Your puppy can sleep wherever you like the first night. This can be your bed, a crate, a dog bed, or a separate room.
Establish consistent rules for bedtime early on so that they know what to expect. For instance, don’t allow them in your bed one night and make them sleep in the hall the next.
Every person and puppy has their own preferences, so it’s impossible to give you a one-size-fits-all answer. However, I’m going to discuss the things you should consider.
I’ll also go over the places you can let your puppy sleep, and the pros and cons of each of them.
It Doesn’t Matter Where Puppy Sleeps
When it comes to where a puppy should sleep, it seems that everyone has a different opinion. Some will tell you that you must crate your pup from day one. Others will say to give them their own room to sleep in.
Here’s a secret: it doesn’t matter where your puppy sleeps!
What matters is that you make a decision that’s right for you and your puppy. This will vary depending on your personalities.
If you want your puppy close by, you might have them sleep in bed with you or in a crate in your bedroom.
If you’re worried about being kicked in the night or your puppy taking up too much of the bed, especially as they grow bigger, you might decide it’s best for them to have their own space such as sleeping on the floor or outside the room.
Here are some options you can consider for your puppy to sleep:
In your Bed
The first option is to allow your puppy to sleep in bed with you. Some people are against this, but I personally don’t think it’s a big deal if it’s what you prefer.
Benefits include being close to your puppy, comfort for both of you, and being more likely to catch them if they try to get into trouble.
You’ll likely feel your puppy get up at night and be able to stop them if they’re doing something they shouldn’t.
Another added benefit early on is being right there if your puppy needs help, such as if they have to go potty in the middle of the night.
This is also potentially the number one drawback to having your puppy in your bed. Your puppy will be able to wake you more easily by moving around, crying for your attention, or snoring.
Or maybe you are the kind of sleeper who moves around a lot. In this case, you should be sure you won’t roll over onto your puppy or thrash around and injure them.
You may also have to wash your bedding more frequently, and your dog could take up a lot of space on the bed.
This is especially true with large dogs, but small dogs can take up space as well—especially if you spoil them!
Personally, while my dog doesn’t sleep on the bed, I have cats who do. I know that for me, even though they’re small, I actively avoid disturbing them even if it means I can’t stretch out my legs.
Of course, this is a problem you can resolve by setting boundaries with your dog and making them stick to their own space.
In a Crate
The next option is to crate train your puppy.
When you crate your puppy at night, you know that they are safe and not getting into anything. You can also keep their crate inside your bedroom, which allows you to be nearby without having your puppy right in your face.
Crate training isn’t instant. It takes a lot of time, work, and patience to get right. According to the AKC, proper crate training takes over six months to complete.
If you’re thinking you can just lock your puppy in the crate and call it a night, this isn’t the correct way to use a crate and can lead to your puppy having bad associations with their crate in the long run.
In a Dog Bed
A dog bed can be combined with any of the other options on this list, as dog beds can be put just about anywhere—on your bed, inside a crate, or in another room.
However, in this section I’m going to speak specifically about having a dog bed on the floor in your bedroom.
Other very similar options to this are to replace a dog bed with a blanket or to simply have your pup sleep on the bedroom floor.
There are many varieties when it comes to dog beds, and you’re sure to find one that your pup enjoys.
Training your puppy to sleep in their own bed allows you to be in the same room as one another.
You can keep an eye on them and ensure they’re out of trouble, and they can feel close to you without disturbing your sleep as much as they would in your bed.
Unlike with a crate, your puppy can get up and move out of their dog bed. They might do things you don’t want them to, such as hop into bed with you or roam around the house causing mischief.
You can solve this in part by puppy-proofing the room and keeping the door closed.
Outside of the Bedroom
Next, you can have your puppy sleep outside of your bedroom with free roam of the house. While this works for some households, it can be a bad idea with young puppies.
Having your puppy sleep outside of the bedroom will allow you to sleep more peacefully. You won’t have to worry about them snoring in your ear or pacing around the room for a place to sleep.
It will also teach your puppy how to be alone and, if done right, they will gain independence. (Of course, there are ways to establish this during the day if you choose to allow them in the bedroom instead.)
Your puppy can get into things very easily if they have free roam of your house with no supervision. With your bedroom door closed, you’re less likely to hear their activities. However, this can be disastrous and, in severe cases, life-threatening.
If you use this method, be extra-sure to puppy-proof your home.
Also think about how you will know if your puppy is in distress or needs something, such as to go potty outside.
