How to Create A Puppy Sleep Schedule

Did you know that your puppy will bite and bark less, listen more, and sleep better at night if you make sure they are getting enough sleep during the day?

Puppies plop down and fall asleep in random places at random times. Their irregular sleep habits may seem challenging at first. If you are consistent with your schedule, it won’t take your puppy long to fall into that routine.

Some new pet parents make the mistake of trying to keep their Pup awake during the day in hopes of a better sleep at night, this not only has the opposite effect, but can lead to puppy temper tantrums. Puppies need a lot of sleep! 

Sleep supports their developing bodies and brains. Some young puppies may require as much as 18 to 20 hours of sleep each day, but this will lessen overtime. 


As you learn when they like to go down for long naps, you will want to make an effort to set them up for success. Find a balance between what works for your future schedule and what you're learning about your dog's schedule. 

Puppies will often fall asleep after a meal, a play session or short walks. If you need them to rest while you are working or in a zoom meeting, doing a short training session or providing enrichment beforehand is your best bet. After they've encountered new things and learned new behaviors, they will need more rest after all of the mental stimulation. You can design your day with this in mind. 

While photos of puppies falling asleep in their empty water bowl & upside down in the strangest places are the most adorable thing, these naps do not provide sufficient rest. Please take and share the photo! I’d love to see these precious moments, but be sure to create or move them to a quiet environment that’s more conducive to sleep.


  • Cozy
  • Dark & Desirable
  • Quiet 

You may need to experiment to figure out what kind of zen den works in your space. Try a metal folding exercise pen (some come with awesome covers). Set up a small room such as a laundry room or bathroom with a gate instead of a closed door. Being able to see you makes learning how to settle so much easier. Condition these environments at a pace your Pup can handle. Most puppies are social sleepers wanting to be near you, so you need to slowly move further away.

Conditioning containment in a smaller space like a crate over time can make this less stressful for both you and your Pup. Imagine the crate has a bank account associated with it. Every time your puppy has a good experience in the space you are adding to the bank account. 

  • Put some delicious treats in a crate or room with the door open 
  • Tie a Kong with something lickable stuffed into the back of the space
  • Give them their favorite chew and slowly close the door as you sit beside them for a little training session that increases each day. If you open the door before they ask to come out, this teaches our puppies they won’t need to ask in the future.

Don’t stick them in the small space and expect them to settle with the door closed while you’re in another room the first time you try this. All of these short little sessions are separate deposits to the crate account. Every time your puppy has a difficult time, you’re taking a withdrawal from the account. 

You can train this habit over time. When you give them choices, instead of expecting too much too fast, they learn to trust you. Helping them slowly succeed has many benefits. When you condition containment and help them feel comfortable alone, you can prevent separation anxiety issues. And, as a bonus you are teaching how to relax in a crate at the veterinarians for a surgery, in a kennel at a boarding facility when you go on vacation, and eventually at home when running errands etc.


Minimizing or drowning out distractions will allow your Pup to get deep sleep during the day. If your Pup is able to track you going to the fridge or can hear doors opening or closing then they may keep one eye open. They tend to get excited when guests come or when they hear the random sounds of kids playing. All of these distractions can make it harder to snooze.

You can minimize or drown out distractions with:

  • Brown noise - it can be more calming than white noise

  • Classical music or calming ocean like sounds
  • An audiobook read by a calm voice

  • The sound of a fan not only works great but also cools off your Pup

If your Pup likes to tear apart beds and destroy toys you may need to wait until they are older and more reliable. You can use old towels or blankets and include a safe chew option. 

Turning off the lights can signal and encourage sleep during the day. You can cover crates or get lids for exercise pens to make it darker.

The more you set up their sleeping environments to allow them to fully rest, the more likely this will become a healthy habit that improves their mood & behavior. You get the added benefit of having more time to get things accomplished. Be patient with the process. It takes time to try different set ups and condition their comfort. 5 minutes of training here and there will expedite the progress.


You can use half of their dinner for training or food puzzles an hour before bed. Just before you both go to sleep, tire them out with some mental exercises. A short training session just before bed encourages relaxation. A high energy play session amps them up making sleep more difficult.

Take one last potty walk just before bed. Go to your desired potty spot and keep things calm. Walk with them on leash at night even in your fenced yard to prevent them from starting a game of chase or exploring.

Anytime your pup needs to potty in the middle of the night, be sure to be calm and quiet, the less you talk the quicker they go back to sleep. 

If they are waking up way earlier than you do, you can set an alarm 10 minutes before you expect them to wake up then inch it forward each night to get to your desired wake up time. 

A good night's sleep for you and your Pup may seem challenging in the beginning but if you put in the work you will both soon be sleeping soundly for hours! 

If you have tried all the ideas above and your Pup is still not sleeping well, reach out to me or contact a certified trainer in your area so we can help you make adjustments specific for your Pup.
Happy Tails,
Christine Young
CPDT Certified Dog Trainer
The Puppy Care Company
Back to blog

1 comment

Hi! Ever since I got my puppy at 8 weeks old, he’s used to sleeping with me In my bed. When he goes to sleep at night, I have to be with him (at 7pm). I’ve tried a crate but he just cries snd whines. I’ve tried putting food in the Crate, making it a good experience, staying in room with him but nothing works. Also, He’s very attached. I can hardly leave the house. I’m trapped. Please advise and thank you in advance!!

Lisa Lizut

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.