A recent study by Dogs Trust confirmed what most of us already knew – puppies sleep for less time at night than older dogs, and both choose to be close to people if given the option.
While puppies aged 16 weeks sleep for significantly longer than older dogs during the day, they sleep for less time than older dogs at night – only starting to march their owners’ sleep patterns around the first year of age. By that time, 27 per cent of owners will have started allowing the dog to sleep in their bed as opposed to 13 per cent who allowed it when the puppy was 16 weeks old.
Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behaviour and Research at Dogs Trust, said, “These findings provide a fascinating insight into what the nation’s puppies get up to when the curtains close at night and it’s time to go to bed.
“We know how testing it can be for new dog owners to settle their four-legged friends, especially in the first four months of a puppy’s life, and that’s why we are sharing our top tips for a good night’s sleep.”
She added, “Whether it’s making sure your pooch has had the right amount of exercise during the day, has a comfy and safe place to settle down or even just teaching ourselves to recognise signs of tiredness in a dog, these tips could help our pooches to drift off peacefully at night.”
Dogs Trust’s top tips for a good night’s sleep
- Include walkies, playtimes and short, fun training sessions within your puppy’s daily routine so they’ve enjoyed using their brains and bodies and have plenty to dream about.
- Create the cosiest, comfiest den for your puppy somewhere away from the busier areas of the home so they have somewhere lovely to relax undisturbed.
- Evening routines can help prepare your puppy for a good night’s sleep, and if you tend to do the same types of activities your puppy will learn what to expect.
- Help your puppy out by reducing anything that is catching their attention, so closing the curtains and settling down yourself can help them switch off.
- When pups are growing tired, they might suddenly appear to be very energetic and dash about the home, an activity that is often called the ‘Zoomies’. They can also become agitated or restless and might even start to bark or mouth owners by grabbing their owner’s hands or clothing with their teeth. It can be helpful to know this because often owners think their sudden burst of energy means they need more exercise when they really need forty winks.
- Puppies are born into, and generally sleep, in family groups so they need to learn to enjoy being in a cosy bed all by themselves. This can take a little time, but you can help them by staying close by and ready to respond if they appear distressed.
Dogs Trust is calling on people across the UK and Ireland with a puppy under 16 weeks of age to sign up to the Generation Pup study.