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How to Adjust Your Dog’s Sleeping Schedule After Adoption

Welcoming a shelter dog requires big planning. But your big plan wrecks when your dog finally steps into the home on the big arrival day and then just decides to sleep forever. In addition to that, ‘puppy blues’ can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed for a few days. So what can you do to adjust your dog’s sleeping schedule after adoption and at the same time ensure his well-being and happiness?

Providing a good sleep is one of the crucial things you should focus on when you bring him home for the first time. Their sleep cycle and patterns are different than humans and when you understand that well and take care of a few other things, your pooch will be able to sleep well.

How Would Your Dog Sleep When He First Comes To The Home

Your dog would want to explore the house when he arrives. You should definitely show him around, but keep in mind that your dog should be leashed all the time. Also, you should enter through the front door first and your dog follows through it. This will be the same for each room you are going to visit. This way, you’re setting up some ground rules for your canine buddy on the first day itself.

And at the end of the tour, introduce his resting space and unleash him. This will give him a sense of ownership, safety, and security. In addition to that, a comfy bed, darkroom, and quiet surroundings will make him want to sleep. He then may sleep for 4-5 hours as well, just take a nap or won’t sleep at all depending upon your dog’s need to sleep.

This happens because dogs are quite flexible with their sleeping schedule. A shelter environment with the constant barking of other dogs, visitors, and other noises disrupt a dog’s sleep. That being said, your dog may want to sleep forever because he hasn’t been in a perfect resting environment for quite a long time.

This may raise the question of whether a shelter environment is good for a dog’s sleep and well-being in general or not. Well, that’s not the case always. The answer lies in the sleep-wake cycles and sleeping patterns of a dog.

A dog’s sleep is polyphasic, meaning he would sleep throughout the day for 12-14 hours in small bouts, unlike humans. A human sleeps at night for 6-8 hours at a go whereas a dog sleep-session lasts for about 45 minutes. When a dog finally adjusts to his new forever home, he would sleep for 8 hours through the night without food, water, or want to eliminate. And then rest for four hours during the daytime, especially when they’re alone.

One more study done on 18 dogs revealed that dogs had 23 sleep-wake episodes during eight hours of nighttime sleep. Also, dogs have a shorter sleep-cycle and can wake up easily when needed. This explains how readily dogs react to sudden noise, threats, and guards the house proactively.

Conclusively, dogs can sleep throughout the day and also are quite flexible with their sleep. However, you can also make them sleep at the same time every day by fixing a few things. We will discuss this in the upcoming section.

Routine Is a Key

Let your dog sleep as much as and when he wants to sleep on the first day. But start feeding them at the same time every day. This will make them want to pee and poop around the same time. If your dog is asleep at feeding time, don’t worry, and don’t hesitate to wake him up for his meal. This way your dog will know at what time he will be fed.

Your dog may have accidents for a few days as he doesn’t know where to sleep, eat, eliminate, etc. So, once you make a feeding schedule and follow it, notice what time they have accidents. This will help you to schedule his walks accordingly. Soon, your dog will know when to eat, pee, and poop.

While you follow this routine, take out your dog for a long walk or indulge them in a heavy play session (depending on the breed). The idea here is to make your pooch physically and mentally tired so that they will likely sleep immediately after the playtime. Also, your dog will eliminate on his walk so he won’t need to wake up to be relieved and have better sleep.

Provide Them Clean and Comfy Bedding

Your dog needs a quiet space, a super comfy dog bed, and curtains closed so that direct sunlight doesn’t fall on your buddy to wake him up early. While it’s obvious that a comfortable dog bed is required for a goodnight’s sleep, pet parents still make worse choices in selecting the most suitable beds for their dogs. The shape, size, type of bed, and blankets you choose are crucial.

There’s much more to discuss but that’s another article for another time. In a nutshell, not choosing the right dog bed can also cause discomfort and prolonged use of that bed may also cause joint or bone-related medical conditions. This is especially true if dog beds for big dogs are too small or using the same warm winter blanket in summer.

One more thing pet parents ignore is to clean their beds when it’s time. They do it unless the smell coming from a dirty dog bed is not ignorable anymore. So you will need to keep it clean and hygienic and wash it regularly.

What if Your Dog Won’t Sleep At Night When You Bring Him Home

It’s possible that your dog may not be able to sleep at night without fussing and crying. It’s normal because they are suddenly brought to new surroundings, new people, and maybe animals. This can be overwhelming for dogs and they can’t sleep. On the other hand, some dogs just get too excited with the changes that have come in their life and sleep out of exhaustion.

They may miss their previous carers, place, and other dogs. So instead of sleeping, they might just want to explore the house a bit to feel more secure. In that case, you should let them sleep in your room (well not with you on your bed just yet). Your presence will make them feel secure and they won’t want to roam around your house and destroy things.

When you feel your dog can now sleep without making a fuss about it, switch their sleeping space to the original one because you don’t want them to make a habit of sleeping in your bedroom.

Have You Adopted A Small Puppy?

If your dog is still in a puppy stage, he won’t be able to control his bladder. Also, a dog doesn’t like to soil any area close to his bedding, so he would cry or yelp to get your attention and will wake you up at night.

He may also cry because he is separated from his mom and siblings. You can comfort them by petting and talking in a sweet voice in the beginning and then can start putting chew toys instead. This will make them feel comfortable and keep them engaged.

If the crying still continues, just ignore them because pups know they will get your attention upon crying. It will be tough to leave a crying pup to his bed but that will eventually stop. Keeping things as much familiar as possible to their shelter life will help a lot. Ask your dog’s carer if they can provide his bed at the shelter or a piece of his mother’s blanket. The scent on it makes the pup feel more secure and ease up anxiety.

The EndNote

To summarize, sticking to the routine, providing comfortable space to sleep, keeping them active during the daytime, and relieving them before going to bed will be all to adjust your dog’s sleeping schedule after adoption. All dogs are different and it can take longer for some dogs to accept new things around. But sooner or later, your dog will become your best companion and you will have the greatest time together. The points discussed in the article will surely help you. If you want to share your opinions or have any questions, please let us know about it in the comment section below.

Article written by Clara Lou is Co-founder and the Head of Marketing at Petlovesbest.com. Pet Loves Best is a one-stop solution for all your pet supplies shopping and pet-related queries

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay