Blog by Irene Hislop
The short answer is more than you probably think! When they’re not chowing down on the puppy food that they need to grow big and strong, or tearing around, puppies can usually be found sleeping. Puppies seem to have two speeds – crazy and off. Young pups sleep up to 20 hours a day. This is normal, and they need that sleep to grow and develop. They are taking in so much new information constantly, and all those hours of sleep are when their brains organise it. So your pup will nap a lot, and as they grow, their sleep patterns will change. But even adult dogs sleep a lot during the day – around 14 hours.
Your puppy doesn’t need their own room, but they do need their own bed. It’s their safe space to rest, and everyone in the family should respect that. Parents need to teach small children that when the dog is in their bed, it is not time to play with or pet them. It can be handy to have a couple of dog beds, depending on where you want your dog to sleep at night and how much room you have in your house.
Crates are increasingly popular. (Please note that a crate is not the same as a carrier. A crate here is a large pen. Your dog should be able to stand up and walk around in it.) While it isn’t good to leave your dog in a crate all day, they should have access to it so they can retreat for a rest when they want.
Getting Your Pup into a Good Sleep Schedule
Your pup will conk out much easier than a baby, so you won’t be rocking them to sleep. But dogs thrive on routine. Having your puppy on a predictable schedule for sleep, food and exercise will also make house training much, much easier.
Typically, a period of exercise such as playing, training or walking will leave your pup hungry or sleepy. So it makes sense to plan for exercise followed by food then sleep. As soon as they wake up, take them to the spot where you want them to toilet. (When they do, praise them lavishly.)
Think carefully about where you want to your dog to sleep as an adult. It will be very hard to teach them to sleep alone in the kitchen if they’ve always slept in your bed with you. When you first bring your puppy home, you can stay nearby until they go to sleep. And being babies, they will wake up in the night and cry for you. Puppies can’t go all night without a potty break, so for a while you will need to bring them outside or provide an acceptable spot with a puppy pee pad.
If your puppy is active and happy when they are awake and eating well, then you don’t need to be concerned about them sleeping up to 18 or 20 hours a day. They might even drop off to sleep in some very odd places. But if your pup is lethargic, not interested in playing or not eating well, do talk to your vet.