It was not until we lost our 7-month old Shihpoo puppy that we learned he could cuddle with our son in his bed and not pee on his blanket or wake him up. The joy of having a sleeping Shihpoo at the feet of our son did not happen until after the dog darted through my wife’s legs and out the door one morning. He ended up sleeping on the foot of the bed of a sweet couple nearly a half-mile away before we recovered him the next day.
When is a Shihpoo puppy ready to sleep with you in your bed?
Your Shihpoo is ready to cuddle all night after he or she meets the following conditions:
- he or she is waking in the morning with a dry bed in his or her own kennel or crate
- he or she has spent sufficient time in your bedroom without piddling or pooping on the floor
- he or she is not chewing and shredding his or her own bedding at night
Our 12-year old boy had been begging us to let the dog sleep with him since we had brought Titus Rex home at 8 weeks old, but we were understandably worried about having to do laundry in the morning. By losing our Titus Rex, we learned several lessons about our puppy and his sleeping behavior.
Learning the hard way
Our puppy was missing for 36 hours. We lost him on a weekday morning and did not connect on Nextdoor with the lovely couple who had found him until the following evening after work. We had visions of him scouring the neighborhood for scraps of food, cowering in thorn bushes at the sight of others and whimpering for want of our love and affection.
Come to find out he was having the time of his young life. After scampering out the door and running beyond my wife’s line of sight before she was able to make it outside after him, he apparently ran happy-go-lucky down the street and around the corner until he joined a kindly retired couple in their open garage with their own small dog.
When no owners came chasing after Titus, and they found no tags on the dog (we weren’t keeping a collar on him as we figured he was only an indoor puppy), the couple took him in, fed him for the day, let him play with their puppy, and even took him to a nearby vet to see if Titus had a microchip with information to reconnect him with us. He did not.
At that point, the couple listed him as a lost puppy on the Nextdoor, and in the evening, invited him to sleep at their feet with their own puppy. By the time our neighbor two houses down saw a little white and furry lost puppy on the Nextdoor app, we were already losing hope of ever seeing our Titus Rex again. What relief! And what appreciation for good neighbors!
Since the evening we learned our puppy had slept through the night on top of our neighbor’s bed without any accident at all, he has slept with our son in his bed. Only once in the following month did our puppy wet our son’s bed sheets, and that was likely due to not having been let out before bedtime.
Signs Your Shihpoo is developing positive sleeping habits
Not only did we learn the lessons that our puppy needed to be micro-chipped if he was not going to wear a collar 24/7, we learned he was ready for sleeping with our son and that he was much more socialized with other dogs than we had thought. He slept next to another dog all night, after all.
Sleeping through the night
We had fallen into a routine of the puppy sleeping in his own crate. Although our son would ask from time to time about having his dog sleep in bed with him, we had habituated ourselves to the nightly routine of water-out to pee-inside-dental chew-crate-lights out. We were fearful of experimenting with the dog in our son’s bed.
We were overlooking the first and easiest sign as to whether our puppy was ready to sleep in our child’s bed: he was holding his bladder all night long already and had been doing so since before he was three months old.
If you can check that sign off your ready-for-the-big-boy/girl-bed checklist, its time to move on to looking for the next sign.
Puppy is accustomed to the bedroom
Potty training your Shihpoo can take a few days in the best-case scenario to a few months. Each puppy will respond at his or her own pace. At age four or five months, Titus quickly learned that jingling the bells hanging from the back door meant we would let him out. Our second Shihpoo, Stark, was much less concerned about learning, well, anything. Even after a couple months, while he was having very few accidents, he had no inclination to jingle the door bells himself.
Regardless, potty training your Shihpoo is not something you do for the entire house all at once. Dogs tend to avoid peeing or pooping in areas they consider their living spaces, which is way crate training can be so successful so quickly. Besides his or her own crate, training your Shihpoo to play, rest, and enjoy being in your bedroom (or your child’s room) should be a priority.
Once you feel your Shihpoo is comfortable in the bedroom and won’t have an accident on the floor even after several hours, you are ready to consider the next sign your little cutie pie is ready to sleep in bed with you or on your bed.
Your Shihpoo is sleeping on a pillow or doggy bed
Working with your Shihpoo puppy to get him or her ready to sleep in your bed or your child’s bed can sometimes coincide with the puppy’s teething. If this is the case and you place your pup on your bed among your pillows and blankets, chances are that you will wake up to torn up bedspreads and nibbled on quilts.
In our case, we wanted to first make sure our Shihpoos were not in the habit of chewing their bedding to shreds in the night before letting them up onto our beds. With our first Shihpoo, we wish we had known earlier about anti-chew sprays (we used Bitter Cherry by OUT!). It would have saved us having to buy several replacement crate mats, beds, and sleeping cushions. Our second Shihpoo never chewed up his sleeping pads once we sprayed them.
If your little fur ball of a Shihpoo is making it through the night (and nap times) without tearing his or her bedding to pieces, make sure to spray his new sleeping area on your bed with anti-chew spray. Chances are, you are ready to curl up with the cute little canine very soon are some nocturnal snuggling.
Baby Steps, or should we say, Puppy Steps to Sleeping with you in bed
If you are ready to give it a try but still worried about your Shihpoo puppy’s readiness for staying dry all night in your bed or your child’s bed, try this step-by-step process:
- Sit with the puppy on your bed or have your child sit with the puppy on his or her bed for five to ten minutes at a time. Let the dog explore a bit, but do not make it a game or play time. You do not want your puppy thinking your bed is the funnest place in the house or else you will never get any sleep when the puppy joins you at night. Make the room as dark as possible while still being able to keep track of puppy’s movements on your bed.
- Next, put your puppy down in his or her own crate or bed as usual at night, before your or your child’s bedtime. Lights should be out so he or she knows it is sleeping time and not play time.
- Later, at bedtime, once you are ready for bed, turn out the lights, get the puppy out of his or her bed or crate and cuddle up on your bed for 10 to 15 minutes to start. The puppy wants to explore the bed for a few minutes, that can be fine, but if he hasn’t settled down by then, you might need to return to step 1. Otherwise, gently guide puppy back to your arms or to the foot of your bed, wherever you want to accustom him or her to sleeping.
- Consider leaving a night light on throughout the night. Dogs in general don’t have great eyesight, so you want to help him or her see the edge of your bed. The last thing you want is for your puppy to walk or slip off your bed, or think that they are low enough to jump off. Most beds are too high for Shihpoo puppies to jump up onto or jump off of. With the nightlight, you will also be able to track the puppy in the night if the fuzz ball decides to move about.
Cuddling up at night with your soft and furry Shihpoo can be one of the great joys of welcoming a puppy into your home and heart. Though there is never a guarantee, following the steps above can provide you greater confidence in waking up with a dry and well-rested puppy next to you.
What size crate should I get for my new Shihpoo? Most Shihpoo puppies will be just fine in a small crate or kennel at night. Medium sized kennels will be too roomy, and the puppy may try to use one end as his or her potty area.
How long does it take for a Shihpoo puppy to sleep through the night? Assuming you welcome your Shihpoo into your home at eight weeks, you should plan to spend the next couple of weeks getting him or her up a couple of times a night to relieve his or her bladder outside. Then, for another couple of weeks, you may be able to cut back to once a night. Expect an accident here or there as you lengthen out the time between potty breaks, but by four months, your Shihpoo will likely be sleeping through the night.
Published September 7, 2019