How to Train Your Dog to Sleep All Night

How to Train Your Dog to Sleep All Night
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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!

arrow-up-icon

Top

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!

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Happy Place Method

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Routine Method

Effective

2 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

2 Votes

Ribbon icon
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Environment Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

By James Barra

Published: 12/06/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Max

Dog breed icon

Dachshund

Dog age icon

9 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

User generated photo

We have had max for around 9 weeks. When we first had him me and my partner took it in turns to stay downstairs with him, we kept his original bed and we would put him to bed with his blanket and say goodnight but he would always end up sleeping on us. We bit the bullet and left him downstairs with a night light and we have a camera to keep an eye on him but he would just constantly bark. We have bought a playpen which his bed is now in and we moved him to our bedroom so he knew we were still there. He would wake up once or twice where we would take him out for a wee but he wouldn’t settle back down. We made the mistake of putting max into our bed just because we were so tired! As expected Max now wants this every night and we can’t allow it as we still aren’t getting any sleep! We are now u sure what to do for the best for Max and for us!

May 10, 2022

Max's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, I would decide where you want him to sleep - not where he wants to sleep, but where you want him to sleep. Second, I would set up an enclosed area in the area you want him to sleep, whether that's downstairs or in your room, in a crate or exercise pen most likely. Next, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate or exercise pen in the area you have set it up for nights too for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice confining him there during the day for 1-3 hours with your out of the room each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate/pen, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If there are an issues with potty training I would use a crate. If he is 100% reliable on potty training, then an exercise pen can be used. Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night (in the crate or pen in the location you chose - where he needs to be sleeping) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. If you go straight to nights and days like this you will probably have about 3 rough nights, with lots of correcting before he gets quiet - don't give in and let him out or this will take much longer! But the overall process will go faster if you can stay strong. The barking generally improves after 3 nights, but will probably still bark some for a shorter amount of time when first crated for a couple of weeks - that's normal, stay consistent. If the duration is decreasing, you are making progress and it is working. If you practice the daytime routine first while your partner or you sleeps on the couch for a few more days or pup is in your bed, then start the nighttime routine once pup understands the new rules, the nights should go easier when you do make the transition but the overall process will be longer. Opposed to starting everything right now and loosing more sleep for a week but having pup trained sooner. Either way you need to stay very consistent for this to work - expect pup to protest and for you to have to correct a lot. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. Choose whichever option seems less stressful for you ultimately and is something you can stick to. Don't worry about feeling bad for pup. I know it's hard but you and your partner's sleep and your relationship is most important. If this continues indefinitely a lot of people would re-home the dog - when the issue could have been resolved with a some fair but firm training for a few days. Ultimately, every ones relationships being healthy and rested is better for pup too, and pup can adjust just fine with some training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 10, 2022

Dog nametag icon

Lucy

Dog breed icon

Bernedoodle

Dog age icon

21 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Hello, Our dog is almost 2 and she is having trouble waking up at a reasonable hour and keeps waking up extremely early. Additionally, she becomes very impatient at dinner time (which is the same time every day) about 30 minutes until the set time. We are trying to figure out how to fix these problems but it has been challenging. Please let us know any suggestions you may have. Thank you!

April 6, 2022

Lucy's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tamar, First, I would check pup's weight and overall physique with your vet to make sure pup is being fed the right amount for their current metabolism and activity level. Some dogs are obsessed with food no matter how much you feed though, so I wouldn't feed more unless your vet determines it's needed, but that can be one cause for the begging and early waking to rule out. A tapeworm can also be one reason for unreasonable hunger and tapeworms are not protected against in most heartworm and parasite medication. I am not a vet though, so consult your vet about that. I am only speaking as a pet owner who dealt with that at one point with one of my own dogs. If pup is healthy, that pup probably needs to learn patience and has decided that barking and being demanding can get them their way. First, be sure you aren't rewarding the behavior by giving pup food at breakfast or dinner before your scheduled time just because pup begged, unless it's due to your own schedule change. Is pup crated at night? If pup isn't crated and is sleeping in your room, I would either crate pup at night for the next six months, or if pup is safe unsupervised, have pup sleep in another room without anyone to wake up. When pup is not crated and can keep coming over to you to pester over and over again in your room, it becomes very hard to address this. You can either ignore the crying if you are currently responding to it before it's been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue, especially if pup is crated) or you can correct the crying before or after you return pup to the crate (taking pup outside to go potty if it's been longer than 8 hours, then returning pup to the crate instead of feeding or giving attention after). If you are already ignoring the crying and it's persisting I would skip ignoring and work on correcting as long as pup is physically healthy and this isn't related to that. To correct pup, first, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. When he cries at night or early morning, after you take pup potty and return them to the crate, or pup cries before 4-5 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night/morning though - practice during the day proactively to help pup learn that quiet is good, since you don't want to encourage pup to stay awake in the early morning, but to go back to sleep instead. A similar approach can be used at meal times. When pup is persistent I would use the Place, Quiet, or Out command to instruct pup to stop, then have a mild consequence if pup doesn't obey. One way to correct when pup is being pushy is to clip pup's leash on and practice pup's obedience in quick succession without treats. This is a bit like doggie pushups. Sit, Down, Stand, Heel, Watch Me, Sit, Down, Stand, Heel, Wait, ect...for about 5-10 minutes, then let pup go. This can act as an attitude adjustment without being harsh, to help a pushy dog stop being so pushy. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel If pup has ever shown any form of aggression toward you, I would hire a professional trainer to assist you, since the pushiness is probably related to that and part of a larger issue, and pup may protest any changes in the rules of the home with aggression, so additional safety measures should be in place. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 7, 2022


Training assistant
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.