Bringing a new Labrador puppy home can be both exciting and challenging. Pups are certainly a handful when learning socialization, basic training, and house rules. A huge dilemma for new dog owners is whether you should let your Lab puppy sleep with you?
Your Labrador puppy should not sleep with you on your bed, although he can sleep next to you. He needs to adjust to a regular schedule, become independent, and recognize you as dominant. However, your Lab can sleep with you once he’s grown a little, is potty trained, and preferably 6 months old.
There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to where your new Lab puppy should sleep at night. Don’t worry, though, as I’ll help you make the right decision. In this all-new guide, you’ll learn:
- Why you shouldn’t sleep with your Labrador puppy.
- What age your Labrador can sleep with you (With pros and cons).
- Where your puppy should sleep.
- When puppies sleep through the night.
- Whether Labs can sleep outside.
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So, for an in-depth look at Labrador sleep-related topics, read on!
Should I Let My Lab Puppy Sleep with Me?
When your Labrador is a young puppy, you shouldn’t let him sleep with you in your bed. There are many reasons for this, such as teaching him obedience and showing him that you are the alpha, helping him learn a routine, and to prevent separation anxiety. It also teaches him independence and avoids you squashing him during the night!
Let’s look at exactly what this means:
- Your Labrador needs to get used to a regular schedule. A new puppy isn’t likely to arrive potty trained! Unless you enjoy waking up in a puddle of pee (or worse!), you should get your dog used to a routine as soon as you bring him home. Check out this article, How to Potty Train a Lab.
- Your Labrador needs to be shown dominance. Although they are loyal and committed, they won’t be devoted to you if they don’t respect you! Allowing your puppy to sleep on your bed communicates that you are of the same hierarchy, and he might not view you as the dominant figure! This could lead to future problems.
- Puppies need to learn independence. Labradors are renowned for being highly good-natured and friendly. When you let your puppy sleep with you, he may become over-friendly, inadvertently making your dog extra clingy. It can almost become overwhelming as your Lab will always be by your side, even following you to the bathroom!
- May help prevent future separation anxiety: Labradors are an affectionate breed, often prone to separation anxiety when left alone. Many dog owners believe this can be prevented by encouraging their independence by allowing them to sleep alone, whether in a crate or dog bed in a partitioned section of the house. I’m lucky to have a small room where my dog gets all to herself!
- Your puppy should not run the show. Now, this is just as important, as cute puppies can effortlessly be spoiled and be allowed to call the shots! So you have to show your Labrador that he needs to listen and respect you from an early age. It’s okay to comfort your pup if he occasionally whines, but incessant whining is a problem and needs to be corrected. Here’s my guide on how to discipline a Labrador for some excellent guidance.
- You don’t want to squish your puppy accidentally! Although the temptation of putting your new ball of fluff in bed with you may seem too much, you risk accidentally rolling over on your puppy and causing him some harm, especially if you are a heavy sleeper!
Early socialization, obedience training, and puppy training classes are vital for new pups:
“Socialization is a key component of producing an adult dog which behaves in an appropriate manner and is well-suited to living with humans in modern-day society.”NCBI: Puppy parties and beyond
You can also support your Labrador puppy to develop into a well-behaved adult by giving him his own place to sleep at night – and not in your bed with you!
But does this mean it’s the worst thing in the world to let your Lab puppy sleep with you?
Here’s the deal…
Some dog owners argue that it’s wrong to let a puppy sleep alone when he’s used to being with his littermates, all warm and cozy. But consider this…
Suppose you let your Labrador puppy sleep with you. In that case, it may require extra work during the daytime to assert your dominance, help your pup become more independent, and prevent behavior problems such as separation anxiety.
However, it’s unknown whether co-sleeping creates the problem behavior:
“While there can be a link between bed-sharing and behavior problems, it’s not known whether co-sleeping creates the problem or the problem leads to co-sleeping in the first place.”American Kennel Club
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Where Should My Lab Puppy Sleep?
There’s no need to worry about your new Lab feeling scared, cold, or lonely, especially on his first night – puppies are tough little things and really don’t need to sleep with you. Yes, they may cry for the first night, but that’s normal. So, where should your Lab puppy sleep?
