Things will surely not go exactly as planned all the time. Adopting a puppy and letting him stay in your home for the first time is surely stressful for him. It will be hard for your puppy to adapt to his new environment, so it’s your responsibility to keep him as comfortable as possible for his first night home. The first step is learning how to calm down a puppy at night.
Expect your puppy to cry and struggle while you attempt to put him in his crate – the experience is like having a newborn. Your puppy is confused because it’s a new, unfamiliar place, with no other sibling around. Worse, he’s been taken away from his mother which makes him suffer from separation anxiety.
Now your puppy is lonely and in fear; he can only express those feelings by squalling. What can you do to calm the puppy down? Here are the most effective ways to stop your puppy from crying. These methods are applicable to both new puppies and puppies who are already with you for the while.
Place hot water bottle under
You can trick your beloved puppy that he’s still with his littermates by placing a bottle containing hot water underneath his covers. The warmth will mimic the sensation of having his littermates around. Try not to put your puppy at risk of skin burns by covering the bottle with a cloth. The warmth must be just cozy enough for him to feel the heat.
The heat can be quite comforting for your puppy, consequently helping his body relax. You don’t need to refill the bottle with hot water because the puppy might be disturbed when you try to get it. Besides, he sure won’t notice the bottle cooling down and he’ll be sleeping in no time.
While it’s a good idea to use heating pads as a substitute for hot water bottles, it’s actually more harmful than you think. Heating pads are not an ideal way to deliver a warming sensation to your puppy. The puppy can burrow down the pads and come into direct contact with the heat, possibly causing serious burns.
Exercise with your dog
Now, this requires great effort on your part; but you can benefit from this too. A puppy who still has a lot of energy in-store will have a hard time calming down for the night. An exercise routine might help.
About 10 to 20 minutes before going to bed, you can play with your dog until he tuckers out. You can also take your puppy for a long walk outside. That way, he will be more willing to finally rest in his crate as opposed to being wide awake.
While it’s important to have some bonding period at your bed after the exercise, do not allow your dog to make it a habit to take a cozy nap at your feet. Make him become familiar with his crate instead of your bed.
Make sure to keep him up and active should you want to spend time with him at your bed after the exercise. Once he’s too tired to make a fuss, that’s the perfect time to do a massage (discussed below).
Lure him with his favorite toy
Another way is to keep your dog busy with his favorite toy. The trick is to keep his favorite toy right in his crate and allow him to play with it until he’s sleepy. The toy is an effective way of keeping him busy in times when he’s not sleepy yet. Sooner he’ll be tired and sleep on his own. This is the ideal technique if you are busy and can’t attend to him at the moment. This is also an effective way for you to sleep without hearing your puppy whine.
Give your puppy your own scent
Another way to calm your puppy down is to soothe him with your own scent. The reason why he doesn’t want to stay in his crate is that he wants to stay with you. Most puppy breeds prefer to stick to their new owner especially during the sleeping time – it helps them feel secure.
With that in mind, you can put an old T-shirt to the crate so your puppy can smell your scent and will make him think that you are nearby. That way he will not whine and can easily go to sleep.
Don’t mind the whining
When there’s really nothing wrong about your puppy, you can ignore the whining. It’s normal for the puppy to whine if he’s being put in his crate. As much as you can, don’t mind the whining and witness your puppy become quiet eventually.
If it’s not much of a hassle to you, dogs can whine for up to 30 minutes. That half an hour can even feel much longer for you. But they’ll get tired eventually and will finally calm down and go to sleep.
Do NOT ignore your puppy’s whining if it happens AFTER he has been asleep for a while. Whining can be your puppy’s way of telling you he needs a potty break – which is pretty common during the middle of the night. Be sensitive enough to realize they are whining due to an urgent reason. Let them out of the room and give them the break they deserve. Waking up in the middle of the night is one of the prices of having a dog in your family.
Put a ticking clock
Another life hack is placing a ticking clock on his crate. Put the clock inside an old sock and tie it somewhere in the corner of his crate. An old-fashioned clock will mimic the sound of her mother’s heartbeat and will effectively soothe him down. He will think his mother is nearby, giving him a calming sensation while the clock tucks him to sleep.
Limit food and drinks before bedtime
Unless you intend to keep your puppy energetic during the night, you would want to limit the food and water before you want him to sleep. About an hour before bedtime, cut the food and water of your puppy.
