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How To Teach Your Dog To Settle At Night

Written by ADAPTIL Expert, published on June 28, 2024

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Being able to get your pooch to settle at night is important for both you and your pup. If you’re reading this article, we imagine you have a rather unsettled pooch at home, who is struggling to settle at night. Well, fear not! As, we are here to help you and advise you on how you can teach your dog to settle at night.

Much like us humans, pups can struggle to sleep at night. The reasons vary and can pop up in your pup’s life at any given time. Some reasons your dog may be unsettled at night include:

  • They are not comfortable, be it because of bedding, temperature, or ventilation.
  • If they are young, they could be teething, overtired or needing to go to the toilet.
  • They may not enjoy being alone.
  • They are not comfortable with new surroundings or routine.
  • They have a medical issue that is bothering them.
  • There are noises that are disturbing them. (Animals outside, your boiler starting up or even rubbish being collected early in the morning).

If you have spotted one of these situations, they are likely having a tough time trying to settle at night. Read on to find out some general rules you can implement that enable your dog to calmly get ready for bedtime.

 

Labrador Retriever dog in their bed, asleep at night.

Sleeping Arrangements

Sleeping arrangements are individual to you and your family. However, you will find that the advice for a new puppy or re-homed pup is to have them in your bedroom at the beginning, to keep them feeling reassured and secure. This can be in a crate or a dog bed, whichever works best for you both! Over time, you can then gradually move them to where you’d like them to sleep normally.

For any puppies, being alone is scary! They have just left their canine family and the security their presence provided. ADAPTIL Junior can help your puppy settle into their new home by helping them feel reassured and secure. The dog-appealing pheromones in our products mimic those released from their mother when she provides reassurance to her pups. If you have an older pooch, such as a foster dog or rescue, ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser can help in a similar way.

 

Puppy asleep in a bed next to its crate.

Bed Time Routine

You might have heard this time and time again, but routines are very important for dogs. They help to predict events, which is important for their well-being and can help them to be a less nervous dog. As a part of their bedtime routine, you could try to include some physical or mental stimulation beforehand to help tire them out. It is important to try and avoid anything that could get them very excited or aroused. We find doing a snuffle feed or hide and seek using treats works well!

When it’s near their bedtime and things are winding down, make sure to plan a last toilet trip. This may mean they don’t need to go as often in the night if at all.

Another tip would be to keep things very calm and low key. When teaching a dog to settle at night, we want to keep things very calm and almost boring! Think about what you would do to settle down at night. It might be something like reading a book or having a night-time tea, right? So, we want to implement the same thing for your pooch! Setting them up for success at night time will help you sail through the night with hopefully no interruptions.

 

 

Dog lying on bedroom floor whilst parents sleep in the bed.

Training For Success

It is important to remember praise when learning how to teach a dog to settle. You may try to train a “settle” by creating scenarios where your pup is encouraged to enter their crate or bed. When your pup settles there, even for a moment, – reward, reward, reward! Building a positive association with their sleeping area will help them to feel safe and comfortable there. This reward can be anything, but we recommend using your pup’s favourite treat or even just reassuring praise such as “good boy/girl”.

One key thing to remember is to always reward when your pup is quiet, otherwise you may accidentally reward the wrong type of behaviour!

Inevitable Interruptions

As you begin teaching your dog to settle, there may be a few bumps in the road. Don’t get disheartened – this is entirely normal. Especially if you have a young puppy or newly homed rescue, where they are unsure of their surroundings. 

We recommend that if your pup wakes you up in the night, to not ignore them. They might need to go to the toilet! In this case, make sure to keep the interaction to a minimum and try not to excite them as you may accidentally reinforce the behaviour. At this moment we would also have a quick check to make sure your pooch isn’t injured or unwell. Ignoring your pup can be stressful for them and can affect the quality of their sleep, which wouldn’t help them learn to settle. 

 

Jack Russell puppy asleep on the bed.

 

If you are interested in learning more on how to teach a dog to settle, get in touch! We love helping in any way we can. You can also stay informed with our latest tips, guides, and product information by signing up to our newsletter.

Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.

Make sure to join our community for weekly advice from our dog behaviour experts as well as product offers and competitions. 

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