A Labrador puppy should sleep in a crate or dog bed. The easiest option is a crate as you can control his environment better, and it also helps to toilet train your puppy quicker. If you choose a dog bed, partition off an area of the house using baby gates or a playpen.
As a first-time dog owner, I took the sound advice of my breeder. He told me that a crate is the easiest way to train a pup to sleep well – and for faster potty training! I can even remember his words of wisdom, “You need to lay foundations on the first night,” he said.
Although I could hear my puppy cry once in a while during her first night, after that, she was fine. This is quite normal, and your dog will soon get to love his crate – he will recognize it as his special place where no one else is allowed!
Here are some helpful tips to help your Labrador settle in his crate and sleep well, especially on his first night:
- Make sure you buy the correct size. You need a size 42″ crate as this allows your Labrador to comfortably turn around and fully stretch his paws out when lying on his side when fully grown.
- Use a divider to partition the crate in half. As the crate will be too large at first, you can use a divider to adjust the size as your Labrador grows. I like the Midwest Homes for Pets iCrate from Amazon as it has everything you need and comes with an all-inclusive divider and wipe-clean removable tray. You can also choose either a single or double door that is handy.
- Cover half of the crate with a blanket. This makes it feel more secure and “den-like.” Add comfy bedding, toys, a clip-on bowl for water, and a small blanket or cushion containing your scent.
- Situate the crate close to your bedroom. A quiet area for sleeping is best, not too far away from your bedroom, so you can hear your pup if he needs to go outside during the night. Or you can choose to put it right next to your bed if space allows. If you put the crate in your bedroom, you can transition to another part of the house after a few weeks.
I chose to put the crate at the end of the landing as I am a light sleeper, and I hate having my sleep disturbed! Remember, dogs have different sleep cycles from humans! Check out this step-by-step guide to learn tons more on crate training, Easy Labrador Puppy Crate Training.
How to Survive Your Puppy’s First Night at Home…
PRO TIP! Check out my recommendations for the Best Dog Crates for Labradors (and Playpens), including soft crates, travel crates, and furniture-style.
When Do Labrador Puppies Sleep Through the Night?
Having a new puppy is like having a newborn baby – you’re in for some challenging and sleepless nights! If your Labrador puppy is having a tough time sleeping through the night, you may wonder exactly when they might be able to master this new skill!
Labrador puppies typically sleep through the night by 4 months old. At this age, they should sleep between 6-8 hours. If you lay the foundations on the first night, your puppy may be able to achieve a night without waking up sooner. It can also help if you have a good routine and are an early riser.
Here are some helpful tips to speed up the process of getting your pup to sleep through the night:
- Routine. Dogs thrive on routine, so ensure you establish a good bedtime routine. Perform the same things every evening before bedtime, and once you’ve decided where your Lab will sleep, don’t change it!
- Potty breaks. Make sure you allow your pup to go potty right before bedtime. However, young puppies may need to go outside during the night while their tiny bladders develop.
- Exercise. Even if your pup isn’t fully vaccinated yet, you can still play around the house or in the yard. Interactive puzzle toys are also great for mental stimulation.
- Crate training. I can’t recommend a crate enough as it makes things so much easier! Don’t acknowledge your puppy if he whines or barks to come out of his crate. He’ll soon realize that you’ll come running every time he is vocal! You can learn what to do instead in my article all about common Labrador behaviors.
At What Age Can Your Labrador Sleep With You?
So, you’ve decided that you want to sleep with your Labrador, and you won’t be the only one!
A recent study of over 1000 dog owners in Australia showed that almost half (49%) reported sleeping with their dog in their bed, and another 20% stated their dog slept in the same bedroom but not in their bed. But are you wondering at what age your Labrador can sleep with you?
Your Labrador can sleep with you once he’s at least six months old. This allows him to be fully potty trained and sleep through the night without having to go potty or cry for you. He should not be so small that you’ll roll on him and squash him or injure himself if he falls out of the bed.
This interesting study compared human-canine sleeping with adult-child co-sleeping and evidenced that both shared similar benefits and drawbacks.
So, that brings me nicely to the pros and cons of sleeping with your Lab…
Pros of sleeping with your Labrador
If you choose to sleep with your Labrador once he’s matured a little, thus increasing your bond, several benefits have been proven to come with it as long as your dog is well-behaved, trained, and knows you are the boss! Remember, dogs who are territorial or aggressive should not sleep in your bed.
“Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
When you opt to sleep with your pet, these overall benefits become even stronger. Some of the most common health benefits of sleeping with your Labrador include:
Cons of Sleeping with your Labrador
Of course, there can be negatives to allowing your Labrador to sleep with you in your bed. These are:
Although you may suffer from disturbed sleep if you sleep with your dog, you are unlikely to be affected by his night-time antics if you are a deep sleeper.
Indeed, this study from The Mayo Clinic looked at the sleep of 40 healthy humans and their dogs occupying the same bedroom to find out whether sleeping together was detrimental to sleep.
Human sleep quality was lower if the dog slept on the bed rather than just in the room. However, a dog’s presence in the bedroom may not be as disruptive to human sleep as previously thought!
Nonetheless, even if you allow your Labrador to sleep with you, only let him onto your bed when you say so. Your dog should not have free reign of your bed, which can hinder how he views the pecking order.
Do Labs Like Sleeping With Their Owners?
Your dog’s ancient wolf ancestors were pack animals, and like most pack animals, they liked to be close to one another for extra warmth and security, so they slept together as a group. But what about modern dogs? Do Labradors actually like sleeping with their owners?
Most Labradors like to sleep with their owners as a sign of affection and closeness. Dogs are social animals and instinctively want to sleep with you as they like to be close to their pack, and you are the head of the pack! They also want to protect you and display their loyalty and trust.
Some dogs might get too hot on your bed and may temporarily move onto the floor to cool down. Some might not want to sleep with you at all! It doesn’t mean they don’t love you – it just means they really can’t settle and prefer their own space.
Always have another place where your Labrador can sleep, such as a bed or crate nearby where he can get warm and cozy.
Can a Labrador Puppy Sleep Outside?
Labrador puppies grow very quickly, which leaves some pet owners wondering when would be the right time to transition their pooch to an outdoor sleeping area. But can a Labrador puppy sleep outside in the first instance?
Labrador puppies can sleep outside, but not until they are between 4-6 months of age. This is because young puppies can’t control their body temperature and are more prone to diseases and parasites. They also need to be socialized, trained, and spend time bonding with their family.
Let’s take a closer look at why your Labrador should be at least four months old before being transitioned to sleep outside:
- Your Labrador cannot regulate his body temperature until his double coat is fully formed around 4 or 5 months of age. The health risks around this become more precarious in extremely hot or cold temperatures. The same goes for the rarer long-haired Lab.
- Your Labrador is more at risk of diseases and parasites. Until your pup has received his vaccinations to keep him healthy, he is more vulnerable to illnesses and parasites. Immunizations are typically not completed until 16 weeks, so training him to sleep outside sooner than this may compromise his health.
- Your Lab needs to be socialized and trained. All puppies must be socialized, obedience trained, and allowed to bond with their family. Without proper socialization, you risk your Lab becoming fearful, reactive, nervous, or even aggressive.
To ensure that your Labrador puppy is healthy and safe when sleeping outside, there are a few things you should always make sure he has.
These items include:
- A doghouse. This provides your puppy with a safe space to feel safe and snuggle down. If it’s cold, then a doghouse with sufficient warm bedding is necessary. I would definitely have this Petmate Dog House from Amazon on my wish list! It’s really cool and even has an asphalt roof for added protection from the weather. A bit pricey, though!
- Water bowl. Make sure your Lab has his favorite water bowl filled to the brink every night.
- Favorite toys. To make your puppy feel comfortable and relaxed, put his favorite toys wherever he sleeps outside.
You now know why you shouldn’t let your new Labrador puppy sleep in your bed – as tempting as it may be! When all is said and done once your dog has matured, it is a matter of personal choice. Here are the key takeaways from the article:
- You may choose to let your new puppy sleep at your side.
- Over 50% of pet owners share their bedroom or bed with their pets.
- When he has grown, you can let him sleep on your bed. He needs to be fully house trained and at least six months old.
- The benefits of sleeping with your Lab are security, bonding, and mental health. Negatives include disturbed sleep and an increase in your allergy symptoms.
- Most Labradors like sleeping with their owners.
- You can transition your dog to sleep outside between 4-6 months of age.
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