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According to the AKC, puppies need 18-20 hours of sleep. Whoa! That’s a lot of hours spent snoozing away.
Your little guy, like a human baby, needs all that sleep to develop and grow into a healthy, strong adult dog.
While that is a good thing, sometimes getting a puppy to stay awake before her actual bedtime can be a real challenge. These little canines can drop suddenly after 7 pm only to wake up when the rest of the family is going down for the night.
As a pet parent, you desire to keep your bundle of joy awake until her bedtime. This way, you rest assured that she will sleep through the night or a good portion of it.
Surely, there must be something you can do to get your puppy to stay awake until it’s time to actually sleep.
Here, we have rounded up 5 tips to make this a reality for you.
1. Tire Her Out
One of the most effective ways to keep a puppy busy is to exercise her. Although puppies love to sleep, they also enjoy walking with their owners, playing with them, and running around.
Why not take advantage of that to keep yours up a little longer before she has to sleep for the night?
There are countless things to do that will get your little guy active.
If you can, walk her around the block and let her explore the world around her. Nothing too intense as the little fella’s bones are still developing at this stage. Steer clear of marathon runs and high jumping.
If you don’t have the luxury of taking the dog out to burn off some pent-up energy, engage in a game of fetch with her. A game of tug of war is also excellent as is chasing a flirt pole.
Spend 10-20 minutes of play with the pup either inside or outside a number of times before bedtime. Not only will this tire her out but it will add to her daily exercise needs. Plus, it will also help clear the pipes, making her sufficiently ready for bed.
Let your kids and other members of the family play with the dog if it is possible.
2. Offer Mental Stimulation
Mental stimulation is also an important part of raising a puppy. You need to exercise your dog’s intelligence just as much as you stimulate her physical body.
A few hours before bedtime, you can let her roam the yard to sniff around a bit. Dogs of all ages enjoy exploring the world with their noses more than you will ever understand. You can let her sniff around during walks as well.
Another fantastic idea for a mental stimulation game is to play hide and seek with the doggie. That’s right – puppies love to hide and seek a lot.
Have your spouse sit the dog as you look for a simple place to hide then ask them to command the dog to find you. When she does, offer praise and treats.
Mental stimulation toys can also engage your fur baby so she doesn’t sleep before bedtime. Hide a treat or two under a tennis ball and let the puppy figure out how to access it.
Alternatively, you can also buy a treat-dispensing chew toy and let the pup find out how to get the treat in it.
Last but not least, put the pup to the task of recognizing her toys. For example, move the busy bee toy further away from the dog and ask her to retrieve it.
If she does that successfully, move it further away and place it with other toys and ask her to get it one more time.
3. Train The Puppy
At 7-8 weeks of age, a puppy is ready to be taught basic command cues. Although your doggie may have a short attention span as a puppy, you can train her for a few minutes per session on a daily basis.
Before bedtime is great as you will be killing two birds with one stone—keeping her awake and actually training her.
Puppies do well with positive reinforcement and gentle training. Begin teaching them simple commands such as “sit” and “stand”.
You can use the principle of food-lure training where you entice the puppy to follow the scent of food into the right positions for “stand”, “stay”, and “sit”.
Food and treats are good motivators for dogs. As long as you offer a treat that’s too delicious to decline, your puppy will cooperate during training.
Give the command once and utilize the food or treat to get your puppy to move into position. Once the pooch performs the task, praise her verbally and pat her affectionately.
If she doesn’t obey the command, slow things down and repeat the same process. Do that a number of times before calling it a day.
4. Get A Solid Daytime Routine
The minute you get a brand new puppy from the breeder or rescue center, you want to get a good daytime routine for her.
Knowing that the little guy needs 18-20 hours a day, you should make sure she naps countless times during the day.
When you want her to be awake until 10 pm, it might be tempting to want to keep her awake during the day. However, like a human baby, the puppy will be overly stimulated and agitated and is likely to throw a tantrum. You don’t want that, ever.
To create a good schedule, you want to detail all the activities of the puppy from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed at night.
Determine and plan for when she will have breakfast, lunch, dinner, potty breaks, naptimes, playtimes, walks, and finally bedtime.
Try to stick to the schedule until the puppy learns what to do when. Things may not go as planned earlier on but with persistence and patience, you will be successful. Only then will your dog know when bedtime is and will not doze off at 7 pm.
Related Post: How Many Hours Does a Puppy Sleep at Night?
5. Let The Puppy Be
Sometimes you do all you can to get your puppy to open her eyes a little more before bedtime to no avail.
The reason could be that your bundle of joy is just too young to understand everything that’s going on around her.
Like babies, young puppies simply sleep whenever and wherever. One minute they will be up tearing the house apart only to drop drown and go to slumberland the next minute. At this point, no matter what you do, the puppy will be disinterested and will probably sleep right before your eyes.
As long as she is tired and well-fed, the puppy will take her rest. Over time, she will adjust and follow her schedule better.
Exercise patience here and plan on waking up at night when you’d rather be snoozing away. It won’t be too long before she’s in the swing of things.
Owning a puppy is a tall order. It takes time until things flow the way you plan.
If your little guy wants to nap right before bedtime, you can try any of the suggestions above.
Take her out for a walk, give her a chew toy or a treat-dispensing toy, train her a little, and check her daily routine. If nothing works, let her be. She will soon learn what is expected of her and will do it to please you.
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.