Let sleeping dogs lie

Puppies and dogs need a place in the home to sleep and learn how to chill and switch off. I often get calls from clients about puppies being over excited, mouthing and biting their owners. Their owners do not know what to do in this situation. In some cases, I arrive at the client’s house and do not see anything set up for the puppy, such as a playpen, a crate or its own bed. They can have over-excited young children running around and thus sending the puppy over its threshold. Lack of sleep in puppies and adult dogs can lead to behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity, them being unbalanced or unfocused and it can also lead to health problems. This is why I like to teach puppies and adult dogs the settle exercise and invest in enrichment for relaxation. It is important to remember that if you are sending your puppy or dog to a day care centre, make sure that there are rest periods and your puppy or dog are not kept 10 hours in action, whether they want to or not because this can be very damaging.


Puppies are little bundles of energy; they usually sleep 18-20 hours a day. Sleep is essential to healthy growth, contributing to the necessary development of the central nervous system, brain, immune system, and muscles. All that sleep also helps your pup rest up during growth spurts.


Tips for helping your puppy get daytime sleep.


Leave your puppy undisturbed if sleeping for extended periods of time. It is hard to resist cuddling them and letting them fall asleep on your lap, but you do not want them to be dependent on you to fall asleep. You want to set them up to be a confident puppy for later on in life. Household members, including children, should learn to leave your puppy alone while they are sleeping, but be sure to keep an eye on them because when they wake up, they will need to be taken outside for toilets.


Show your puppy where to sleep.


If your puppy seems drowsy, encourage them to nap in their safe place such as a puppy pen/crate or their dog bed, just somewhere that they can nap undisturbed. It may take time for them to get the idea, but eventually, they will recognise that spot as their place to sleep.

Follow a schedule plan during the day so that active time is followed by a quiet time for sleep. They will most likely be ready for a nap after playtime or a walk. Your puppy may nap every hour or so, sleeping from 30 minutes to as long as two hours is perfectly normal.


Recognise overtired behaviour.


No matter how much fun you are having, do not let them get overtired. Too much stimulation and exhaustion can lead to unfortunate behaviour. Guide them to their crate or sleeping place and encourage them to wind down.


Justine Shone

JP Holistic Nutrition

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