Friday, May 27, 2011

Is Your Puppy Getting Enough Rest?

How much sleep does your puppy get each day?  The average puppy has a very busy day, full of new experiences, play, training, socialization and travels.  All of this activity may leave your little pup tired and cranky.    It's important to be aware of how much sleep a puppy needs and be sure to meet that need.   

The Sleep Deprived Puppy
It's quite common for puppies to be sleep deprived .  A young puppy needs a minimum of 16-18 hours of sleep per day.   The majority of puppies get less sleep than they need which can result in a number of problems.  A puppy that is sleep deprived can become cranky, hyper, easily aroused, fearful, nervous, anxious, nippy and overly vocal.   Quite often people do not realize that their puppies undesirable behavior is the result of being tired. 

Establishing Better Sleep Habits
It's important that puppies have a regular sleep and nap schedule.  A young puppy will have more restful sleep in a confined area, such as a crate or gated area.   As tempting as it may be to allow your puppy to crash anywhere they please, refrain from doing this, especially when they're young.   Imagine trying to sleep peacefully in the middle of your living room floor, people walking by, talking to you, touching you.   For a puppy to have restful sleep they need to have their own 'quiet space', not in isolation, but somewhere that they can be left alone.  Utilizing a crate is the best approach and provides a safe haven for your tired puppy.   Try to resist the temptation to constantly hold your puppy as this will create an unhealthy dependency on you.  There is nothing wrong with cuddling and holding your puppy, but avoid rocking them to sleep, letting them sleep with you or carrying them around to keep them quiet.
Put together a schedule so that everyone knows the puppies routine.  The following is a good guideline: 

  • Puppy wakes in the morning
  • Outside for bathroom break
  • Breakfast
  • Playtime for 30-60 minutes
  • Outside for bathroom break
  • Nap for 1-2 hours
  • Repeat

Try to avoid long periods of time where the puppy is up and active.  Too often people try to impose their busy lifestyle on a young puppy.   A young puppy should not be up and active for hours at a time, taking naps throughout the day will ensure that they do not have a meltdown at dinner time.   Don't subscribe to the belief  that an overtired puppy will sleep better at night, that plan can backfire on you.  A puppy needs a consistent routine that includes play and exercise, but make sure naps and rest are included. 


  1. Michelle, thank you. I have been pulling my hair out. We have a 3 month old border collie/cocker spaniel cross puppy. When we brought her home we started with an 8pm "bedtime" but over the last couple of weeks we have extended that to closer to 10pm and have ended up with a nippy puppy that doesn't seem to listen as well as before. I am thnking she is cranky & overtired. I wish you lived in Albeta, but will keep my eyes open for a local trainer who can answer some of my puppy training questions. I am going to begin putting her on a schedule and see if that helps. p.s. I am now following your blog.

    1. Congrats on your new puppy! Check out our FB Page, we always have articles and video on training.


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