Do you know how many zzz’s your puppy is catching in a 24-hour period? You might be surprised to learn that puppies are supposed to be getting between 16-18 hours. A lack of sleep can affect their behaviour, concentration and health.
Puppies can tire very quickly and often need guidance to get some rest. For many they don’t know where their off switch is and don’t want to miss out on all the fun with you. There is a little pattern you can follow to make sure your pup is able to relax and get some sleep. Play-Chew-Sleep-Repeat
Play: This can include mental stimulation, exercise (limited- 5 minutes per month of their lives), training, playing with you or another dog, feeding, meeting friends, family and strangers etc
Chew: Chewing is a brilliant way to de-stress a dog but as puppies it’s a behaviour they need to practice as their teeth push through. Allowing a puppy to chew doesn’t mean chewing their toys and it’s not something you really wish to encourage especially if your pup is prone to eating bits! Look at the edible chews- antlers, rabbit or deer ears, pizzles, rice bones etc, stuffed Kongs, cold or frozen carrots etc
Relax/Sleep: If they are given the chews in their crates or on a mat somewhere quiet then this should help them to settle and send them off to sleep. Just chilling in their crates or beds is as good as sleep sometimes – it’s a chance to take time out and process the information they have been exposed too.
Young dogs are often really bad at taking themselves off to relax/sleep so a good routine will help encourage them to relax.
What else can we do to help them?
- If they are settled, leave them alone. Too often people see a dog comfortably sleeping and then fuss or cuddle them.
- Have more than one bed available to them. Dog’s like choice and will often change their sleeping places.
- Locate the beds in quiet areas rather than busy places in the house so they can take themselves away from noisy situations. If you have children or children that visit teach them to leave the dog alone when he is in his crate or bed.
If you have just brought your puppy home don’t leave them to cry at night on their own. They have just left mum, their siblings and everything they once knew. Your home will be strange to them so they will be scared and confused. You can either sleep downstairs with them or have them in your bedroom. After a few nights, or when your pup is ready, you can start to wean them off. By doing this you will not cause separation anxiety. Research suggests by leaving them to cry you will cause emotional distress.
If it seems your puppy is extra hyper and his behaviour appears to be extreme, consider your puppy’s diet. If you are feeding a commercial/processed diet, take a look at the ingredients. Does the food contain grains for example corn, wheat, etc? What are the first 2 or 3 ingredients listed? Are they listed as meat or meat derivatives? Take a look at www.allaboutdogfood.com to see how the food you are feeding is rated. If it isn’t rated very highly search for a better diet. Also consider enhancing the diet with fresh meat, fruit and vegetables.
The amount of sleep will change with age. Young and old dogs will need more sleep. If you have a dog who follows you around and can’t settle take a look at your set up to see if you can change something to help the situation.
If he’s showing signs of being ‘naughty’ it will probably be linked to being tired so bare this in mind and help your dog, don’t punish him!
Ever wondered what your dog is doing when you have left the house? Does he sleep? Set up a camera to get a true reading of exactly what your dog is up too. You might be surprised!