“Should I let my puppy sleep on my lap?”
A friend asked me that very question, and I thought maybe some of you may be wondering the same thing!
If you’ve just adopted a puppy, you might not know if that’s the right thing to do or how to act when a puppy falls asleep on you.
Below, we’ll talk about whether your lap is a suitable napping place for a puppy.
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Should I Let My Puppy Sleep On My Lap?
During the first few weeks, you might feel as if your puppy has an endless supply of energy and that they’re quiet only when asleep.
So, of course, you’re going to let your puppy fall asleep in your lap if it means a few moments of peace.
However, if your puppy keeps whimpering to sleep on you during the day, you might start to doubt your decision.
Should you put the puppy in their crate/bed or let them snuggle in your lap?
To find out, we’re going to talk about why your puppy likes to sleep on your lap and what could happen if you encourage this behavior.
Why Does My Dog or Puppy Sleep on My Lap?
What’s so special about your lap that your puppy keeps falling asleep on you?
Knowing why your puppy falls asleep on you will help you understand if you should encourage the behavior or stop it.
It’s normal for puppies to be lonely and homesick in the first few weeks.
Imagine how you’d feel if you’re suddenly separated from your mother and siblings and brought to a new, unfamiliar place.
Your puppy might keep falling asleep on you because your lap reminds your pooch of snuggling to its siblings and mother.
When you bring a puppy home, everything is strange and scary for your pet.
It’s not uncommon for puppies to have trouble falling asleep in their new house because they feel unprotected.
So, until your puppy adjusts to your home, they might feel safer around you.
That’s why your puppy might keep falling asleep on you.
Do you pay special attention to your puppy when they’re on your lap?
Rewarding your puppy with attention or treats makes it likely for them to repeat the behavior.
That’s called positive reinforcement.
So, climbing on your lap might also be a way for your puppy to demand attention because the puppy knows they will get a reward.
It’s a Breed Thing
Such dogs are much more likely to fall asleep on you whenever they’ve got the chance. It’s their job, after all.
Affectionate breeds– like the Shih Tzu- are also likely to sleep on your lap as a sign of their love and devotion.
Marking and Dominance
It’s easy to understand why scared and lonely puppies always want to be on your lap.
But why does your adult dog sleep on your lap?
Dogs that suddenly start sleeping on your lap might be marking you with their scent.
It’s a warning to other dogs and possible intruders to stay away because you’re taken.
Asserting dominance is also possible, especially if your puppy climbs into your lap and starts barking at the other pets.
Consequences of Letting Your Puppy Sleep On Your Lap
So, is it alright to let my puppy sleep on my lap? The answer is far more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”
Since puppies often look for security and comfort when they climb on your lap, letting your puppy nap on you during the day can strengthen your bond.
It will also allow the puppy to adjust quickly to their new home.
However, your puppy will likely continue to climb into your lap for a nap when they grow up.
A cute 2-pound puppy is one thing, but try to imagine a 100-pound adult dog.
That’s one of the potential problems of letting your puppy nap on you.
To help you make up your mind, I’ll walk you through the other possible consequences of letting your puppy sleep on your lap.
#1 It’s Hard to Retrain a Dog
If you suddenly decide that you don’t want your dog on your lap, it will be challenging to make your dog stop napping on you.
Your dog won’t understand why they can‘t sleep on your lap anymore and will keep trying, no matter how much you say, “No.”
If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of a grown-up dog napping on you during the day or at night, it’s best not to encourage the behavior.
Breaking an established habit can take months of hard work.
#2 Sleep Disturbance
3-month old puppies sleep around 15 hours a day with a nap lasting from 30 minutes to two hours.
How long can you stay still until you have to get up or your legs get numb?
Disturbing a sleeping puppy isn’t a good idea because puppies need their beauty sleep.
Growth hormones are released during the sleep cycle, and they’re essential for the proper development of your puppy’s body.
Startling a puppy from a deep nap is also a good way to get bitten and scare your pet.
Not to mention that your pet might be a little bit grumpy.
When you allow your puppy to sleep in your lap, you might encourage your pet to become dependent on you.
In some cases, your puppy might not want to sleep anywhere else but your lap. You can see how that would be a problem,
Moreover, the more dependent the puppy is on your presence, the more likely they are to develop separation anxiety.
That’s a problem, especially for toy breeds and companion dogs.
#4 Spoiled Puppy
It doesn’t seem like a big deal to let your puppy sleep on your lap. However, it can be the first step in spoiling your pet.
Giving in to your puppy’s begging to sleep in your lap whenever they want sends the wrong message.
It teaches your pet that everything is allowed.
Your puppy is like a toddler. They need to learn boundaries and rules to grow into well-behaved adults.
Otherwise, you’ll have a puppy that throws “tantrums” when you don’t allow them to nap on you.
#5 Tension in the Household
If you have multiple pets, allowing your puppy to sleep on your lap might create tension.
Your other dogs or cats might become jealous of the puppy and start misbehaving.
Allowing your puppy to nap on you might reinforce the idea that all laps are a suitable sleeping spot.
In such cases, your dog might pester guests and other family members, which can be frustrating.
How To Teach A Puppy To Sleep in Their Bed
There’s nothing wrong with letting your puppy sleep on your lap from time to time.
However, as I already mentioned, your puppy might become too dependent on you to fall asleep.
That’s why it’s a good idea to teach your puppy to sleep in a bed/crate:
- Get a suitable bed and a crate for puppies.
- Position the bed/crate in a quiet corner, where you can supervise but away from the hustle and bustle.
- Put one of your T-shirts or blankets in the bed/crate so that your puppy connects it with your presence and doesn’t get lonely.
- Wait until your puppy gets sleepy and guide them to their bed.
- Say “go to bed” and give them a treat. In this way, your puppy will have a positive experience with the bed.
- Be persistent and repeat the above steps whenever your puppy gets sleepy.
Where should the puppy sleep during the night?
During the first few weeks, you should keep the puppy’s bed/crate in your bedroom.
Your presence will be soothing, and your puppy won’t feel so alone.
You’ll also be able to keep an eye on your puppy.
Should I move the puppy to my bed if they cry at night?
No. it’s normal for puppies to whimper at night.
Don’t get up to comfort the puppy, or you’ll encourage them to cry for attention when bored.
If my puppy falls asleep, should I put him in his crate?
Yes, if your puppy falls asleep on the floor or your lap, move them carefully to their crate.
But it’s better to put your puppy in the bed as soon as you notice that your pet is getting sleepy.
How to get a puppy to fall asleep?
If your puppy has trouble sleeping, you can get a toy with a heartbeat to keep them company.
Tiring out your puppy before bed also works.
Puppies need a lot of attention, care, and reassurance during the first few weeks.
As such, you can allow your puppy to sleep on your lap occasionally.
However, make it clear to the puppy that it only happens on your terms and with your permission.