You may be wondering if it’s safe to let your dog roam the house at night. Why do even want to do so? Where should they be kept? Where should your dog sleep? Should you ignore your dog at night and let him roam freely? These are all of the questions you are likely wondering. I know I did. Here’s everything you’ll want to know.
So, should I let my dog roam the house at night? It is not recommended that you let young puppies or untrained dogs roam your house. However, you may consider letting older and trained dogs roam so long as you have made the environment safe for them.
Most of us aren’t awake at night to watch what our dogs get up to, and their safety is our responsibility as their caretakers and parents.
And let’s be honest, puppies and untrained dogs are much more likely to get up to mischief when we are not around.
And the nighttime is a perfect, opportune moment for them.
That being said, it’s not always safe for older dogs to roam either.
It depends on your home, the dog, your circumstances.
So, what you personally should do is going to come down to what you think is best.
And you need to ensure that whatever you decide, your dog will be content, safe and warm throughout the night.
With that said, let us explore those other questions about dogs roaming under the cover of darkness!
Why Do Dogs Roam The House At Night?
There are several reasons why dogs roam the house at night. Generally, though, they roam out of boredom, in response to stimuli (sound, light, a smell) or are too energetic for sleep.
They Are Looking for Something To Do
Some dogs may wake up in the night and then look for adventure or for something to occupy them while their families are asleep.
This is especially true for puppies, who are full of energy and need lots of supervision and training.
Puppies will chew on anything and everything, particularly when they’re teething.
They Have Pent-Up Energy
Some dogs have lots of energy, and they don’t manage to burn it all off during the day.
These dogs need to be on the go more than other dogs, so you may find your dog is moving for the sake of it.
He may be looking to keep busy, or he may just be feeling restless.
In Response To Stimuli
It could be a loud noise, a subtle noise (only your dog can hear), a flashing light, or a particular smell that gets your dog’s attention.
Either way, the inquisitive nature of a dog will generally result in them wanting to explore.
Where Should Dogs Be Kept At Night?
Where you keep your dog at night very much depends upon his age and his nature.
Where To Keep Puppies
Puppies should never be left to roam the house freely at any time without supervision, including at night.
Puppies can not only do plenty of damage, but they can easily get themselves into trouble which could prove to be hazardous or even fatal.
Puppies should be kept in a puppy crate when you aren’t around – and even when you are, to get them used to it for short periods.
Where To Keep Adult Dogs
Adult dogs may be allowed to roam freely, but this will depend on their natures (see below).
If you have been training your dog from puppyhood to be responsible on his own, usually by 2 or 3 years old you will know if he can be trusted to roam the house by himself or not.
Where To Keep Senior Dogs
Usually, senior dogs are more apt to sleep more and be fine when left to roam the house.
They are less likely to seek out excitement and will mostly want to rest and sleep.
However, whether you let your senior dog roam or not does depend on his nature and energy levels.
Where Is The Best Place For Your Dog To Sleep At Night?
The best area for your dog to sleep at night is where he will be safe and comfortable. Consider the age of your dog, too, when deciding where he will sleep.
Remember, there may not be an obvious or uniform singular place where a dog should sleep.
It may take a little trial and error. It may differ in time.
Nevertheless, let us explore the options.
In A Crate
Dog crates are very useful and can be a safe place for your dog to retreat to when he needs a rest.
For puppies and older dogs who might otherwise cause trouble when unsupervised, dog crates are very handy.
Dogs are den animals, and they can see crates as protective, enclosed spaces.
You can start crate training from puppyhood, making the crate a safe and fun place for your dog with appropriate toys and comfy blankets.
If you approach crate training in the right way, your dog can see sleeping in a crate as calming and rewarding rather than a punishment.
Sleeping in a crate is particularly useful for dogs who get stressed or anxious. Your dog may see his crate as a secure place where he can curl up and enjoy some peace and quiet.
On Your Bed
If you want to bond more quickly with your dog, you might want them to sleep on top of your covers at night.
Some people enjoy a deeper and more restful sleep with their pets next to them.
Consider the age and agility of your dog, though: some older dogs might find it difficult to climb up onto the bed.
If you still want them to sleep with you, you might want to get a dog ramp to help them join you.
On A Dog Bed
Some dogs enjoy having their own dog bed, which can be a fancy purpose-built bed or some folded blankets on the floor.
Dogs do like to have a place to call their own.
