How to Train a Labrador Puppy to Sleep Through the Night

Medium
5-14 Days
General

Introduction

You thought babies were cute, but Labrador puppies take adorable to a whole new level. Even the grumpiest of neighbors can’t help but come over to say hello and give him a pat. He’s swiftly brought the whole family together. In fact, instead of watching TV in different rooms, you’re all spending your evenings together petting him. However, when night time comes so does trouble. He simply can’t sleep through the night. You’re woken up by him crying every hour or so until you eventually give in and let him join you.

Training your Labrador puppy to sleep through the night is essential. If you don’t, he may find it far harder to spend time away from you when he grows up. If he develops separation anxiety then leaving him to go work each day will be incredibly tough on him. 

Defining Tasks

Training any puppy to sleep through the night can be challenging to start with and Labradors are no exception. However, because Labradors are intelligent and fast learners, you could see results in a relatively short space of time. Training will consist of getting him into a regular bed time routine. You will also need to make his bed as appealing as possible. On top of that, you’ll need to ensure all his physical and emotional needs are met each day, so he’s ready to spend the night without you.

If he’s brave and relatively independent then you could see results in just a few days. If he’s fairly needy, then he may need a couple of weeks to get the hang of it. Succeed and he will be well rested when you wake up each morning and he will leave you to sleep undisturbed.

Getting Started

Before you start training, you will need to gather a few bits. A comfy bed with some soft blankets will be needed. A toy or two will also come in handy, as will food puzzles. In addition, stock up on treats or break his favorite food into small pieces.

Set aside a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day to get him into his new routine. 

Once you have all that, just bring willpower and some earplugs, then work can begin!

The Routine Method

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Step
1
New bed
Make sure his bed or crate is in the right location. It needs to be somewhere relatively secluded to afford him some privacy. Two or three walls around him would be ideal. Also, make sure there are blankets to make it a comfy place that he’d want to spend time in.
Step
2
Good night
When evening comes, spend a couple of minutes gently stroking him and getting him calm. It’s important he gets this each evening before bed. It will settle him into a good night routine.
Step
3
Good morning
When you wake up in the morning, again spend a couple of minutes stroking him and saying hello. If he knows you will always come to give him attention each morning and evening he will find it far easier to spend the night away from you.
Step
4
Exercise
Make sure he gets plenty of exercise each day. Labradors are energetic dogs, so if he isn’t getting enough exercise, he may be too awake to sleep through the night. A tired dog won’t have any problem sleeping!
Step
5
Never punish him
It’s important you don’t punish him if he does wake you and can’t sleep through the night. If he becomes scared of you then he may seek your attention even more to try and win back your affection. So, you must calmly remove him or ignore him whenever he does wake you.
Recommend training method?

The Cold Shoulder Method

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Step
1
Door open
To start with, leave the door open and have him sleep in a room relatively close to you. If he knows you’re close by, he’ll find it easier to be left alone each evening. Make sure you also spend a couple of minutes saying good night to him in his bed.
Step
2
Cold shoulder
If he does try and wake you up or moans, ignore him. It may be difficult to start with, especially as Labrador puppies are so cute. But it’s a case of being cruel to be kind.
Step
3
Door ajar
After a couple of days of leaving the door open, move to closing the door a bit more, until it’s just ajar. This is the next step in making him more isolated in the evening. Again if he wakes you up or cries, you must ignore him.
Step
4
Door closed
After a few days of leaving the door ajar, you can now move to closing the door each evening before bed. At this point he will be more comfortable being away from you at night and this last step ensures he can sleep comfortably without you.
Step
5
Remove him
If he comes to you and wakes you each evening, it’s important you calmly remove him from the room and then ignore him. If you give him any attention, you are only teaching him that such behavior will get him what he wants.
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The Temptation Method

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Step
1
Toys
Spend a few minutes each day playing with toys in his bed. You want to make his bed a fun place that he looks forward to spending time in. You can also leave the toys in his bed overnight. This will make it feel even more like his own private space.
Step
2
Evening treat
Leave a treat in his bed each evening. This is a fantastic way to get him in his bed to start with. He will soon begin to associate his bed with tasty treats and look forward to going there.
Step
3
Morning treat
When you come downstairs in the morning, head over to him and wake him up with another treat. Make sure he gets the treat in the bed. If he knows he will get a treat there each morning, he will soon have an incentive to stay put each night.
Step
4
Toilet
Make sure you take him out to the toilet before bed each evening. Puppies have weak bladders and bowels to start with. He may be waking you up each night because he needs the toilet. So, make sure those needs are tended to.
Step
5
Food puzzles
Try giving him food puzzles in his bed in the day. They will keep him occupied for hours. But more importantly, they will make him associate his bed with food and fun. This will ensure staying there each evening will no longer seem like such a chore.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Smokey
Labrador Retriever
16 Weeks
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Question
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Smokey
Labrador Retriever
16 Weeks

