There were a few questions after I shared the video of the built in crates in my home, about where my dogs sleep at night. The short answer is “anywhere they want” which might be a surprising response.
Of course, it does not start that way. We can’t bring a new puppy or rescue dog into our home and have them sleep anywhere they want as that is not safe and does not create confidence or security for our new family member! So, I thought I’d give the long answer by way of a blog.
My Dogs Sleep in the Bedroom
When I get a new puppy, I put him or her in a crate on top of a chair beside my bed at night. This way, the puppy sleeps right near my face and can hear me breathe and practically feel my breath and not be worried. As we both fall asleep, I stick my fingers through the crate door for a few minutes. I have never had a puppy cry or fuss at night, plus I get to fall asleep looking at my beautiful new puppy!
We hear from so many people whose puppy might be put in the garage, or in the bathroom, or in the kitchen, and well away from everyone at night. The puppy does not have to sleep on your bed, but we want our dogs to learn to be part of our family. Your dog will be more comfortable, and you will have a better relationship with your dog if your dog is included and sleeps nearby.
If a puppy needs to go out throughout the night, I quietly reach inside the crate and hook the leash to the collar and lift the puppy out to carry him all the way outside to their potty spot. I say nothing, allow the puppy to potty and then pick him up and return him to his crate. The principles of “don’t wake the mamma” are being built. Nothing fun happens if you wake me.
TIP: For these late evening potty trips I use an oversized leash and clip it around the width of the collar so I don’t have to get a tiny puppy lead clipped onto a tiny puppy collar ring. You can read all the details on a successful housetraining routine in another post here on my blog.
In the morning, the puppy waits in his crate while the other dogs go outside. Then it’s the puppy’s turn for my full attention to morning potty routines. When Crate Games are established, I maintain that criteria – hand on door = sit, leash on – and I carry the puppy out doors to his established potty spot on leash and our morning begins.
Transitioning to Sleeping Out of the Crate
As my puppy grows, the crate comes off the chair and goes to the floor. Then the crate is moved further away from the bed. I’ll move it over against the wall, and then maybe to another part of the bedroom, so the puppy does not grow too much dependency on me, but they can still be in the same room.
Eventually, when the puppy is between nine months and a year of age, depending on the puppy, they will transition out of the crate to sleeping on a bed in the room. This is never left to chance. It will start with me having a “nap” in the bedroom with the puppy in the room to see if they are able to stay off my bed and hang out and not get into mischief. This is an excellent reason for us to take a nap during the day!
What About Older Dogs Who Are New Family Members?
The routine is very similar for any older dog arriving in the family. Obviously, it’s not going to be possible for the crate to go on a chair for most dogs, but the crate could be near you, your dog could be in an ex-pen with an open crate inside it for him to sleep in.
As the dog settles in, you can transition to him sleeping out of the ex-pen. This should happen on your dog’s timeline and not your own because you want to set him up for success.
So, there you have it, the long answer to “where do your dogs sleep?”.
Let me know in the comments how you provide safety, comfort and confidence in sleeping arrangements for a puppy or dog who is new in your home.
Today I am grateful for the birthday celebrations for Encore (16), Swagger (9) and Momentum (5) recently … love my dogs!