Sleep Training your Pet
Training your puppy or kitten to sleep through the night requires patience and a proper routine. You will need to take effort and lose a couple of nights of sleep to get them into a healthy sleeping pattern. Like babies they too need to be taught how to be active during the day and sleep soundly without crying at night.
If you are working with a young puppy or kitten since they are still growing they will be needing a lot of sleep anyway. Sleep training a puppy or kitten can happen in under a week while older pets might need some time and comfort to get accustomed to a new schedule and could take weeks or months. It is important to remember to be resilient with the training for it to be effective and ensure all members of the family implement the same routine.
To get started make sure your pet has a few beds around the house and especially ones that are in corners or private spaces. Make sure the bed and warmth provided is enough for them at all hours of the night. Make sure there is fresh water, toys, familiar smelling items around them when they are left alone to sleep.
Here’s some things you need to ensure:
- Make sure the bed and bedding is comfortable for your pet breed and size.
- Initially start with some bedtime treats and toys in their bed so they see it as a good space to be in with a lot of positives.
- Establish a pee and poo routine right before bed - taking them out and then slowly increasing the period between pee breaks till they learn to hold on at night. Remember while cats have an indoor litter box and once trained they will not disturb your sleep at night, puppies might still need to be taken out 2-3 times until old enough to control themselves.
- Leave your pet in a separate space for them to sleep - do not start by keeping them in the same room as you as they will disturb you. Cats especially are nocturnal and will be playing through late hours.
- Do not open the door and let your pet into the room under any circumstances. Even if they are whining / crying or pawing at your door. Only go out if you feel there is a real emergency or they desperately need to go out. Set up a waking up time as well before which you do not open the door.
- Establish a “Good night” or “Sleep time” command by saying it every night as you go to sleep. They will soon also understand this along with a “good morning” so they know you are always going to come back.
- Tire your pet out and keep them awake before bedtime. Long walks or play time will help them fall asleep. Make sure your pet gets enough exercise in the day and discourage sleeping late evenings.
- If your pet comes into your room remember not to yell or shoo them away. If they think waking you up causes a reaction they might be tempted to try again. Instead calmly take them back to their bed and close your door.
- If your pet is elderly take them to a vet if none of the above steps are working. They could have developed joint pain, or have some other issue that’s causing pain and discomfort.