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- A new puppy that's restless or raucous at night can definitely get on your nerves (especially when you're dead tired!), but remember to take a sympathetic, understanding approach. After all, this is harder on your pup than it is on you; he's likely away from his mom and littermates for the first time and he's in a new, unfamiliar environment that may be scary or stressful for him.
- Most pups will do much better if they can sleep near you for the first few nights. Contrary to popular belief, this is true even if you plan to have your puppy sleep in another area of the house long-term. Helping your pup feel secure in those first few nights at home will help him to relax and better adapt to whatever sleep training arrangements you plan to use long-term. Having him in your room is fine, or you can camp out with him in another area of the house for a few nights. Most pups will sleep in a crate or in a dog bed in an exercise pen overnight, but in some cases, having him sleep in bed with you is an option, too – more on that in the book!
- If possible, ask your breeder or rescue organization where your puppy has been sleeping and what his sleep schedule has been. This can be a great help when planning how to schedule his first few nights with you, since you'll have at least some idea of what your puppy is used to and how long he can hold it between potty trips.
- Health issues can make sleeping through the night nearly impossible for some puppies. Diarrhea and urinary-tract or bladder problems can make it impossible for your puppy to hold it for long periods, and any other itchy or painful condition can make it hard for him to sleep. Be sure to have a thorough veterinary checkup soon after getting your pup!
- Avoid sudden food changes, especially while you're working on sleep training and/or housebreaking with your puppy. A sudden change can lead to BIG digestive trouble, which will make your training far more difficult. Whenever possible, find out what kind of food your puppy has been eating and keep him on it for at least the first few days after you bring him home. If you choose to switch to another food after that, be sure to switch over gradually; for most pups, a few days at 1/4 new food, 3/4 old food, followed by a few days at 1/2 and 1/2, then a few days at 3/4 new, 1/4 old before switching to feeding 100% new food is a good way to go.
- Don't put your puppy to bed with a full bladder and bowels – that's just asking for trouble! Giving the last food and water for the day about 3 hours before bedtime works well for most pups... but check with your vet to make sure your pup doesn't have any medical issues that require him to have food or water available to him in the evening.
- Your puppy might feel more secure if he has a "friend" to sleep with, so consider buying a Snuggle Puppy with a built-in warmer and heartbeat... or you could do it the old-school way and wrap a hot-water bottle and a ticking clock in a towel or blanket to give him something to snuggle up with!
- A white noise machine makes a soothing sound that can help puppies to settle down at night, helping to mask outside sounds that could wake your pup. It might help you sleep better, too!!
- Your pup will need overnight potty trips (newly adopted adult dogs may need them for the first couple of nights too), so be prepared. Have everything you need close to the bed: shoes or slippers, jacket or robe, flashlight or head lamp, leash, and poo pick-up bags!
- Most importantly, be patient with your pup. If you follow the plan, you'll BOTH be sleeping through the night soon. Sweet dreams!!