Training your dog where to sleep rather than leaving him where he is when he falls asleep will make your nights more manageable and your dog more secure. A puppy especially will thrive with routines and boundaries. Setting your expectations early on, whether you have a new puppy in your family or have adopted an older dog, will be an early opportunity to bond.
Training your dog to sleep in a specific place each night will not only give him the boundaries he needs to thrive as your family dog but will also give him the routine he needs to know where to go each night at bedtime, will give him a sense of security. He needs to know that he is safe while he sleeps. If your dog is not well trained to know where his special sleeping spot is, he could keep you awake all night pacing while finding a place that is most comfortable.
The most challenging thing in finding a special place for your dog to sleep each night may be choosing the right location. If you do not plan on having your dog sleep in your bedroom with you, even if not in your bed, you need to pick a space where he will feel safe and comfortable while away from you. Sleep training for dogs is mostly about time and repetition. He is going to want comfort and security all night long. Creating repetitive routines regarding this space that is just for him to sleep is imperative for teaching him where he needs to be once it is time to go to bed. The second most important thing in training your dog to know where he is to sleep each night is providing him with a bed that is comfortable and one that he will want to stay in it all night. This means potentially changing beds as he grows and also knowing how your dog sleeps. You may start off for the first few nights with your dog on a folded blanket on the floor. If your dog sleeps curled up in a little ball, he may want a small bed with raised sides to provide security and comfort. If your dog sleeps stretched out, he won't be comfortable in a bed with high sides but may prefer a larger bed that can accommodate his longer body.
Though you may not want the ideal bed to start if you don't know how your dog sleeps, you are going to want to start with something special, even if it is just a blanket or a throw rug, to mark the spot where you plan on having your dog sleep. You will also want some special treats to reward your dog for a job well done as he learns where his sleeping area is located. Approach bedtime with a calm nature and wake up time excited to see your dog. And over time, even if it is just a few days or weeks, get to know how your dog sleeps and in what positions, so you can provide him the proper size bed with the right support. An older dog may serve well on a memory foam mattress whereas a small dog may like a round mattress with high sides to provide security and comfort.
How do I get Pearl to stay in one place during the nighttime? I try to get her to stay in one place, however, during the night she gets up and plays around. She also has difficulty learning on how to stop biting and listening to me.
Hello Angel, At two months of age, it is normal for a puppy to try to initiate a game or get your attention by mouthing you, even at night. She will need to learn through consistency and boundaries that night is the time for sleep and where she is allowed to be for sleep. For a puppy that age, I recommend creating a small confined area for her to sleep in while she learns. If you wish for her to be in your bedroom, then set up the area in your bedroom, preferably in an area where you would like for her to sleep when she is a large dog later too. The habits she forms now will often determine what she tried to do later. For a confined area you can either use a crate, which works well for potty training also, purchase an exercise pen and adjust the size to fit her needs as she grows, or create your own barricade, that will be sturdy enough to be safe but escape proof. She will likely protest the new confinement at first. She is doing this because it is new and she wants to play and be with you instead. Essentially she is trying to get your attention. Ignore her at night unless she needs to go to the bathroom, and work on making the confined space relaxing and enjoyable during the day, using the same type of methods that you would use for crate training. If you work on making the confined space pleasant during the day and not giving into her protests at night, then she will learn with time that night is the time for sleeping. You can also place the confined space right by your bed so that you are close by, but I recommend only doing this if you are OK with her laying next to your bed as an adult too. Once she learns that night is the time for sleeping, and forms a habit of relaxing in her space, then when she is older you can give her freedom in your room when she is trustworthy enough not to have an accident or destroy something, and she will rest calmly there instead of trying to play. If you would like for her to sleep in your bed as an adult, then I would still recommend what I suggested doing, so that she has the opportunity to learn how to settle herself, but after she learns how to relax when you put her to bed, and forms a habit of being calm at night, and is safe while unsupervised, then you can encourage her onto your bed, and move her to her confined area any nights that she will not leave you alone in the bed. That way she will learn that playing gets her banished to the confined area because night is the time for sleep, and that relaxing is the only option while on the bed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My banjo has been sleeping A cage at night in the living room, but I would like to gradually teach him to sleep in a normal dog bed beside my bed in my room, only thing is I’m not sure how to train him to get him to lay in the bed and stay throughout the night?
