Why is rest and sleep important for puppies?
A puppy can in many ways be compared to a small child: it needs a lot of closeness, security and above all a lot of sleep. Just like us humans, the little puppy’s body works around the clock to grow, gain a strong immune system and process impressions it has gained during the day. This means that even if the puppy is lying still, resting and sleeping most of the day, there is a lot of activity going on that is dependent on sleep.
A puppy that is allowed to rest and sleep a lot has plenty of energy, good appetite and greater ability to concentrate than a puppy that does not get enough sleep. You will be able to get in better contact with your puppy for training and upbringing, and you will above all have a lot more fun together because a rested puppy is often a happy puppy.
Rest and sleep are both routines, and routines are important for a puppy. Just as it is important to teach it how, when and where to urinate, to give it food at regular times and to be rewarded when it has done something good, the same applies to sleep and rest.
Difference between sleep and rest
Sleep is above all an important routine to learn when evening and night come. When the puppy is asleep, the body works intensively to strengthen the immune system, heal and grow. Good night and sleep routines will also give the puppy a good and safe foundation in his upbringing, and more quickly learn other routines such as showing that he wants to go out when he wakes up.
Sleep during the day is also important for the puppy to be able to recover and get new energy for future activities. Good sleep gives good appetite and better ability to concentrate to learn new things. Once a puppy has fallen asleep, let it lie down and sleep until it wakes up again. Disturbing a sleeping puppy can be just as difficult for the puppy as it is for us to be awakened. Above all, it can upset the feeling of security for the puppy, as it often sleeps well where it feels safe.
Unwinding and resting is above all important training if you notice that the puppy has started to stress or become anxious. Then it is difficult for it to disconnect the disturbance itself or go away to get peace and quiet. Make sure you are close at hand, be calm and quiet yourself and cuddle with the puppy until it has started to calm down. In the long run, it will make situations that were previously perceived as stressful, more manageable as the puppy gets older.
Getting the puppy to rest with you is also a way to maintain a safe point. In the past, the puppy’s safe point has been his mother and siblings at the place where it was born. Now you are the puppy’s safe point! To continue to be a safe point and a person that your dog turns to if it gets stressed or scared, it is good to practice resting in environments that are noisy, have loud noises or fast movements – or maybe when you are surrounded by others dogs? A safe place and a safe owner gives in the long run a safe dog.
How many hours should a puppy sleep?
The puppy sleeps many hours a day, and the number of hours gradually decreases as the puppy gets older. The first weeks you have the puppy at home, it can sleep between 16-20 hours a day. Some variations may exist between different dog breeds. There is no set rule for how many hours a puppy should sleep: it can also vary from day to day depending on what you have invented during the day and the puppy’s age. Usually you do not have to worry about the puppy sleeping too much, as long as it is still alert, responsive and has a good appetite. If, on the other hand, you notice a deviant sleeping behavior in your puppy – everything from too little sleep to too much – it may be a good idea to contact a veterinarian. Therefore, it is good to get to know your puppy’s needs, create routines and know what is a good general condition for your particular puppy.
How can you help your puppy to rest?
A puppy is usually very good at deciding for himself when he is tired and needs to rest or sleep. This is why you will often find your puppy in the most surprising and strange places in deep sleep. It may not always look so comfortable for us – but if the puppy needs to sleep, it does so regardless of whether it is on a stone floor or a sticky hall carpet.
However, there can be many situations where you as a teacher / master need to help your puppy to calm down. Here are some tips on what you can do to help your puppy unwind:
1. Lie on the floor
Come down to the puppy’s level and simulate a rest. Since the puppy needs a lot of closeness and love, it will most likely come to you on the floor to play or cuddle. Stay calm on the floor, pat and cuddle with the puppy in slow motions and speak in a soothing voice. Continue to be calm and slow to signal to the puppy that it is time to rest until he calms down and settles down.
2. Sleep close to the puppy
In the beginning, it can be good to sleep close to the puppy – especially if you notice that it is worried at night. If you do not want the puppy to sleep in the bed when it grows up, you can take a mattress on the floor and sleep near the puppy’s bed to provide peace, closeness, security and love. Remember to slowly phase out the routine as the puppy gets older, so that it eventually gets used to sleeping more on its own.
3. Give the puppy a safe corner
If a lot happens in everyday life with irregular working hours, many family members or other pets around, it can be difficult for the puppy to unwind. Then make sure to create your own corner for it, which is a quiet and peaceful place where no one can disturb. Maybe it’s a corner in the bedroom with a soft bed, or another installation in the home where you know it can sleep undisturbed.
A good way to get the puppy to rest – and above all sleep at night – is to create clear routines. This applies not only to sleep, but also to food, rest and games. All activities are connected and if you start showing the routines early, the puppy will also learn faster. For example, make sure you go to bed with your puppy at about the same time each night. Punctual routines the puppy learns quickly and it will feel when it’s time to go to bed.
Schedule rest breaks after activities or exercise. For example, if you have started to teach your puppy small commands, such as sitting or lying down, it can be good to rest up after you have practiced. It is – in addition to a piece of candy and encouraging cries – also a reward for the puppy after it has done well. Who does not like to take it easy after a demanding activity?
You can with advantage try to get in routines about where the puppy can or may sleep. When it’s time for a rest or sleep, you can lead the puppy to its own quiet corner and cuddle with it until it has fallen asleep. That routine will help the puppy understand that he should sleep when you lead him to his bed.
When the puppy gets too little rest and sleep
A puppy can – just like us humans – get far too little sleep. This can happen for several reasons: perhaps a daily routine has been disturbed, the puppy can not rest or that he is in a stressful environment.
A puppy that has had too little sleep, or above all gets too little sleep for a long time, can start to feel bad both physically and mentally. Problems that occur due to lack of sleep in the puppy can be:
- Sound sensitivity
- Weakened immune system
- Sensitive to touch
- Irritation or aggression in the puppy
- The puppy becomes stressed or anxious
- Concentration difficulties
- Learning difficulties
It is important that you know your puppy’s behavior in order to more easily detect behavioral changes. If you have a puppy that is generally extra sensitive to sound, this does not necessarily mean that it suffers from lack of sleep. However, should one or more of the above behaviors be considered deviant for your puppy, it may be a good idea to think about your sleep and rest routines. Also, do not forget to always contact your veterinarian if you find that the puppy is behaving or acting in a way you consider abnormal.