A Bedtime Routine That Helps Fido-- and You-- Sleep Be
People aren’t the only creatures who can suffer from sleeplessness. Dogs can suffer, too. And just like a human partner’s restlessness can keep a spouse awake, dogs who don’t sleep well can negatively impact their owners’ sleep.
If you are concerned your dog isn’t getting enough sleep, or if your dog’s restlessness is preventing it from settling down for the evening, just like with people, a nighttime routine can help.
Establish Their Spot
The first thing to consider is where your dog will sleep. Whether it’s on a dog bed, in a crate, or on a blanket on the floor in your bedroom, find one spot and stick to it. When working with puppies who recently weaned, PetMD advises to fill the spot with familiar smells by including something that smells like their previous home, like a T-shirt or toy.
Use the Same Language Every Night
Say, “Time for bed,” “Sleep,” or whatever phrase works for you and your dog. The important thing is to stay consistent with your wording so your dog knows what to do when it hears the command. The same is true for timing. Try to keep a consistent bedtime for your dog, so Fido gets used to sleeping and waking up at the same time every day.
Establish a Routine and Rewards
Offer your pet a soothing activity to look forward to before going to bed. Designate a bedtime-only toy, so that toy signals sleeping to your dog. Similarly, you can give your dog a specific nighttime treat. Dogs respond to reinforced behaviors, according to the American Kennel Club. Rewarding good sleep behavior will help ensure your dog will want to follow good sleep habits again.
Get Enough Daytime Activity
Daytime activity can also influence sleep. An energetic dog without time to run around during the day might pace at night. The ASPCA points out that a lack of physical and mental activity is a major cause for dog’s behavioral problems.
Sleeping well at night is key not just for your dog’s health, but your own, too. A good night’s sleep for you and your dog will make everyone in the house — both human and canine — happier.
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