Leaving the dog downstairs at night sounds like abandonment, it’s not it depends on the dog’s age and your preference for sleeping arrangements.
Some dog owners prefer to have their dogs sleep with them in their bed or at least in the same room while others train their dogs to sleep in a separate room.
If you choose for your dog to sleep in a separate room, then leaving the dog downstairs at night is perfectly fine and only a matter of convenience with the condition that he’s potty trained, respects house rules, and the area is dog-proofed.
How to keep the dog safe downstairs at night?
Leaving the dog downstairs at night can actually be a good idea to help establish house rules and build your dog’s confidence and independence.
However, not all dogs are emotionally mature to be left alone downstairs at night without supervision.
Providing a safe environment is always necessary for the safety of your dog, making sure there are no unfortunate incidents, and to keep your furniture safe from mouthy puppies.
You can either crate train your dog and the crate is great for managing the safety part, or you can just get a playpen or puppy gates to secure a larger area.
We use and recommend the Midwest Ultima Pro dog crate( check on Amazon), it’s sturdy enough and be folded and easily assembled if you need it out of the way during the day.
You can also use the PAWLAND Puppy Gate/Playpen (check on Amazon), it can be used both as pet gates or a sturdy nice looking playpen.
Should I leave my puppy downstairs first night?
Absolutely not, a new puppy should never sleep alone especially the first night, it’s an entirely new world for him and he needs comfort.
In addition to the comfort your presence provides at night, young puppies can not sleep through the night without a potty trip.
Young puppies also tend to wake up multiple times at night whining and crying, and they need attention for a few days.
If you decide to crate train it will take a few days for your puppy to accept the crate at night and there will be a lot of whining in the crate.
To be able to hear the puppy crying for a potty break or just whining in the crate, you need to have him sleeping close to you and preferably in your room.
Leaving a puppy downstairs the first night will be a cruel thing to do, you won’t be able to hear him while he’s screaming for hours in the crate, and he’ll mess up where he’s sleeping because he couldn’t hold his still small bladder.
Can my puppy sleep alone at night?
A puppy can sleep alone at night when he’s ready, new puppies that are not yet properly potty trained, and not yet aware of the house rules can not sleep alone.
Potty-trained puppies that are old enough to sleep for the night without a potty trip which is around the age of 3 to 4 months old can sleep alone at night in a puppy-proofed area or a crate.
Emotional maturity is also important when leaving a puppy downstairs or in a separate room alone at night.
Puppies can get in all sorts of trouble and some are mouthy and will damage your furniture when unsupervised.
Either use a crate or a playpen to keep the puppy in a safe environment, until he’s old and mature enough to move out of the crate.
Training an older dog to sleep downstairs
Training an older dog to sleep downstairs instead of sleeping with you can be a challenge, especially if he’s been sleeping there for years.
Breaking old habits in dogs is difficult but can be done with consistent training, patience, and positive reinforcement.
Sudden change can be hard on your older dog, that’s why it’s recommended that you accompany him through it by sleeping the first night downstairs with him.
You also want to use the leash to take your dog to his new bed downstairs to show that it’s serious, the leash has that formal aspect to it and gives you control.
You want to spend a few minutes instructing your dog to go to his bed every night using a command word.
Verbal praise and treats to reward good progress are a great way to condition your dog into the new sleeping arrangement.
Tough love is needed when the dog is trying to go back upstairs to sleep with you, if you let go once you’ll have a training regression.
Is it cruel to leave a dog alone overnight?
There is nothing cruel about leaving a dog alone overnight, dogs are capable of sleeping alone and don’t need any company.
Dogs sleep in cycles and can wake up at night, but they just stay where they are loafing and relaxing till they sleep again.
At night there should be no activities even if the dog is awake, that’s why they don’t need you to sleep with them.
Just like us, it’s a matter of habit, if they’re used to sleeping alone they’ll be just fine and there is nothing cruel about it.
In fact, dogs that sleep in a separate room, tend to be more independent and less likely to turn velcro with time.
If the dog is sleeping in a crate then you must let him out early in the morning for his potty trip and be ready for his daily activities, the carte is great for dogs but too much time in it can be cruel.
Should I ignore my puppy crying at night?
This is a very common question asked about puppies at night especially when crate training, mainly because it’s widely suggested to just ignore puppies and they’ll stop whining.
There is some truth in that, in fact when training a new puppy, you should not respond immediately to whining or barking, or else the puppy will start to abuse it knowing that it works.
However, five minutes are more than enough to make sure if the puppy is just testing you, or it’s really something bothering him.
Of course, before responding to the puppy you need to make sure his whining cycle is over, meaning you have to make some noise or talk to him to get him to stop before responding or going out if he’s in the crate.
When is the puppy ready to sleep downstairs?
The puppy is ready to sleep downstairs as soon as he’s able to sleep through the night and doesn’t need a potty trip, provided that he sleeps in a puppy-proof area or a crate.
If you’re crate training then once the puppy is properly trained and sleeping in his crate without sudden whining at night.
Dogs are different, large breeds have larger bladders and are usually capable to hold it for the night sooner than smaller breeds.
generally, 3 to 4 months old puppies are mature enough to sleep alone downstairs without potty incidents.
Why won’t my dog sleep downstairs?
Dogs that won’t sleep downstairs are usually too attached to their owners, most dogs will actually prefer to sleep where you sleep, but will be fine elsewhere.
If your dog is just rejecting the idea of sleeping downstairs then you might have a velcro dog on your hands and actions need to be taken.
You need to separate yourself from the dog a little and have other people interact with him to bring down that overprotective behavior.
Persistence and continuous training are important, along with socializing, a dog that follows you everywhere even to your bed is not so great.
How to get my dog to sleep downstairs?
The process of getting a dog to sleep downstairs is similar to an older dog that is used to sleeping with you, it’s just easier because a new dog has no acquired habits.
Make sure to puppy-proof the area and provide a comfortable bed in a spot that provides privacy.
Use treats to lure the dog into his bed and reward him for positive behavior, the reward can be a treat, a rub, or verbal praise.
You need to establish communication and have a specific command that means go to that specific bed.
Using the leash also provides a serious atmosphere to instruct the dog, and literally walk him to his bed when it’s time for it.
What’s even more important is to keep repeating the same thing until your dog has accepted his new bed and don’t be afraid to use tough love to reject any of his attempts to follow you to your bedroom.