Allowing your dog to come to bed with a full stomach and bladder will surely disrupt both of your sleeping cycles. You will wake up more than once to the whining of your puppy who wants to get out for some comfort time.
Importantly, limiting the number of after-dinner snacks (or prohibiting it totally) is another technique to make your puppy calm down faster to sleep. The best part is you’ll have fewer midnight trips to your bathroom.
Play some music
You can also make use of some music simultaneously while having that old-fashioned clock in his crate. However, make sure the music is soft and downright calming. Soft music can relieve your puppy’s stress levels, consequently relaxing him in the process. He will surely fall asleep with the calmness of the music. Furthermore, the music can even help you put yourself asleep also.
Keep your puppy close
Now here’s the question: Where, exactly, did you place your puppy’s crate? If you put it away in a separate room, then you can really expect your puppy to whine and struggle to get out of it. The secret here is to let your puppy sleep in the same room with you.
Experts say that keeping your puppy close is like officially accepting him as part of your pack. However, do NOT let him sleep with you in your bed. You get the best place to sleep as the pack leader. And your puppy must also be in his respective crate somewhere in your floor.
How to calm your dog down with a massage
Massaging your dog is a good skill to master. Not only will it deepen the bond between you and your puppy, you can also use massaging techniques in calming your dog down. Massage is an effective approach to initiate transition from dynamic training and playing hours to bedtime.
Including a massage into your daily routine will surely make your dog adapt to the trend and learn the right time to settle down. Here are some great massaging methods you can practice whenever your dog becomes unusually active at night.
1. Rubbing the chest
Having their chest rubbed is probably the best feeling for your puppy. In a circular motion, gently stroke your puppy’s chest. Be careful not to rub your puppy too fast because it may cause excitement. Putting too much pressure on rubs can also be harmful.
Take time to experiment and figure out what type of chest rubbing makes your dog relax pretty easily. You can also combine your massage with a vertical motion between the forehead and snout using your thumb. Another option is to stroke your puppy’s cheeks while rubbing the chest. It’s up to you to choose the combination you prefer.
2. Massaging the ears
The ear is another good spot for a massage. A dog’s ears consist of numerous nerve endings that when massaged, can trigger the release of endorphin’s all over the body of your puppy. So it makes perfect sense that a great way to massage your dog is through its ears. Paying attention in that specific area is a sure-fire way of promoting relaxation.
Doing this is pretty simple. Using your fingers, just do some slow, circular strokes of movement from the base to the outward ear. Make sure to use only a slight pressure. Don’t forget to watch your puppy indulge his owner’s affectionate massage until he calms down and finally falls to sleep.
3. Stroking down the side of the body or the face
A calming stroke is indeed the most effective way of making any puppy relax. And the best areas to do such is the side of the face or the body. You can do small circular motions and slow strokes that focus on the side of the face or the body. Here’s the best way to deal with the body length of a dog:
- Gently place or touch the base of your puppy’s neck
- Now run your hand slowly along the spine
- Continue doing the motion towards the base of your puppy’s tail
- Repeat in a calm manner
It’s important that you sweep as gently as you can without pressing too hard. Do it in a slow, repetitive motion. Once you can notice your puppy has calmed down, end the session by pressing the base of the tail and the base of head lightly.
Nothing gets more personal than massaging your puppy. He will surely acknowledge you more as his owner and the bond between the two of you strengthens significantly. Apart from that, massaging is one of the most effective ways of calming your puppy down.
How to calm down a highly sporty dog
1. Deep massage
There are also ways to calm down a puppy or dog that tends to be active in sports and is fond of doing training. Basically, a massage will do well but the secret lies in the intensity. This time, you have to make deeper muscle massages.
2. Consult a veterinarian
For better pet care knowledge, visiting a veterinarian is a good idea. The veterinarian can also teach you warm-up exercises and signs of overuse or injuries. You should also consult a professional canine massage therapist and have him evaluate the best massaging techniques for your specific breed.
Calming down your beloved puppy during the night could be hard especially if you’re still a novice owner. Dogs tend to whine incessantly as they tend to struggle to be let out of their crate. Even after your dog grows up, there can still be times he becomes so active that you need to personally lend a hand and try to settle him down.
Good thing you already know how to calm down a puppy at night. Even the sportiest dog will surely not escape from those calmative techniques that will soothe them to a restful night.