Importance of Sleep for your Puppy
Sleep is an essential part of our lives, this is no different for your puppy either.
Your puppy is going through a huge amount of development in a very short period of time, this takes up a lot of energy. Lack of sleep has a serious impact on brain function. Essentially the brain plays such a key role in every thing a pup does, that a lack of sleep will have a negative impact on the puppies overall development.
Not having enough sleep will create a knock on effect to how the puppy develops physically and psychologically.
A tired puppy will initially become over tired. When a puppy is over tired they don’t know what to do with themselves. A continuous state of lack of sleep will lead to a stressed and agitated puppy. Animals who are stressed and have poor sleep patterns often have a poor state of health as the growing bones do not develop properly and they have low immune systems.
Essentially their brain needs to mature, as it controls all bodily functions. Therefore it is important the brain is given time to rest, reset and process the days events! If not given time to rest it will result in an over stimulated puppy who cannot process how to deal with the normal day to day.
Sleep enables the bones need to grow
Muscles need to rest between play, so they can grow stronger with each and every nap time they have.
The brain needs to rest frequently to prevent over stimulation.
EMOTIONAL – PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT
Lack of sleep clearly will impact on the neurological system as it will result in a pup living on the edge of its nerves and most likely will end up a very nervous dog. Nervous dogs lead to aggressive dogs. The pup at the stage of going to its new home is a blank canvas regarding its behaviour. However if the pup isnt allowed to have the sleep they need it could (and most likely WILL)become agitated, nervous and start lashing out.
A nervous puppy will predictably become unpredictable. By this I mean you will know the dog has problems, you know it wont like certain situations and you know it will react, the unpredictable element in my statement is that life is never straightforward so whilst you might know triggers for your nervous pup you wont always know when those triggers are going to present themselves and you wont know if the reaction to any given situation is going to be worse than the last time. Prevention is better than cure. Give your pup un-interupted sleep and they will feel recharged ready for the day! They will tune in to training far better, resulting in being a happy well rounded dog.
Sleep is the time to recharge and process the days events as they will have been learning so much throughout the day, training and new experiences is tiring for them.
Sleep is as important as water and nutritionally balanced food.
They will sleep generally after they have been playing, training sessions (keep to 5 minutes a time for young pups) been out for a walk (five mins per month of age), or have just eaten food. (usually about half an hour after eating – pudding hour!)
It is sometimes easy to explain an “exhausted” pup is because of how busy they are in the day. Be aware, their sleeping habits could be more indicative of their experiences.
It is estimated that an 8 week old puppy needs 18 – 20 hours sleep as they get older this will reduce. Adult dogs still need a lot of sleep but have different sleeping patterns. Dogs spend much of their day sleeping!
If your puppy is struggling to sleep, it is likely associated with his emotional state.
From birth the pup is used to company, so when the puppy goes to their new home, they are suddenly in a strange environment but also expected to sleep alone.
The settling in period can take a matter of days, sometimes a couple of weeks. If you already have another dog, this usually makes things easier as they have company.
You may want sleep on the sofa near to the pup for a few days or crate train the puppy. Which will help with the settling in, so the puppy doesn’t feel alone.
What Happens When Puppies Don’t Get Enough Rest?
In humans, lack of sleep is a major cause of stress as your brain does not function properly without proper sleep. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest similarly for our puppies and young adult dogs.
Lack of sleep leads to anxiety, aggression, decreased response to reward, lower frustration tolerance and low resilience in pups. They will become tense and unable to process the basics.
If you want your puppy to be an emotionally stable and well-rounded adult dog, then they need to be able to get un-interupted sleep. Avoid waking your puppy up for a cuddle or allowing children to play with the puppy when they have gone to their safe place (this is their bed, sleeping area or crate).
Making sure everyone in the family understands the importance of allowing the puppy to rest will ensure the puppy will remain a calm, confident, well rounded and stable puppy. Make sure the puppies safe place (bed or crate) is not violated by any children in the family as the puppy needs to know where they can go when they need to retreat when they are tired. The puppy will know it is always safe, calm and quiet. They can go to sleep knowing they will have sweet dreams!