The plus side of having a dog bed is that you can take it with you when you travel, and your dog will have a place that makes him feel at home.
Should I Ignore My Dog at Night?
There are several factors to consider as to whether you ignore your dog at night or not.
If Your Dog Is A Puppy
Contrary to popular opinion, when your dog is a puppy, you don’t want to ignore him at night.
Ignoring him will only heighten his stress and fear!
Your puppy will need time to settle in and get used to spending some time on his own.
Puppies cry or bark when they’re upset or stressed: they are likely missing their littermates and their mother.
If your puppy cries out or barks when he’s new to your home, he needs your reassurance, so don’t ignore him.
He is adjusting to the shock of being in a new place on his own.
In addition, puppies need more frequent toilet breaks than adult dogs. They are likely to cry from fright if they need to urinate and no one is there to be with them.
When going to comfort your puppy at night, try to just be there as a presence rather than cuddle them.
If you want to talk to them, limit speaking to words of praise if they’ve gone to the toilet in the right place.
The trick is to be present for them when they cry or bark, but to not have them associate crying or barking with getting attention from you. You being there is usually enough.
If Your Dog Is Barking
If your dog is barking, it usually means he either:
- Has been startled by something or someone
- Is reacting to something that either excites him or makes him anxious
- Is suffering from separation anxiety or stress
- Is frustrated or bored
If your dog often barks at night, allowing him to roam may increase his excitement or stress.
In these cases, restricting your dog to one area at nighttime can help him stay calm. He can sleep in a crate or at least in a room with no windows that view the road or the yard.
When To Ignore The Barking
If you know what is causing your dog to bark – for instance, a new dog moving in across the street –you can usually ignore the barking. Your dog will become used to the new situation and will usually settle down himself, given time.
When Not To Ignore The Barking
If your dog usually barks at night, you ignoring it isn’t going to improve matters.
Have your dog sleep in a quiet room, or put on some soothing music for your dog to sleep to.
Make sure your dog always sleeps inside if he tends to bark so that he doesn’t hear too many sounds that will set off his alarm system.
When Should I Let My Dog Roam The House?
If the following are true for you and your dog, then it is likely you can let him roam the house.
If Your Dog Is Calm and Well-Behaved
If you have a dog who is energetic for most of the day and has a mischievous nature, you won’t want to let him roam on his own at night.
If, however, your dog is calm and well-behaved, you could consider letting him roam the house.
Some dogs are more prone to getting into things than others, so if your dog typically leaves things alone that aren’t his, he may be fine to roam at night on his own.
If Your Dog Sleeps Through The Night
If your dog sleeps for most of the night, it is unlikely he’ll get into mischief if he’s left to his own devices.
Each dog has its own sleeping pattern, so get a sense of what your dog’s pattern is before deciding whether to let him roam or not.
Does he wake you several times a night seeking attention? If so, then you’re better off providing an enclosed and safe area for him to sleep in.
If Your Dog Follows Your Schedule
Dogs tend to be social sleepers, meaning they will usually sleep when you do.
If everyone in your house goes to bed at the same time, it probably won’t matter much if your dog is free to roam.
If, however, some people come home much later than others who may already be sleeping, you may not want your dog to run to the door, making noise to greet the latecomers.
In addition, anyone coming home late can risk disturbing your dog’s sleeping habits.
Dogs can get so excited upon seeing their favorite people arrive home that they may then be too wired to fall asleep easily afterward.
If You Have Prepared Your House
Preparing your house is crucial before letting a dog of any age roam free, no matter how responsible your dog is.
Remove anything you wouldn’t want to be damaged, as well as anything that could hurt your dog.
Items like potpourri, glass or ceramic items that could fall and break, candles or wooden objects that he could chew on, or plants you wouldn’t want him to eat should all be kept away from his reach.
Whether you should allow your dog to roam the night or not is going to be a question only you can answer.
You will ultimately know what is best.
That being said, there are some general rules which to follow.
One of which is that puppies and untrained dogs generally do best when confined to a particular room or area.
Nevertheless, whatever you decide it’s essential your dog is safe and comfortable at all times.
And don’t forget; they should always have access to an area where they can rest.
While they may wander for a bit, they will need to sleep, after all.
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- Why Has My Dog Started Pooping In The House At Night?
- Dog Throwing Up Only In Middle Of Night [Why & What To Do]
- Can Dogs Have Night Terrors? [Everything You Need To Know]
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.