How to Train a Labrador Puppy to Sleep Outside

How to Train a Labrador Puppy to Sleep Outside
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your little Lab may just be a puppy, but they already have enough energy to keep you up all night. The kids absolutely love playing with your new furry family member. In fact, so much so that getting them to sleep in time is proving even more difficult than usual. Even your partner seems to have a rather large soft spot for the pooch. But your house is already crowded and you always intended for them to sleep outside. So you’re going to have to cut down on cuddles on the sofa in the evenings and get them used to their outdoor bedroom.

Training your puppy to sleep outside will bring several benefits. Firstly, you will have a canine watchdog outside who will probably alert you to the sound of any intruders. You will also enforce some strict boundaries, preventing them from developing separation anxiety. Unfortunately, some puppies become so dependant on their owners that they are seriously unhappy without them around.

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Defining Tasks

Fortunately, training your Labrador puppy to sleep outside isn’t as challenging as you may think. Often, the difficult part comes in having the self-restraint yourself to leave them outside. But if you can overcome that hurdle, then training will consist of several parts. Firstly, you’ll need to make sure your dog has everything they need to sleep outside. You will also need to gradually get them used to their new sleeping environment. Finally, you will need to use a variety of incentives to keep them content outside at night.

Because your Labrador Puppy is young, they should be receptive and still learning the rules. This means it could take just several days for them to get into the habit of sleeping outside. However, if they are particularly clingy and don’t want to leave your side, then you may need several weeks. Get training right and you’ll have taken a big step towards having a well-trained outdoor dog.

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Getting Started

Before you can begin work, you need to make sure you have everything you need. Firstly, you will need a spot for them to sleep outside, be it a kennel, shelter or bed. You will then need to stock up on tasty treats or their favorite food. Some toys will also be required.

The other thing your pup will need from you is time. Set aside a few minutes each evening to say goodnight and a few minutes in the morning too.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!

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The Setting the Scene Method

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1

Make it comfy

You need to make your Lab puppy’s sleeping spot outside as comfortable as you can. A bed in the kennel and blankets could all help put them at ease and keep them content when the sun goes down.

2

Water

If the pup is going to be outside all night, they must have access to water. Without a water bowl, you will hear them howling and they won’t be able to sleep.

3

Leave treats

To tempt them into their sleeping area in the first place, leave a treat there. Do this each evening and they will soon associate their outdoor sleeping area with a place they get tasty rewards. You can also leave the odd treat there in the day.

4

Positive only

Make sure all interaction your Lab puppy has with you in their outdoor sleeping area is positive. That means you can’t send them there as a punishment. If they think of it as a place with negative consequences, they won’t want to go there willingly.

5

Toys

Also try leaving a toy or two in their sleeping area. Not only will it make the space feel like theirs, but it will also give them something to play around with, should they wake up. This step will seriously help make the outdoor area feel like their territory.

The Take it Slow Method

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Day time play

Spend a few minutes playing around with your Lab in the place outside you would like them to sleep. Play tug of war, be animated and get them worked up. You want them to be comfortable there.

2

Leave them

Now leave them there for a few minutes. You can stay relatively close by and comfort them but make sure they are outside alone. Then after a few minutes have gone by you can release them again.

3

Increase the time

When you go out and let the pup go, give them a treat and some praise. Then next time leave them in there for a little while longer. The trick is to gradually build their confidence and leave them there for a little longer each time.

4

Say good night

The other thing you can do to ease your puppy into sleeping outside is say good night. Spend a couple of minutes stroking them and whispering them to quietly. Then say good night and leave them.

5

Say good morning

Go out in the morning and say good morning with a treat and some attention. The aim is to get them in a consistent routine where they know you will be with them before bed and there in the morning.

The Big Move Method

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Day time nap

You can help train your Lab puppy to sleep outside at night by first helping them sleep there in the day. So take out a chair to a spot they look comfortable in and wait for them to fall asleep. Having you close by will put them at ease.

2

Put them out

Continue sitting out for a few days while they sleep outside in the day. Then start putting them out for a few hours at night, so they get used to being out there. However, then let them back in to sleep inside at night.

3

The move

After several days of just putting them out for a few hours, collect all of your pup's belongings, such as their crate, water bowl and toys, and put them outside in the spot they’ve been napping in during the day.

4

Go out and check

For the first few full nights they sleep outside, go out every now and then to reassure them and give them the odd treat. This will help them relax and stick through the whole night.

5

Don’t force them

If your puppy still doesn’t look comfortable sleeping outside, let them back in the house for a few more days. You don’t want to push too hard at the beginning, this could just seriously scare them and push back the end result.

By James Barra

Published: 03/22/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Dobby

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Beagle Harrier

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6 Months

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I want him not to dig the walls of the balcony. I so want him to sleep outside in balcony as because of him our sleep gets interrupted many times coz till now he slept with us in room

May 5, 2022

Dobby's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Sonal, So you can correct the digging while you are awake and sometimes correcting it then will also discourage it at night while asleep, but in many cases you would have to be consistent with correcting it both during the day and at night for a while for pup to learn, which would mean being awake at night. For this reason, I recommend crate training pup at this age and having pup sleep in a crate in another room instead of loose on the balcony. That other room might be "the balcony", but that depends a lot on the temperature out there. I would be very careful with temperature, especially as summer approaches and crate metal can get hot or plastic poorly ventilated. For crate training, I would start with just the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. That alone is often enough with puppies. If pup is incessantly barking and not improving with just the Surprise method, then I would combine that method with corrections. 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. I would work on Leave It to address the digging during the daytime, while you are there to train. Check out the leave it section from this article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ You can also purchase door guards, which as plastic pieces that fit overdoors to discourage scratching, you could look that up, and depending on the area potentially create something fitting for that area if pup is digging in only certain spots. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 5, 2022

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Luna

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Boerboel

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4 Months

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My puppy won't get inside it's dog house. I have tried everything, she seems to be scared of it

Nov. 19, 2021

Luna's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Trey, Dog houses, like crates, are confined spaces that some dogs find scary. Sometimes a dog house needs to be introduced like a crate in more extreme cases where pup won't even enter the dog house on their own. Check out the article I have linked below on crate training. I would practice all three methods, especially the Surprise method with pup in this case. I would also practice consistently for a month. Pup isn't likely to get used to the dog house in just one session or even one week, this will take some proactive practice. Just compare the length of training time with pup's overall life expectancy outside. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If the dog house is very far from the door you go inside through, distance might also be the issue. As a pack animal, pup is naturally going to want to be where you are. If being in the dog house, means pup can't monitor your entering or exiting through the door inside, then pup may choose to stay closer to your home instead of in the dog house. Sometimes moving the dog house closer to your home, where pup can see you coming and going can help pup relax enough to want to be in there - the dog house becomes a warmer place for pup to watch for you from. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 26, 2021


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