Puppy owners have always suspected it, but now a study has confirmed it – puppies sleep for less time at night than older dogs.
However, both age groups choose to be close to people and when given the choice to get close to their humans at bedtime, 86% of dogs opt to do so.
Dog’s Trust's Generation Pup study, which follows the lives and behaviours of dogs as they grow up, investigated how dogs’ sleeping habits change in their first year of life.
The findings revealed that while puppies aged 16 weeks sleep for significantly longer than older dogs during the day, they sleep for less time than older dogs at night. By comparison, once a dog reaches a year old, they are much more likely to sleep for longer at night – matching their owner’s sleep patterns.
In turn, as dogs get older, owners are more likely to let their canine companion sleep in the same room as them, with the percentage of people who let their pooch sleep in their bed increasing from 13% at 16 weeks to 27% at 12 months.
The research also uncovered that the most common sleeping position for a dog is stretched out on their side.
Sabrina Phelan, Senior Training and Behaviour Advisor at Dogs Trust Ireland said: “We understand that it can be difficult for puppy owners to get a good night’s sleep, so we want to share our top tips with owners and potential owners to help settle your dog at night to ensure everyone gets a peaceful night’s rest.
"Whether it’s making sure your pup has had the right amount of exercise during the day, a comfy and safe place to settle down or even just teaching ourselves to recognise signs of tiredness in a dog, these tips could help our pooches to drift off peacefully at night.”
Dogs Trust has provided top tips on helping you and your puppy get a good night’s sleep:
- Include walkies, playtimes and short, fun training sessions within your puppy’s daily routine so they’ve enjoyed using their brains and bodies and have plenty to dream about.
- Create a cosy comfortable den for your puppy away from the busier areas of the home so they have somewhere lovely to relax undisturbed.
- Evening routines can help prepare your puppy for a good night’s sleep, and if you tend to do the same types of activities your puppy will learn what to expect.
- Help your puppy out by reducing anything that is catching their attention, so closing the curtains and settling down yourself can help them ‘switch off’.
- When pups are growing tired, they might suddenly appear to be very energetic and dash about the home, an activity that is often called ‘Zoomies’. They may also become agitated or restless and might even start to bark or mouth owners by grabbing their owner’s hands or clothing with their teeth. It can be helpful to know this because often owners think their sudden burst of energy means they need more exercise when they really need forty winks.
- Puppies are born into, and generally sleep, in family groups so they need to learn to enjoy being in a cosy bed all by themselves. This can take a little time, but you can help them by staying close by and ready to respond if they appear distressed.
“As so many people have welcomed puppies into their lives recently, we are calling on people across Ireland with a puppy under 16 weeks of age to sign up to the Generation Pup study, to help us learn more about our four-legged friends. By taking part, you could help us gain valuable insights into how our dogs’ health and behaviour changes over time, to find new and better ways to care for our dogs,” said Karla Dunne, Head of Operations at Dogs Trust Ireland.