The place where your puppy sleeps during housebreaking has a significant impact on future behavior and bonding. Choosing a sleep location depends on the number of other dogs in the house and your training preference. Young puppies are prone to waking and require bathroom breaks during the night. This will impact your decision on sleeping locations.
Distance is important for sleeping. Keep the puppy close enough to hear barking and whining during the night. Sleeping within a few feet of the puppy is fine and it will keep the dog calm. Complete confinement and separation builds anxiety and restlessness. If you own other dogs, keep them close to the puppy, as well. Dogs are social animals and the close sleeping arrangements builds a positive bonding experience, according to dog trainer John Rubin.
Crate training is an effective way to housebreak puppies. The puppy will learn to use the crate as a safe place and will continue sleeping in the crate for life. Choose a crate just large enough for the puppy to turn around and stand. Anything larger will lead to defecating on one end of the crate and sleeping on the other, which defeats the purpose of crate training. Keeping a crate near your own bed is ideal because the puppy is sleeping near enough to alert you for bathroom breaks. A proper sized crate forces the puppy to wake you, making it possible to control where the puppy goes to the bathroom.
An open bed within your bedroom is another option to consider. The open bed is effective but more difficult to monitor than the crate. You must prepare to wake when the puppy wakes and leaves the bed. The puppy is less likely to hold bowel movements and you must let the dog out several times each night if necessary. Keep your bedroom door closed to prevent the puppy from roaming the house freely. Ultimately, an open bed is more work and the puppy may learn to jump and sleep on your bed. If you want the dog sleeping with you, this is a good option.
When your puppy cries and you let the dog outside during the night, use rewards for the positive behavior. Praise the puppy for going to the bathroom outside. Avoid using treat rewards during the night because it may trigger additional bowel movements. Use a positive voice, pet and play with the dog before returning to bed.
Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.