Where should my puppy sleep?

A Golden Retriever is a companion dog and being a part of the family is very important to him.  So at night he will want to stay with his pack.  That doesn't mean that he needs to sleep on your bed or even in the bedroom - although that is fine if all parties are agreeable. 

For a puppy, sleeping in your bedroom on his own bed helps him to overcome the stress of isolation from his mother and littermates and minimises nuisance barking and crying during the night.  A basket or bed in another part of the house is a good compromise if you do not wish your puppy to sleep in the bedroom.  If he sleeps nearby, his position in the pack is reinforced.  He is lower in status than the pack leader, but still part of the pack. 

Puppies are able to sleep through the night as well as taking day time naps and it makes for a more harmonious life if your puppy can get into this routine.  Generally your puppy will take on the daily routine of the rest of the household.

In the wild a dog's sleeping pattern would be to sleep very lightly at night and wake up frequently becoming alert and active before going back to sleep.  This contrasts with the human pattern of sleeping deeply and waking less often.  You want your puppy to adopt sleeping patterns which align with the human members of his pack.

We recommend that your puppy sleeps inside the house, but confined.  If your puppy has room to move around the house he will retain the wild pattern of activity and sleeping which results in nuisance barking and the increased risk of toilet accidents as his metabolism is still on the active setting.  If your puppy is confined, particularly sleeping near you, he will be more likely to take on the human pattern of sleeping through the night and waking briefly without activity periods.

When your puppy has grown and is an adult dog, there are still good reasons for him to sleep inside.  He still has a need to live with his pack and it is still important that the adult dog's sleeping habits fit with the family's sleeping habits.  It is preferable that the dog not have active periods during the night which can result in barking and disturbances.

Inside he has a clean, dry, warm and safe place to sleep.  Outside there are too many dangers; he can be stolen, injured, escape under the fence, hunt possums or other wildlife or bark, disturbing the neighbourhood.

Sleeping with his pack confirms his position as a member of the pack.  Most importantly, it is natural for a dog to sleep with the other members of the pack and it is a powerful way to build a bond with your dog.  But this doesn't mean you should forget the rules, boundaries and limitations.

© Fernamber Golden Retrievers 2002-2008

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