A Sleepy Puppy is a Happy Puppy!

It's true that they say "a sleepy puppy is a happy puppy", but what if that sleepy puppy refuses to sleep in his own bed? I struggled with getting Cooper accustomed to his own bed for the past year..!

We began crate-training Cooper from 12 weeks old -- that meant sleeping overnight in his crate and staying in his crate when we were away from home -- in the hopes that he would be house-broken and only do his business outside. This is just one proven method of potty training a puppy since dogs are not supposed to go #1 or #2 where they sleep. Well, I don't mean to brag, but I think he was a bit of an all star. Cooper loved sleeping in his crate and did not make a single peep. He also quickly learned that "go to your place" meant to go inside his crate and wait for a delicious treat. He never had a single accident in the crate but we still had to wait for him to be accident-free for 4 weeks in the house. We slowly "weined" him off of the crate by doing short periods outside of the crate and then a few hours in, while we were at work. This method helped us to determine if he was able to "hold it" outiside of the crate since the living room and connected kitchen afforded him much more space to play and nap.

By 8 months, he successfully past the crate-training phase of his young puppyhood and he got free reign of the old apartment (minus the bathroom, since the trash was at puppy level). Helpful hint - they say that your puppy's age in months can be an indication of how many hours they can hold it! It's not an exact science, but it certainly explains why the little buggers have to go outside so frequently at a young age. It was at this point that we noticed Cooper's desire to jump up on the big (queen-sized) bed of ours and cuddle up to sleep. Obviously I was completely smitten and he wasn't taking up much room... Well, needless to say we got pretty cramped after several months of sharing our bed, especially in the colder months when Cooper refused to move more than an inch away (body heat).

First, I tried just bringing his dog bed close to my bedside and petting him to sleep. Turns out he hates round dog beds with the removable center pad -- HATES them. So, I disguised his bed with a newly warmed blanket that I had draped over the oil radiant space heater -- FAIL #2. Oh, I'll just wheel the space heater over next to his bed just before bedtime and use the timer for 2 hours that way we don't all overheat. Boy is this dog smart. He knew that at 3am he could jump up and cuddle with me and I would be too tired to put him back to bed. In attempt #4, I sprinkled kibble and treats on his bed to make more "inviting" and then maybe he would be convinced that it was THE place to be. Since he knew I was the one with the treats, he decided that after he ate all of the pieces on his bed, he would just beg me for more! Finally, after much research, I decided I needed to purchase a pet-safe heating pad. Voila! He still got the benefit of the space heater for the first hour and then the constant warmth from the heating pad that I place UNDER his pillow bed because he didn't like the way it felt when it was between his bed and the down blanket covering it.

Tip: I actually start with the heating pad on top of the blanket around the same time I turn the heater on and then I move it underneath when it's finally time to zzzz....