You also must ensure that your puppy is emotionally okay with being alone. If this is a distressing experience for them, it could lead to separation anxiety.
In their own Room
Next, you can allow your puppy to sleep in their own room. This is typically preferable to free-roaming simply because it’s easier to puppy-proof one space than your entire house.
Setting up an area in a separate room for your puppy creates less risk than allowing them to roam your house freely, and if set up right you’ll be able to sleep peacefully knowing they are safe—but not in your face waking you up.
Set up a comfortable area for your pup with a crate or dog bed. This should be somewhere they can go to be alone and undisturbed, even during the day if they choose.
Sleeping in their own room can also teach your dog that it’s okay to be alone and, if done correctly, can make them more independent. Of course, like we discussed above, this is only one way of accomplishing this goal.
A separate room for your puppy still means no supervision, and less chances of you hearing your puppy if they are getting into trouble or need something from you.
If your puppy is forced to sleep alone and this is distressing for them, it can lead to attachment issues and possibly separation anxiety.
Letting them Choose
Lastly, you can let your puppy choose where to sleep by keeping your bedroom door open and giving them the run of the house.
You’ll know right away what your puppy likes and be sure that they’re comfortable at night. Some people like giving their dog this freedom.
This allows for less control over their behaviors and potentially their routine. If your puppy goes right to sleep this is fine, but if they start getting into things then it may be more trouble than its worth.
You’ll also have less supervision over your puppy if they decide to wander off in the middle of the night.
If you go for this option, be sure to heavily puppy-proof your home so that there is no danger to them.
What Matters is Consistency
While it doesn’t matter where your puppy sleeps, it is essential that you set the rules and boundaries on day one that will continue throughout their lives.
If you allow your puppy to sleep wherever they want and change the rules later, or you expect them to be somewhere different night to night, they will become confused.
It is easier to establish a routine early on then to change it later.
When making your decision about where your puppy sleeps, consider the following:
- How large will your puppy be as a grown dog? Will you be able to stick to your decision when they’re fully grown?
- Are you a light sleeper? Will having your puppy too close disturb your sleep in the long run? (Your puppy waking you up in the short-term is expected and normal.)
- Will you like having your puppy close by in the long-term, or will the novelty fade over time?
- If you’re placing your puppy in another room, do you have a plan to care for their needs throughout the night? Can you hear them if they are in distress?
- Have the space your puppy is sleeping in puppy-proofed. (This is essential, whether or not they are alone. You can’t watch them while sleeping!)
Try your hardest to set boundaries you can stick to, and then be consistent.
Of course, sometimes unexpected situations can arise that change your mind or force you to switch up your routines.
But something like, for instance, your puppy growing into a full-grown dog, is expected and it’s best if you plan ahead of time for things like this.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
No matter where your puppy sleeps, establishing a consistent bedtime routine will help them adapt better.
If you’re constantly changing the time you expect them to sleep, they will become confused and are less likely to be tired. But if you stay consistent, they’ll learn when bedtime is and sleep easier.
Exercise before bed can help to wear them out. Take your puppy on a walk or play with them in the living room or back yard for a while, and they’ll be ready to sleep the rest of the night.
If they don’t burn off some energy first, they might have a difficult time falling asleep. They might also wake up in the middle of the night more.
In addition to your bedtime routine, make sure to keep meal times as consistent as possible and ensure your puppy is getting enough exercise throughout the day.
This is especially important if you want them to be tired at night!
Give Your Puppy a Say
When I brought my dog Charlie home from the shelter, he was ten months old and quite particular about how he did certain things. One of these was sleep.
He never gave me any trouble about bed time, and always put himself to bed very easily. But to this day, he still gets upset if anyone comes near him while he sleeps.
He slept in the hallway his first night home, and even now he spends very little time in the bedrooms at night—and rarely climbs into beds.
If your puppy is like Charlie and doesn’t appreciate cuddles, don’t force them to sleep in bed with you.
On the other hand, if your puppy hates being alone, you should probably reconsider making them sleep completely separate.
Try to compromise while still setting boundaries.
If it’s important that you are near your pup for supervision purposes, keep them in your bedroom with the door closed at night but let them sleep on the floor.
If you absolutely won’t allow them in the bed, try a crate or dog bed set up in the bedroom where your puppy can still see you and smell your presence. Maybe give them a t-shirt or blanket that smells like you to help them feel close.
Writer: Katelynn Sobus