How to train dogs to sleep at night

Updated February 21, 2017

Training a dog to sleep at night can be a difficult task fraught with several sleepless nights. But with some patience, it can be accomplished. Do not scold or get upset with your dog if things don't go well the first few nights. If your dog is older than 6 months, the training process should take less than a week. Remember to let your dog set the pace and to try not to rush the training process.

Play with your dog actively throughout the day. Take him for walks, play fetch and give him lots of love. Tire him out.

Wake your dog up if she starts to take a nap during the afternoon or evening. This may seem cruel, but she will not be able to sleep at night if you let her nap throughout the day.

Feed your dog her last meal at least three hours before bedtime, giving her plenty of time to do her business before it's time for bed.

At bedtime, place the dog bed in your room. Your dog will sleep better at night if he can see you and see that you are sleeping. If you are not willing to do this, then place the dog bed in a nearby room where you can still hear him. If you can't hear him, use a baby monitor so that you will know when is awake.

Place soft, warm blankets on his bed and a dim night light nearby. Turn on low, relaxing music. Comfort is important to dogs.

Place everything you would need for a late-night potty run by your bed, just in case. This includes your slippers and his leash.

Take your dog out for a potty run immediately before putting him to bed.

Tuck your dog into her bed. Bring her over to the bed, lay her down, put a hot water bottle by her for comfort. If she starts to get up, bring her back to the bed and do it over. Repeat the process until she stays on her bed. Turn off the lights and go to your own bed.

If your dog whimpers or cries, get up and attend to his needs; he probably needs to go out. Grab the stuff by your bed and take him outside immediately. Don't play with him or talk to him. The idea is to get him back in bed as soon as possible. If you notice your dog needs to go potty at the same time every night, adjust the timing of his feeding and last potty run. If your dog is still a puppy, you might need to set an alarm every night for that time until he gets a little older. Be patient. Eventually he will not need to go potty in the middle of the night.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog bed
  • Blankets
  • Night light
  • CD player
  • Hot water bottle
  • Slippers
  • Leash
  • Flashlight
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About the Author

Naomi Vogel started writing professionally in 2009. Vogel has written for "Volume One," "The Leader Telegram," "Spiral Natural Foods" and "The Student Voice." Vogel has a bachelor's degree in journalism and theater from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Vogel received the Journalism of Excellence Award from her university in 2010.