Should you leave your dog downstairs at night?
The simple answer is yes, you really should. New puppies are so adorable but remember when fully grown it will not be so convenient to have them sleeping in your room and heaven forbid on your bed.
So no matter how heart breaking it might seem to you, you simply MUST train your dog to sleep downstairs.
If your dog currently sleeps upstairs/in your room, then this article will show you how to get transition your dog into sleeping downstairs.
I've spoken to several experts about this subject, including top breeders, veterinarians and animal behaviourists. Based on their views and my own experience I've written this article.
Lets start with puppies first and then we'll move onto older dogs.
Puppy sleeping arrangements
When you first bring a new puppy home, it can be super exciting. You’ll want to do your best to make the transition to their new home as easy and stress free as possible.
When you’ve introduced him to the family and shown him around, the thorny question of what to do at night soon crops up.
Should you let your pup sleep in your room? Is it cruel to leave them alone at night? How do you start training your dog to sleep downstairs? It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
When it comes to drinking water at night see this article to find out more about drinking a lot of water at night
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place as my family have been involved in dog breeding, showing and training for almost 60 years.
Later, we’ll go through how to start training your dog to sleep downstairs at night. First, though, let’s address the question of whether you should leave your dog to sleep downstairs at all.
Should I leave my puppy downstairs at night?
On the first night your puppy comes home, it is best to let him sleep in your room as your house is a whole new world for him and he will need comfort and attention, at least for a few days.
Young puppies tend to wake up crying during the night, so it would be good for you to be nearby.
Another reason not to leave them downstairs alone is that puppies won’t be able to sleep through the night without needing to go out and relieve their bladder.
You may choose to crate train your dog, but it will take a few days for your pup to accept it. Be prepared for some whinging at first.
Puppies love routine, so introducing them to a night-time routine as soon as you can is a good idea. You’ll want to set a time when you take your pup out to do his business and a time when you go to bed. Try not to deviate from this, so make your usual bedtime your puppy’s bedtime too.
Should my puppy sleep in my room?
When they bring a puppy home, some people think that the best thing to do is to shut him in the kitchen at night and leave him to cry so that he gets used to sleeping alone. That used to be advice imparted to most prospective dog owners.
But is that advice valid anymore? If it’s not, where is the best place for a puppy to sleep?
The advice nowadays is a little different. Your dog is not crying at night just to get your attention, he is crying because he is scared. He has been taken from everything familiar to him and thrust into a new foreign environment and is expected to cope.
To help minimise the stress your adorable little puppy experiences, you should let him sleep in your room to begin with, perhaps in a crate next to your bed. This is also convenient for taking your pup out for potty breaks in the middle of the night.
As he grows older, your dog can choose where he wants to sleep, if you have more than one dog bed in the house. You should not let puppies roam around the house at night unsupervised. When he is trained and a little older you may think about letting them have free reign, if you have made the house safe for them.
One of the best beds out there for a Cavapoo is the Bed Sure Orthopaedic dog bed, which is extremely comfortable and will suit almost any age and size of dog. It helps protects your dog's spine and joints and has a water proof liner. There are loads of cheaper options but this is real quality and will outlast any cheaper option.
Next, we’ll talk about whether it is cruel to let a dog sleep alone at night.
Is it cruel to leave a dog alone overnight?
If your dog is fully trained, it should be fine for your dog to be alone overnight, provided he has somewhere to do his business as needed. You should not leave them by themselves for too long if they don’t have a chance to relieve themselves somewhere.
If your pooch suffers from separation anxiety or is not used to being alone in the house for extended periods of time, it could cause them undue stress if you leave them overnight. A kinder option, if you have any doubt, would be to hire a dog sitter for the night.
How do I get my dog to sleep alone at night?
If you need to get your dog used to being alone, you’ll need a safe place to confine your pup in your home, like a puppy crate. Start creating happy associations with the crate. You could:
- Feed your pup meals inside it.
- Allow them to play with special toys they only get when they’re in the crate.
When you’re at the stage that they are happy to be in the crate, you can start teaching them how to be alone.
- Leave them with a chew toy and walk out of the room.
- Return at once and give them a treat and praise them as a reward.
- Repeat this process leaving longer intervals before you return and reward your pup if they are calm and quiet. Don’t make too much of a fuss when you check on them, as you don’t want your dog to miss you when you leave.
- After a while, you should be able to leave him for quite a long time.
If your dog is crying in the crate, he likely hasn’t yet learnt to associate the crate with happy, good things, or you’ve left him for a bit too long. Don’t make a habit of letting him out when he fusses, as this will teach him that if he cries, you will come back and give him attention.
When your dog is comfortable being left alone for an extended period, they are ready to be trained how to sleep alone at night.
One of the first steps to getting your dog to sleep through the night alone is to make sure he has had plenty of exercise through the day. Do you have a Cavapoo pup and want to learn more about his exercise needs? Check out our post on how much exercise a Cavapoo needs.
When your pup has tired himself out, you should do your best to avoid games that will get him pumped up shortly before bedtime. Keep his night-time routine as calm as possible, and make sure he’s been out to do his business. You could give him a signal that it’s bedtime, like brushing his teeth just before.
If you are still crate training your pup, make sure the crate is comfortable, perhaps by giving him a blanket and something to chew on. This can be especially useful when your puppy is teething. Read our post on teething here.
If your pup sleeps in a dog bed outside of a crate and seems reluctant to get in, put a treat in the bed. He’ll soon get the idea.
It’s time to share some tips on how to get your dog to sleep downstairs.
How to train your dog to sleep downstairs
There are several ways you can train your dog to sleep downstairs. One of the best ways is to use the "Rinse & Repeat" method. It is imperative to get them into a fairly rigid routine. Dogs like routine, and when good behaviour is done often, it becomes habit forming.
Before you begin, make sure you have a comfy dog bed, toys and treats to make his sleeping area appealing. Familiarise your pup with his new sleeping area by taking him to it for a few minutes a day, shortly before you start training him.
Now you can get started. Remember to be patient, as it might take your puppy a while to get use to the new routine.
To follow the Rinse & Repeat Method:
- Follow a timeline and be consistent. Give him his evening meal, take him out to do his business, and put him to bed at the same time each night. This will bring your dog comfort.
- Leave a treat on the bed to encourage your dog to get into it every night.
- Say ‘good night’ to him after you’ve spent a couple of minutes stroking him and gently playing with him. When he’s happy and comfortable, say goodnight and leave him.
- Go and get him the following morning. If your pup isn’t up already, go to greet him by saying good morning and stroking him.
Doing this each morning and evening will teach him that you decide when and where he goes to bed. It also reassures him that you’ll be there when he goes to sleep, and that you’ll still be there when he wakes up in the morning.
I recommend you read my article, my dog wakes up too early.
When it comes to leaving your puppy/dog downstairs at night, be patient and consistent and it will soon pay off.
After reading this, you will know exactly how to make your adorable new puppy comfortable at night. We hope this helped reassure you and gives you confidence as you begin your journey with your new puppy.
You’ll know what to do from the first night he comes home with you, all the way up to when he’s ready to settle down in his own space or room at night.
If nothing else, you can be sure that there will always be someone happy to see you in the morning!