Hello Rebecca, I highly suggest waiting to make that transition. He has not hit the heavy chewing age yet. He also might start waking up early to play if he is not in a crate when he hits four or five months of age and gets more energy. He also is not fully potty trained yet, so is far more likely to have accidents in the early morning hours if he wakes up before you do. Right now you are teaching him how to be by himself, be potty trained, only chew on his items, and sleep on your schedule. Letting him out of the crate at this age could sabotage all of part of that. The good things that you are already doing by having him in the crate right now are setting up him to have more freedom for the rest of his life later, because he will be more trustworthy when older because he did not learn other bad habits while young. With that said, you can put his crate in your room, in the area where you later want his dog bed to be, either now or when he starts to get ready to sleep out of the crate when older. When he is old enough to be fully potty trained, not to chew anything he shouldn't when you cannot watch him, and past the six month energy spurt, then you can put the bed that you want to give him, in his crate for a couple of months. If he is ready to be out of the crate at night, then simply just put the bed in place of the crate, put away the crate, and encourage him to sleep on the bed. I do not recommend giving him a fluffy bed in the crate right now though because if he chews it and ingests it that can be dangerous. Wait until he is past the heavy chewing phase that typically increase around five months of age. When his new bed is in place without the crate, then throughout the day leave pieces of his food or treats on the bed for him to randomly find. Whenever you catch him laying on the bed, go over to him and put a treat between his front paws to encourage him to lay there more often in the future. You can also teach him a "Place" command and make his bed his "Place" so that you can tell him to go to his bed whenever he tries to get off. If he still tries to leave the bed, then put the bed by a wall, install an eyehook to the baseboard or wall, and tether him to the hook with a chewproof leash like VirChewLy leash so that he cannot leave the bed during the night when you are asleep and not able to enforce him staying on it. Doing all of these things should overtime create a strong habit of sleeping on his bed. Finding a bed that he likes will also help when he is older. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Pig came to live with us about 4 years ago. She used to sleep through the night, downstairs, with no problem. Over the past 2 years she has started waking in the night, barking for us. It has gradually increased and now it is very rare for her to sleep through. I have shut her in the utility room for the past few nights, as we cannot hear her bark from there. After initially barking for a while she seems to settle. I'm worried though that we might be putting her under too much stress.
Hello Christine, I suggest speaking with your vet. As dogs age they might loose their ability to hold their bladders through the night. She could also be loosing hearing or eye sight which might make her more unsure. Dogs can also experience mental decline and confusion which can increase anxiety. If there is a medical cause see if it's something that can be improved with your vet's help. If she needs to go potty more often, she might need to be taken out earlier in the morning or to wear a doggie diaper at night. If the barking is simply behavioral for attention and not due to a medical cause, she should adjust to the laundry room, but you can also help her by sprinkling treats on her bed in there during the daytime to encourage her to spend time in there by choice, and give her a safe chew toy in there for boredom. Additionally, you can use an audio baby monitor to find out how long it takes her to become quiet, but for training to work you would need to ignore the barking and let her learn to relax in there, but it could help you have an idea or the level of stress and how many nights it takes her to settle down faster. If there is not an underlying medical cause and she has what she needs in the room like a bed, then I suggest trying it for five days to see if she learns to settle down quickly by the end of the week. That scenario would be short term stress but better long term sleep and sleep is important for health also, opposed to stress that continued for over a month and is more concerning. I am not a vet though, so I suggest speaking with your vet first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I want to start reintroducing a new bed and area for my dog to sleep in. It will be down stairs in the dining area, but he chews on everything. How do I trust giving him an open area to sleep when he chews on everything on down to the couch cushions and pillows?
Hello Chye, At his age he cannot be left unconfined without supervision. It is natural for a dog his age to chew and his jaws are actually developing right now - increasing his need to chew. Place a crate in the room that you want him to sleep in, crate train him and have him sleep in there. A crate is good for teaching dogs to chew on their own chew toys - preparing them for freedom later. It's good for teaching independence, self-sooth, and self-entertaining - which can felt prevent separation anxiety. It keeps a young dog from swallowing something dangerous that could kill them or require expensive surgery to remove. It makes traveling with the dog later easier. Gives you a place they can feel safe after injury, surgery, or while in a new location. Check out the article linked below and follow the "Surprise" method to introduce the crate, or work on all three methods. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Having him sleep in a separate room than you is a good thing to work on for the sake of traveling and better sleep if you desire that, he just needs to be crated in that room to keep him and your belongings safe until he is past all the major chewing phases around 1-2 years of age for most dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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