My new puppy WON’T sleep at night!!!

by Laura W
(Moncton, NB)

I just got my new puppy, Duke. He’s now 7 wks old. I understand things take time and he needs to learn, but he WILL NOT clam down enough to go to sleep. He runs and plays all day, then come bedtime he’s quiet UNTIL he’s crated. then he howls and whines. Any other time of the day he’s okay with being in his crate, its just at night.

I know i’m supposed to leave him be till he settles down. But this will happen at all hours of the night. Around here there are laws that the city enforces (with fines) for noise after certain hours. Therefore I cannot let Duke be howling for long periods at 4AM.

I have tried so many things that have worked with previous dogs, a clock, a warm water bottle, treats, toys to keep him occupied, his favorite pillow, a small radio & fan, even tried wetting him down thinking maybe he was too hot!! Nothing works. It seems to only be getting worse.

It’s been a week now without sleep and I’m getting frustrated and tired.

Any help….

Hi Laura
As you already know this is pretty much standard practice with a new puppy. Some are less stubborn than others and settle down more quickly, but is sounds as though Duke is a determined little guy.

I wish there was another answer for you, but in fact ignoring him totally (as long as you’re sure he doesn’t need a potty break) is all you can do. Going to him, talking to him, trying to ‘settle’ or comfort him will only make things worse.

Of course the fact that there are laws against a lot of noise at night are a factor, if he’s indoors in your home in a closed room, inside a crate… then hopefully not too much noise will get outside. As long as it’s cool enough indoors (ie A/C if it’s hot outside) then you can even throw a blanket over part of the crate to help muffle the sound if it’s absolutely necessary. But be sure he doesn’t overheat.

A week with no sleep can seem like forever (I know how it feels, I have 6 kids and have raised quite a few dogs!), but this is a battle of wills that you need to win. Be patient and hold your ground and Duke will learn.

At 7 weeks old he’s still a tiny baby though and chances are he really needs a potty break at least once, maybe even twice, during the night. If he’s been asleep for a couple of hours and then wakes up crying, go to him immediately and get him outside. Don’t make it a fun outing.. no eye contact, minimal interaction (just the ‘potty’ command and a ‘good boy’ in a low voice), then get him back into his crate and you go back to bed. Ignore him complaining.

Sorry there’s no magic answer, but if just stick with it this phase will pass. Best of luck.

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