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11/19/12

How to Get Your Dog to Sleep

Can't get your puppy or grown dog to settle down to sleep at night? Does it whine all night long? Here are a few ideas about how to change this behavior--or accommodate it in your home.

Steps

1 Identify the Problem. Puppies may miss the noise and warmth of a litter. Dogs are creatures of habit-- a change of sleeping situation may be the problem. If something stressful to the dog has recently happened, perhaps this needs to be addressed.


2 For a sleepless puppy: Make sure you have the following things: a warm bean bag or mat, and a clock that makes a rhythmic ticking sound. Put these articles under a cushion or a blanket where your dog sleeps! It should work like magic. You can also put the clock next to your dog. However you could also try putting a radio on softly.

3 If your dog is accustomed to sleeping in a crate, kennel, or other small space he or she may have a hard time sleeping in an open room. If you prefer your dog to sleep out in the open, or you don't have a crate, it may take a few nights of whining and pacing for her to get used to the new situation. Be patient! Show her where you want her to sleep, and, if she knows the command, tell her to do a "Down" and "Stay." You may need to get out of bed to correct incorrect behavior--but it'll be worth it in the long run.

4 If you want your dog to sleep in a crate, but he isn't "crate trained" it may take some time to get him used to the crate. Put special treats in the back of crate before you lead him to it. Make sure that when you say "Kennel" or "bedtime" you use a positive tone of voice--going into the crate to sleep shouldn't be a punishment. If you use it as a punishment, you may find that your dog never grows accustomed to the crate as a relaxing and quiet place.

5 Perhaps there are other issues--a big event, a change in household set-up-- that the dog is responding to. Just remember, dogs are happiest when the same thing happens everyday in the same way. A small change to you (like moving your bedroom furniture) may seem like a big deal to the dog. He'll get used to the change with patient and consistent correction from you.

6 Exercise! Dogs need about 40 minutes a day of running, panting, aerobic exercise. A restless dog at night may be a dog who needs more time tiring himself out.

7 Food. Dogs absorb energy from their food differently than humans do--because their food is a little different. Generally, dogs get a big energy push right after eating, so if you feed your dog late at night, she may be too energetic to get to sleep. Try feeding her earlier, and be sure to let her relieve herself before bedtime.

Tips

As in humans, yawning is contagious. Try yawning intentionally to your dog (puppy) and it can induce sleepiness in your dog.
Having a treat might help you lure your dog to his/her sleeping area.
It would help to have your dog calmed down, and put it in a quiet spot
Know your dog breed. Some dog breeds, such as border collies, lab, golden retrievers, and many terriers need much more that 40 min of exercise. They may need 40 minutes twice a day or up to 2 hours of exercise. Other breeds such as Bichons, mini dachshunds, great Danes need less. Size is not as important as what the dog was bred to do.
Make sure your dog doesn't sleep all day because that can make your dog awake all night and then you can't get the sleep you need.

Warnings

Be careful about the temperature of the hot item, it should be warm to the touch.
Also, a normal dog's body temperature is around 102 degrees Fahrenheit, so don't make it too cold.
Be careful about telling your dog to "stay". Stay means don't move until I tell you to, as in stay sitting until I tell you can get up. This is not something you can control after you go to sleep. By telling your dog to "stay" at night, she may not know she has to actually "stay" during other times. "Wait" or "go to your bed" may be better to use. This is picky but if you really want your dog to gave a good "stay" this is important.
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