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If your puppy sleeps in a crate, you’ll have to do a middle-of-the-night pee break
Puppies cannot hold their urine for more than a few hours. They don’t like being forced to sleep in their own mess. We don’t blame them. If you want to crate your puppy overnight, you will probably have to get up in the middle of the night.
Unless you have a tiny breed, a good rule of thumb is that a pup can hold their bladder for as many hours as they are months old. If they are exhausted, they may be able to hold it a little longer overnight, but they are not likely to make it all the way until morning.
When you take your pup for a toilet break, stay calm and quiet and don’t engage in any play or excessive cuddles.
Strategy Two: Teach Your Dog to Relax
Some dogs come with an off switch. I own one. I don’t know how I got Barley to lie quietly under my chair.
Keeping Barley sufficiently exercised is a huge part of my success. Karen Overall’s relaxation protocol is what it is.
The fifteen-day protocol teaches your dog to lie calmly on a bed, towel, or blanket for increasingly longer periods of time through scenarios which become increasingly more distracting. It is helpful for dogs that won’t sleep, and is one of my favorite skills to teach.
The goal of Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol is not to teach your dog to sleep, but to teach your dog to relax.
It is worth taking a few minutes per day to train your dog how to relax.
Strategy Three: Give Your Dog a Quiet Place to Sleep
Have you ever tried to sleep while people are talking?
It is hard for many people to sleep when their environment is busy or loud. This is true if you are not tired.
Try to give your dog a quiet place to sleep. A crate or bed in a bedroom can keep everyone happy because many dogs like being near their people. If you have guests over. You want your dog to sleep. It will help to have a quiet place for your dog to go.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, ugly or time consuming to create a quiet “den” for your dog. If we give my dog a blanket or towel to sleep on, he prefers this over a big dog bed.
Take note of where your dog is when she falls asleep. If you have a big fluffy bed in a dark crate and she chooses to sleep on the tile in your kitchen, your problem might be a mismatch between your dog’s preferences and her sleeping arrangements.
Giving your dog some quiet time to wind down before bed will help her relax into sleep instead of pacing, panting, or whining while you are trying to sleep.
Positive reinforcement is a key part of dog training. Establishing a regular sleeping area for your dog is important. The American Kennel Club encourages owners to set up a kennel, crate, or bed for their dog.
Use a treat to find your dog’s bed. Use a word to indicate release such as “ok” or “free” when dropping treats to him in bed. This process can be repeated a few times.
Call your dog’s bed by its name. Reward your dog with a treat when he goes to bed.
Continue practicing, increasing the duration of time spent in bed and away from the bed.
Things to Do
Your puppy will be comfortable in the bed. One size doesn’t fit all for puppies, like humans who benefit from a mattress well suited to their needs. For puppies that enjoy curling up, donut beds may be a good choice, or cushion beds may be a better choice. If you live in a cold climate, consider a bed that is warmer in the warmer months.
You can choose a bed location that has a little light, but is mostly dark. The temperature should be cooler. Take a few comfort items with you. If your puppy stays up playing, you should remove toys from his bed.
Before bed, take care of your needs. It’s possible that your puppy needs to go out at night to relieve himself. Give him plenty of exercise and stimulation before he goes to sleep. Consider a snack or treat before bed to give him something to snack on.