I recently had a pet parent ask me a question about crate location. This family has a new puppy and they are a two-crate household. They don’t have two dogs. They just have two crates – one in the bedroom for nighttime and one in the family room for daytime.
I’m a fan of that idea. I wish I’d had two crates when my dog was a puppy. I only had one that I would carry up and down the stairs every day (and night).
The question, though, is how long do you need to do the two-crate thing? Or as this particular pet parent put it:
“When can I get rid of the bedroom crate and have our puppy sleep in the family room…because she’s still waking us up way too early?”
It’s a great question, but there’s no quick, easy answer. Whether you have one crate or two, if your puppy is sleeping in the bedroom and not yet sleeping through the night, here are some questions to ask yourself before you move your puppy’s sleeping location:
- Is your puppy physically able to “hold it” all night? A good rule of thumb is that the number of hours your puppy should be able to go between trips outside is her age in months plus one. So, for example, you might expect a four-month-old puppy to only be able to sleep five hours before nature calls. To get her to sleep later in the morning, try making her last trip outside at night a little later. You can also restrict water intake in the evening by picking up the water bowl earlier.
- If the early rising is not due to a need to go outside, why is your puppy waking up so early? Is she hearing outside noises? Is it the light? In these cases, you might try putting a blanket over the crate and/or moving it away from windows. A white noise machine is another idea.
- Is your puppy just waking up early out of habit? This might be the case if the need to go outside doesn’t seem that urgent once you get outside. In this case, you might think about ways to gradually change the habit. If you’ve been putting her in the crate before you go to bed, try moving her bedtime later – closer to yours. But do this in gradual, 15-minute increments. And during that extra 15 minutes, work a little on your training to help tire her out more.
- Where do you ultimately want your dog to sleep? This is another question to ask yourself before you change your puppy’s sleeping location. Think ahead to a time when your puppy is full grown and you’re not using the crate. If you think you’d prefer to have her sleeping in your bedroom, then you want to think twice now before moving her out.
Do you have other tips for getting your puppy to sleep later?