So you’ve done all your research on how to care for your puppy, yet they’re still acting like a maniac? Let me introduce you to one of the most underestimated tips for puppies — enforced naps.
Puppies can get fussy and cranky when they’re tired, just like babies. And if we don’t set some sort of rest schedule for them they won’t necessarily just lie down when they’re tired, some of them will just keep going until they’re beyond exhausted.
That’s where enforced naps come in; you can help them regulate your dog’s energy by encouraging rest periods throughout the day. And the best part? After a week or so your pup will acclimate to their new nap schedule, making life easier for the both of you.
So let’s take a look at the hows and whys of enforced naps, and why they’re so beneficial for puppies.
What Is An Enforced Nap?
Simply put, enforced naps are when you encourage your dog to get the sleep they need.
An enforced nap is when you force your dog to settle down and take a nap. Now that may sound like a punishment, but it’s a positive thing for your puppy if they haven’t learned how to settle down and relax on their own.
Not all puppies have an “off” switch, and if they don’t get enough rest throughout the day they’ll become cranky and fussy. Enforced naps help get your dog used to the idea of needing to recharge, which is something many of them need help with, especially when already overly stimulated by being in a new home with all sorts of new and exciting things to explore.
Signs Your Dog Needs a Nap
Does your puppy turn into a maniac and stop listening to all command sometimes? Chances are they’re overly tired, and when they’re exhausted they act out in various ways, making any sort of training nearly impossible.
Some dogs get extra vocal when they’re tired, some get a bit more aggressive than usual, and others get extra mischievous. After a little while with your new pup you’ll get to know their personality and be able to tell when they’re extra fussy — and those are the times when a good nap can help.
Think about the last time you didn’t get enough sleep and how it effected your behavior — the same is true for our dogs. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety and frustration, and that’s true for puppies as well. A well rested pup is much more likely to be a happy pup.
Let’s put it this way — sleep is one of our basic needs, yet not all pups settle down when tired. Some of them just keep going beyond the point of exhaustion because there’s so much going on in the world. That’s where we as their caretakers come in; we need to teach them healthy sleep habits.
The Benefits of Enforced Naps
If you teach your pup to settle down and nap at certain times throughout the day on a consistent basis that will become their normal routine. And having those enforced nap times can help cut down on many troublesome puppy behaviors that are due to being overly tired and overly stimulated.
How to Enforce Naps For Your Dog
The first rule of enforced naps is to make them a positive experience for your pup. Just like making every poop a party when potty training, you need to encourage your dog to see settling down time as a good thing.
Picking The Right Place
Now if you’ve already decided to crate train you can use the crate as their rest spot, but really any quiet place will do. If you try to make your dog settle down in the middle of the living room while your kids are running around you’re just asking them to fail since every moving thing will looks like an invitation to play for your pup.
If you work from home a corner in your office with a nice dog bed can be a good option. As long as you choose an area that’s free from too much noise and visual distractions you should be fine.
How Many Naps Does Your Dog Need?
Now there’s no set rule on how many naps your dog needs throughout the day, so this part will largely depend on you and your own schedule with your dog. Dogs usually sleep between 12-14 hours a day as well, so you don’t need to worry about messing up their night time sleep due to naps either.
For my pup we did three naps each day; one after breakfast, one after her afternoon walk, and one in the evening after dinner. Those were the times when she would usually get unruly, so I worked nap times in to cure some of that chaos.
How To Encourage Your Puppy to Nap
I’m a big fan of Frozen Kongs (a Kong toy filled with frozen treats) to keep dogs busy, so it was what I used to encourage my pup to settle down and nap.
I’d call my dog over to her bed and have her lie down, then treat her with a frozen kong. And just like magic that Kong would keep her busy for 10-15 minutes until she inevitably passed out.
After awhile she knew the routine and would be going to her bed right on time, ready for her Kong infused nap. For food motivated dogs any sort of long lasting chew or food toy will be the easiest way to encourage your pup to settle down.
Do Adult Dogs Need Enforced Naps?
Now if you’ve adopted an adult dog they may or may not need to learn how to settle down and nap. I know, not a very good answer but it really depends on your dog. Some adult dogs already know how to settle down when they’re tired, and some don’t.
If your dog has trouble settling down or relaxing on their own using enforced naps will be a positive thing. Not all dogs know how to settle down on their own, and it’s a valuable tool for them to learn. Not only for them to get the rest that they need, but to also learn that settling down is part of a good routine.
I’ve gone over how to make your new dog comfortable in your home, and a lot of those tips have to do with making sure your dog has some nice quiet places where they can relax (and feel safe) throughout the day which is based on the same premises of enforced naps — making sure your dog can get as much rest and relaxation as needed.
How Does Your Dog Act When They Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
How does your pup act out when they’re exhausted? Do they become impossible to train? Do they get into extra trouble and cause more chaos than usual? And most importantly — how much did your life improve once your dog learned how to settle down on their own? Let me know in the comments.