Our black lab puppy had diarrhea from the first day we brought him home at 8 weeks. We are trying to crate train but it took the last 8 weeks for the vet to eliminate parasites, giardia and other health risks and settle on food sensitivity. We switched his food 4 times and he is finally now doing better. But for the last 8 weeks he has had to go out in the middle of the night 3-4 times with diarrhea. Now that the issue is getting better how do we get him to start sleeping through the night? He seems to wake up now and want to go out even though he often does not need to now.

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

Hello! The best thing you can do right now is make his crate as comfortable and sleep inducing as possible. If you haven't already, try covering the crate with a blanket on 3 sides, and maybe try a white noise machine or fan. Make sure he gets lots of exercise during the day and right before bed time. It typically takes dogs about 30 days to adjust to any sort of change. They are very habitual creatures. So do your best to ignore his attempts to be let out at night and stick with a good routine. He should be adjusting over the next few weeks with no problems.

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Question
sandy
Labrador Husky
4 Weeks
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Question
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sandy
Labrador Husky
4 Weeks

my pup doesnt sleep throughout the night what should i do

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

Hello! This is very normal for dogs his age. They are essentially like human babies. They will wake up every few hours, usually to go to the bathroom. The best thing you can do is make night time as unexciting as possible. Try to not even talk to your puppy. Once your puppy is about 10 weeks, you can ignore one of the wake up calls to slowly phase her out of the habit of waking up. Once they are about 4 months old, you can expect your dog to not wake up to go to the bathroom at night.

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Question
Xero
Labrador
12 Weeks
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Question
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Xero
Labrador
12 Weeks

Hi, Xero is a beautiful dog but continuously bites whoever wants to play or pat him. Its seems playful but he's starting to hurt everyone. I've tried disciplining him and he seems to do it a little less with me but always tries regardless. I have a 10year old who i need to supervise as i dont trust Xero at all. Because he continues biting i have been much firmer and a bit angrier with him and i dont want to have that type of relationship with him.

What can i do to teach him that biting us and visitors is unacceptable.

Thanks.

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

Hello! Here is some information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Gracie
Labrador Retriever
2 Months
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Question
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Gracie
Labrador Retriever
2 Months

Just bought her 2 days back. she barks at night and I have to wake up after every 2 hours and take her to washroom . After that she wines to stay out of crate and after 30-40 minutes she goes back to sleep . It is quite troublesome to wake up after every 2-3 hours plus neighbour's also get disturbed because of noise . She also keeps biting hands and clothes.
Can you suggest ways to make her sleep at night also how to potty train her ? She also keeps biting hands and clothes.

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

Hello, my apologies for the delay in reply. Due to Gracie's age, it is not uncommon for potty breaks in the night. When you take her, put her on a leash, no talking, no exploring, pee only, no treat, and straight back to bed. You will have to put her back in the crate and ignore the barking for maybe several nights until she gives in and accepts the routine. This will be hard for the neighbors, I agree. Try keeping a fan (not pointed at her) in the room where the crate is as white noise for Gracie, which may help her sleep. Also, do not feed her or give her water at least 2 hours before bed. Keep her up as late as you can in the evenings and do not let her nap in the evening. Play with her and give her interactive toys. For the biting, take a look at the Leave It Method here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite. Practice every day for 10 minutes. Lastly, for the potty training, this guide as excellent methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside. Take Gracie outside every 30 - 60 minutes. This may seem excessive but will be worth it when she catches on. Remember to take her after meals, naps, playtime, and excitement. Praise her highly and with a treat when she has success. Read the potty training guide I gave you in its entirety because it has excellent suggestions. Good luck and happy training!

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Question
DAISY
Labrador Retriever
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
DAISY
Labrador Retriever
2 Months

My puppy sleeps right behind my bed, but she won't let me sleep she keeps on barking and scratching my bad untill i take her out to pee although i make sure she's done with toilet before tucking her in.
She's teething, so she keeps on biting us. I somehow can calm her down a little bit but my family members are terrified of her because she doesn't calm down with them.
what can I do?

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