula. Do not give them water until they begin the weaning process though. Water on it's own can effect their electrolyte balance negatively when they are not eating solid food also. Here is an article with a bit of information on puppy weight gain: https://www.cuteness.com/blog/content/normal-puppy-weight-gain-for-first-weeks Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Chilli
Miniature Schnauzer
9 Months
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Question
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Chilli
Miniature Schnauzer
9 Months

Hi, my miniature schnauzer Chilli is 9 months old he goes to bed nicely but wakes up howling at least once or twice in the night he howls for maybe a couple of minutes then settles down again then wakes again between 4am and 5pm. When he wakes then he starts barking and won’t give up and go back to sleep. He sleeps in the kitchen with our other miniature schnauzer Pepper ( she’s a girl of 19 months ). I’ve tried ignoring him but it doesn’t work he won’t settle down or shut up. We’ve tried having him in our bedroom, he doesn’t howl or bark when he’s in our room but he doesn’t wake up and get out of bed every now and then and sometimes tries to get on our bed. I really need some help, I’ve tried the adaptil plug in but that didn’t help either. Any advise would be great. Also everything he does is at a fast pace, he gets so excited when he sees us in the morning and when you come in from being out.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
32 Dog owners recommended

Hello Diane, There are a couple of reasons why Chili might be howling at night. The first reason is that he might be hearing noises at night. If there are other dogs or coyotes outside that howl during the night, that can cause him to howl. If he is hearing sirens from fire trucks, police cars, or ambulances, those noises can cause him to howl. If there is a high pitched electronic noise that he notices at night, that could also cause him to howl. If noise is the cause, then finding a way to block out that noise, possibly by moving him into another safe room, or by adding something like a sound machine, might help. The second reason why he might be howling is separation anxiety. Because he does not howl in your room while he is with you and because he tends to have a more excitable and anxious temperament, this might be his reason for howling. The fact that your room might not contain the same sounds as the kitchen and the fact that many puppies at nine months old are excitable anyways, means that this is not definitely the cause though. You will have to evaluate how he does while separated from you during the day also. You will also need to evaluate his body language for signs of stress. These signs can include heavy panting, constant whining, lifting one paw up, licking his lips, and general tenseness. If it is separation anxiety, then he will need to learn more independence and will need more structure in general. Most dogs with separation anxiety need for their owners to interact with them in a calm and structured manner. They also need boundaries and consistency to help them feel secure and to build trust and respect toward their owners. They also need to regularly practice alone time in places like the crate for a couple of hours every day, as well as practice distance obedience commands, and calming commands that require self-control, such as the "Place" or "Bed" command. The goal is to build an anxious dog's confidence by teaching him respect for you so that he does not feel the need to be in charge himself, which can cause anxiety. The goal is also to teach him coping skills while he is alone by doing things like crating him with a food stuffed chew-toy and practicing structured obedience where he has to remain in place away from you. "Down Stays" at a distance are good for this. If you end up crating him some to encourage independence during the day, then when you crate him, stuff a Kong chew toy with dog food and treats and give it to him in the crate, so that he will have something to focus his energy on and so that the crate will be more rewarding. When he is quiet in the crate, then go over to the crate and drop treats inside without saying anything, then walk away again. Do not let him out of the crate or kitchen until he has been quiet for at least one second. Solid K-9 Training has a YouTube channel with good crate training instructions for separation anxiety. The last reason that he might he howling is that he is simply being demanding. Adding structure, working on his general respect for you, and correcting the howling behavior, if it truly is just him being demanding, should help. Make sure that you rule out noises and anxiety first though. For the early morning wake ups I suggest that you evaluate his daytime routine and make sure that he is getting adequate mental and physical stimulation during the day and is not sleeping too much during the day. Do this to make sure that he is actually tired still when he wakes up at night and in the early morning, and is not simply bored because he is finished sleeping, which is a different issue entirely, and one that should not be occurring at night. I also suggest you deal with any separation anxiety going on if you feel like that is the issue, because that could be causing the morning barking too. Once those things are taken care of, if it's still an issue, then I suggest that you purchase a crate, spend time getting him used to being in the crate during the day by crate training him, and then when he is used to the crate, utilize it for the early morning wake ups. To utilize the crate in the morning, first, when he cries, silently go to him and take him outside to go potty on a leash without saying anything to him and without letting him play or stay out there for more than five to seven minutes. It is very important that you take him out on a leash so that he cannot play. After he goes potty, quietly praise him, and then take him back inside and place him directly into the crate until it is time for him to get up for the day. Do not feed him. Do not play with him. Do not talk to him. Simply put him back to bed in an area where he has nothing else to do but lay down, which is the crate. If you believe that he really is not tired anymore because he has already slept a long amount of time, then do the above but give him a stuffed Kong to chew on in the crate also. If he ought to still be tired and asleep, then simply place him into the crate without any treats or food. One rubber chew toy without food is fine if you want to give him something, but do not make the crate rewarding. The goal is boring. Expect him to pitch a fit the first week that you do this for, but hopefully by the end of the week he will realize that barking will get him taken outside to go potty but will not get him anything else, and he will choose to be quiet rather than be crated. If all else fails, then crate train him and have him sleep in the crate at night in a quiet and semi-dark location so that he is less likely to be woken up during the night and morning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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