Help My Puppy Sleep Through the Night

by Donna
(Ireland )

I have a 4-month-old Shih Tzu cross and every morning it's getting earlier and earlier for him to start barking. I let him out to go toilet and put him back in and he barks constantly. Can anyone help me with getting him to sleep through the night, please? Any help would be much appreciated.

Hi, Janice Here from Miracle Shih Tzu

This is a very common question I get asked over and over again, so when people tell me their Shih Tzu puppy slept through the night it actually surprises me.

Puppies are a lot like human babies. They get lonely, need to use the bathroom, or even get hungry in the middle of the night. The difference between puppies and human babies is that we will respond to our human babies, but puppies should learn to make it through the night without too much intervention.

Puppies are still learning the routine and what is expected of them, so if we give in too much, they will assume that what we do is normal and to be expected. We don't want to get them into the habit of thinking they should wake up in the middle of the night.

It sounds as though this puppy not only needs to go out but also wants attention, maybe to eat or play.

There are some things that we can do to ease their discomfort during the night.

1. Provide a comfortable bed for them with a soft stuffed toy. Puppies seem to love using a stuffed animal as a pillow.

2. Take away their water earlier in the evening if the reason they are waking is that they need to go out. The same is true of food. If possible feed as early as you can.

3. Be sure to let them out the last thing before you go to bed. Take enough time so they do what they need to do before coming back inside.

4. If they sleep in a crate, you might want to put the crate near your bed. If they start to whimper, cry, or bark, you are close enough to tell them shhh.

5. Make sure the puppy is getting totally exhausted before going to bed. This means some rigorous play time in the evening or a walk if the puppy has learned to manage the leash. Most Shih Tzu dogs love to play and will be very active indoors, even more so than outdoors. (This is just the opposite of many breeds). You know what they say, "I tired puppy is a good puppy."

6. Along the same lines as above, if the puppy spends most of their day sleeping while the owner works, they are not going to need as much sleep at night. If this is the problem, make sure they have plenty of toys and chews to keep them occupied. If you can't come home at lunchtime, consider getting someone to come in and play with him at some point during the day.

7. Lastly, take a look at the puppy's sleep patterns. Is he falling asleep in the evening before you go to bed? How long is he sleeping before awakening? Puppies do need a lot of sleep but they get their sleep quota throughout the day.

For example, as I am writing this, it is about 10 AM. here. All 13 of my adult dogs are asleep and 5 puppies are too. It wasn't so quiet around here early. They were up at about 6 AM and ready to play, eat, go out and everything else that puppies do in the morning. After a few hours of being very busy, they are exhausted and ready to sleep again. After a couple hours of napping, they will be up again and ready to play.

The reason that I mention this is because of dogs, eat, drink water, play, go outside, chew on a bone and then settle down for a nap. This routine gets repeated throughout the day unless a person intervenes to keep them awake longer. Puppies, like young children, will sleep more than adults.

Sometimes just making a small adjustment in their schedule will keep them sleeping longer and also at the same time as you sleep.

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Sep 17, 2017
Puppies That Won't Sleep Through the Night
by: Janice

Hi, Janice here from Miracle Shih Tzu,

You are not alone. One of the hardest things about bringing home a new puppy is surviving the first few nights. The younger the puppy, the harder it is, but there are somethings you can do to make it a little easier. You have already done the first steps by bringing her area close to you at night.

I normally do not recommend having the puppy sleep with you for obvious reasons (little bladders), but talking to her softly from your bed is good. Getting a larger stuffed toy for her to snuggle with sometimes helps, making sure she is exhausted before bedtime also helps.

I have written an article about these problems on my other website. You may want to check it out as there are even more suggestions you might want to try. Good luck, this is temporary.

Aug 25, 2017
Not sleeping at all
by: Marina

Dear Janice

My pup is 7 weeks old and she cries all night unless I pick her up and put her in my bed with us. I have made her playpen upstairs very comfortable with all the bits and pieces you have recommended but she naps for 15 mins and then cries until we pick her up. I got her 2 days ago, is she still to young to be taken away from her mom? Is there anything else I should be doing to make her more comfortable?

Please advise

Mar 13, 2016

by: Janice

One of the joys of having a Shih Tzu is the company they provide at night.

As our puppies get older and potty trained, it is natural to want them nearby, and I personally do not see anything wrong with this practice.

Do my dogs sleep with me? Well, not all of them. King size bed or not, about six dogs is all I can handle at any one time and still get some sleep.

As Christine mentioned, if your dogs do sleep on your bed, they are more likely to get into the habit of falling asleep when you do and waking at the same time as you.

It is, however, a little hard to get a puppy to do this without him having an accident. Only one time did I allow a puppy on the bed before he was potty trained.

We put him in a soft carrier at the foot of the bed. He fell asleep and stayed asleep all night long without an accident. I probably would not recommend this method for keeping a puppy sleeping through the night except as a last resort.

This puppy? Well he is Toby, my top stud, and now he keeps my head warm by sleeping on my pillow.

Mar 13, 2016
by: Christine

My Bandit is 8 mos. now and now that he can jump on my king size bed on his own..he sleeps with me..every night..all nite...

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