Your puppy won’t sleep unless they are next to you.
As sweet as it is, it’s not always the most convenient, nor is it particularly sustainable.
And while you may enjoy it now, chances are, this is not something you are going to be able, or perhaps even want to continue.
So, why would a puppy feel this way? What can you do about it?
Well, let’s delve deeper into it; giving you practical tips and suggestions of how to ensure your puppy has the confidence to begin sleeping on their own, and some recommendations for the transition process.
Why does my puppy only sleep next to me?
Your puppy might only sleep next to you due to reasons including their instinct for security, warmth, familiarity, pack animal behavior, and lack of sufficient training.
Each of these factors plays a key role in influencing a puppy’s sleeping habits, as we shall now see.
In the wild, young canines sleep next to their parents and siblings to protect themselves from predators.
This instinct may still be present in your domesticated dog.
Your presence can help them feel safer, especially in a new environment or during the night when they can be more prone to fear and anxiety.
Puppies are not as adept at regulating their body temperature as adult dogs are, so they naturally seek out heat.
Your body heat can provide this warmth, making it comforting for your puppy to sleep close to you.
Instinct as Pack Animals
Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are pack animals by nature.
They are wired to stick together for survival.
Your puppy sees you as part of their pack and sleeping next to you is an instinctual behavior that signifies unity and togetherness in the pack.
Your scent, heartbeat, and the sound of your breathing can be soothing for your puppy.
Sleeping next to you is comforting to them because it reminds them of their early days when they were with their mother and littermates.
Not Yet Sufficiently Trained
Finally, if your puppy always sleeps next to you, it could be that they are not yet sufficiently trained to sleep on their own.
It takes time and patience to train a puppy to sleep in their own space.
It’s not unusual for a puppy to want to stay close to you until they become comfortable in their new home and routine.
Training and gradual adjustments can help your puppy to become more independent over time.
Should You Let Your Puppy Sleep Next To You?
When you first bring a puppy home, it’s understandable and often recommended to let them sleep near you. This proximity can help them adjust to their new environment and lessen any anxiety they may feel. However, as they grow and become more accustomed to their surroundings, it’s crucial to gradually encourage them to sleep independently.
Let’s delve into why.
When puppies are very young, they are in a phase of rapid learning and adaptation. They can benefit immensely from the warmth and security of sleeping near you.
It helps to forge a strong bond and provides them comfort in a new, potentially overwhelming environment.
This initial closeness can contribute to your puppy’s overall wellbeing and sense of security.
However, as your puppy grows older, you should gradually introduce them to the idea of sleeping on their own.
This transition doesn’t mean they need to be in a different room immediately.
A good intermediate step is to have them sleep in the same room but in their own designated dog bed or crate.
This setup allows them to still sense your presence while beginning to learn independence.
Allowing a puppy to perpetually sleep in your bed can prove problematic for several reasons.
For instance, it may lead to a dog developing separation anxiety as they might become overly dependent on your presence to sleep or relax.
Furthermore, dogs may start exhibiting territorial behavior over the bed, leading to potential behavior issues.
Lastly, it’s also important to note the practicalities.
Dogs, especially larger breeds, can take up significant space and might disrupt your sleep.
And if your dog hasn’t been fully house-trained, accidents can happen, which aren’t ideal for your bed!
So while letting your new puppy sleep next to you initially can be beneficial for both of you, it’s essential to help them transition towards independent sleeping for their wellbeing and a healthy home environment.
This process is gradual and requires patience, but with time, consistency, and the right strategies, your puppy will learn to sleep on their own while still feeling secure and loved.
How do I get my puppy to sleep without me?
If your puppy won’t sleep unless next to you, you can use strategies such as crate training, implementing a sleep routine, ensuring a comfortable environment, providing play and exercise, considering white noise, remaining consistent, using positive reinforcement, or consulting a vet or pet behavior specialist.
Let’s explore these options more closely.
This involves providing a comfortable crate for them to sleep in that feels like a safe and secure den.
It should be of adequate size and lined with cozy bedding.
The crate should be in a quiet place but not too far from your sight, especially during the initial stages of training.
Implement A Sleep Routine
Dogs thrive on routine.
Establishing a predictable bedtime routine can help your puppy understand when it’s time to sleep.
This could include a potty break, calming activities like gentle petting or reading to them, and then settling them in their crate or bed.
Ensure Their Sleeping Environment Is Clean, Quiet, and Comfortable
Where your puppy sleeps matters a lot.
Make sure their designated sleeping area is clean, quiet, and comfortable.
It should be free of disturbing noises and harsh lights.
A comfortable bed with soft blankets that smell familiar can make the space inviting.
Provide Comforting Items
Comforting items that carry your scent, like a piece of your worn clothing, can be a great comfort for your puppy when they’re trying to sleep without you.
The familiar smell can help ease their anxiety and provide a sense of safety. Place this item in their bed or crate.
As they get used to sleeping without you, they will still have the comfort of your scent nearby.
It’s essential, though, to ensure that any item left with your puppy is safe and cannot be easily torn or ingested.
Provide Lots of Play, Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Keeping your puppy active during the day can help ensure they’re tired out by bedtime.
Provide lots of play, exercise, and mental stimulation.
Remember, a tired puppy is a good sleeper. Just ensure that any vigorous activity occurs well before bedtime to allow them to wind down.
Consider White Noise
White noise or soft, calming music can help lull your puppy to sleep.
The steady hum of white noise can mask other sounds that might disturb your puppy, helping them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Consistency is key in training your puppy to sleep without you.
Stick to the routine and rules you’ve set, even if your puppy whines or protests initially.
They’ll eventually adapt to the changes with time and consistency.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Reward your puppy for sleeping on their own.
Treats, praises, or additional playtimes can be used as positive reinforcements.
This encourages them to repeat the behavior.
Consult A Vet/Pet Behavioral Specialist
If you’re having ongoing difficulty getting your puppy to sleep without you, it may be time to consult a vet or a pet behavior specialist.
They can provide tailored advice and strategies based on your puppy’s specific needs and behaviors.
As a former fellow puppy owner, I understand the irresistible draw of snuggling up with a new puppy all night.
At least at first.
However, it’s not sustainable or ideal for either of you long term.
This is where independent sleeping comes in.
The truth is, however, transitioning a puppy to sleep on their own isn’t an overnight task; it’s a gradual process that demands patience, persistence, and tons of love.
While you will have setbacks, rest assured that you will get there.
In the meantime, try and enjoy the time when they want to snuggle close as they sleep.
It doesn’t last forever.
Related guides you may want to read:
- Puppy Sleeps In Crate At Night But Not During Day
- Why Is My Puppy Sleeping So Much?
- Puppy Wants To Sleep On Floor Not Crate [Why & What To Do]
- Why Does My Puppy Breathe So Fast While Sleeping?
- Why Does My Puppy Pee In Her Sleep?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.