The Best Meds are Zeds – The Importance of Sleep
Getting Those Zeds – Is your puppy/dog sleeping enough?
Sleep is a pretty important aspect of being alive, ironically the more time our pups spend resting and asleep the better they may well feel when awake. Sleep for our dogs is a time for them to rest, dream, process their days, heal and digest – very important stuff and it’s something they need alot of!
The average human should be getting 7-9 hours sleep, our adult dogs? 14-16 hours, Puppies? 18-20 hours a day. That’s a lot of sleep and I wont lie, I’m a little envious. But are our dogs actually reaching that quota and if not, is it having an effect on their behaviour? It’s no secret that when we deny ourselves enough sleep we become grouchy, less tolerant, impulsive and generally not as effective – it’s no different for our dogs!
During 121 sessions with clients I regularly ask owners about their dogs sleep patterns, whether they’re long enough, disturbed easily and consistent. If not, we look at keeping a sleep diary of our dogs alongside observed behaviours that day – if you start to see a correlation between lacking in sleep and your dog making somewhat less desirable behaviours you may have landed on some key information about your pup!
Lack of sleep could be effecting the choices your dog makes in everyday life. For an adult dog this might be building unwanted behaviours on walks or around guests, for our puppies this could be effecting really important experiences that we want to keep positive and stress-free. Frustration is a big part of puppy’s development and something we want them to build a resilience towards, if they’re not in their best frame of mind due to a lack of sleep, they’re potentially not going to choose to walk way or accept this.
So how can we help our dogs get more sleep?
- Give them a space to switch off in.
Does your dog have an out of the way space where they can chill and escape the hustle and bustle of the house?
- Give them chews/kongs/lickimats
Calm and relaxing activities like this can set our dogs up to choose to sleep and relax
- Remove access to windows and triggers
If your dog is barking or alerting to things outside the house whilst you’re out, close blinds and curtains, leave calming music on to drown out sounds.
- Build in on and off switches for play time
By teaching our dogs a ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ to play time, our dogs will know when it’s time to play and when to stop collecting every toy from their box and placing it on your lap.
So take a look at your dogs sleep, take a look at your own! You may find you need to make a little time to rest and recuperate.