New Puppy Won't Sleep Through Night

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy 8 week old puppy will not sleep at night. She cries and yelps for us and we have tried everything imaginable. She does have a crate where her bed is and her blanket and we have also tried a T-shirt that my husband has been wearing in there to. We have had the crate closed and open, we have put her in different rooms, we have put toys in there, but nothing we do seems to get her settled. We would love to hear your thoughts or solutions. (Jennifer Hickling - United Kingdom)

Answer

It is common for young puppies to want attention, comfort and companionship during the night, particularly in the first few weeks in a new home. Unfortunately there is no magic solution, but you need your new dog to learn to behave as you would like to avoid getting into bad habits, and crate training is a very good place to start.

A crate is a very good way to train your dog when to have "down time". Dogs are den animals and many like a place they can curl up in and feel secure. Your dog's crate should be a place where she wants to spend time - it is important that she uses the crate during the day and associates it with nice things: For example you can place new toys and treats in the crate for her to find, reinforcing the good feelings she has for being in there. Your puppy's crate should also not be too big - she wants to feel secure and snug and there should not be too much room to move around.

You did not mention if you give your dog attention when you hear her crying - but it is important that your dog does not begin to learn that crying will reward her with attention from you. Some people crate their dog in their bedroom, and simply speak calmly to their puppy when she is disturbed during the night. It is also important that your puppy is not hungry during the night (check with your food brand or vet if you are feeding the required amount), and does not need to toilet - make sure she has the opportunity to go last thing at night. You can also try tiring her out more before bed time by having an intensive 30 minute play session or walk before going to bed. One other thing to try is to buy dog-friendly soft toys that she can snuggle up to.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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PattiMotley
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Added on Feb 13th, 2009
I understand your sleepless nights with your new puppy. I have gotten two puppies in the past year and did not sleep for the first week with my first puppy.
   
It was recommended to me to try using Comfort Zone spray. Well worth the $37 price for a small bottle. I sprayed it on his bed inside his crate about 10 minutes before bedtime and he slept through the night there on out (except for potty breaks in the middle of the night). I gradually weaned him off of the spray after a couple of weeks.
   
The second puppy I got only needed it for about a week, probably because the first puppy who was older than her kept her company.
   
You may want to give this a try. Good Luck!