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  • Writer's pictureHeather Brendle

I Can't Stop Talking About Rest.

Did you know that on average, puppies need to sleep 18-20 hours per day? Obviously, that depends on the puppy, but it drives home the point that much like human babies, puppies need to sleep to be well. Think about all of the growing and developing that is happening in their little bodies. I recently wrote an IG post about how sometimes I feel silly sending owners pictures of their puppy napping in my care. That I feel odd showing off that they are paying me to watch their baby dog sleep. But you know what? Putting your puppy on a schedule of activity and then sleep is probably one of the most important things I will do. Making sure your puppy is able to nap, is one of the most important things I will do. And let me tell you, that will be a much larger task for some puppies than others and the work does not stop with me.

But taking it a step further, helping your puppy understand that they can be in a space with or without you, and be ok is even more important to me. There are so many areas where we put our dogs at risk for failure when a simple management tactic like a baby gate could have completely removed that possibility. I am going to use Thiago as an example. He has had very little exposure to children in his life. We just don't know that many and there is no risk of him living with one so it isn't something I focus on. He gets worried about the noises and movements that some children make and it stresses him. It stresses me because I worry that he may make a wrong choice (because he is strong, not aggressive), rooted in his concern for those children. If I can't watch him and make sure his interactions with children go well, he goes away. That may be into the office behind a baby gate, into an x-pen in the living room, or into his crate in the dog room. Regardless, these are all places he is comfortable being. Why? Because when he was a puppy, he napped in the middle of our busy home. I had him in the middle of the commotion, and he learned to sleep through it and settle down regardless of the action around him. Now I recognize that he also has genetics behind him that make this easier on him and me. I also recognize that isn't the case for all puppies and dogs, but I think we can figure out ways to make most dogs comfortable with being putting away for their own comfort and safety. And that starts when they are puppies, teaching them to nap and making sure we give them the foundation to be comfortable doing it in lots of scenarios.

*Obviously the caveat to this is a dog with true separation related anxiety. But I would argue that these dogs need naps and rest even more, and that we are doing them a great service by figuring out how to make that okay for them. The resource list for this continues to grow as trainers work with and understand more about separation related anxiety. If this is an issue for your dog, I would tell you to start here, with a trained professional and get to work. Your life, and your dog will be better for it.


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