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Sleep

Maltipoo Sleeping Habits

How to Help Your Maltipoo Go To Sleep and Sleep Well

Sleep. Such a great word! However, if you have a new puppy or a Maltipoo of any age, for that matter, and they are not sleeping as you wish, the word “Sleep” can bring frustration. 

Maybe your Maltipoo is having trouble falling or staying asleep or has some unusual sleeping habits that is interfering with his or her daily routine. 

You may also wonder if he or she is sleeping enough. Can a dog be grumpy from lack of sleep? Sleep deprivation is a real issue for both humans AND dogs.

For this reason, we are going to take a look at this issue from several angles.

We will discuss:
  • How much you should expect your Maltipoo to sleep at different age levels
  • Whether it is a good idea or a bad idea to let your Maltipoo cozy up in your bed with you
  • Tricks and tips for when a Maltipoo needs help settling down
  • Signs that may mean a trip to the vet is necessary
  • Tips to for puppies that struggle to get enough z's
Bed or No Bed

There is a lot of controversy and back-and-forth “debates” about whether or not an owner should allow their dog to sleep in bed with them. Let’s dive into this a bit.
Maltipoo sleep
Sofia, 17 months old
Photo courtesy of Pam Hicks
There are those who say a BIG “No!”…. in a recent Washington Post interview a well known dog trainer stated that a dog in bed is "a sign the dog is completely in charge. Get the dog off your bed. It can make a bigger difference than anyone can imagine."

There is a very popular dog training book that advises letting your dog sleep on the floor in your bedroom, but never actually in your bed. According to that advice, "A dog trying to get too intimate should receive "slapped paws and a shove off" .

We do not agree with either of the above advice.

Here’s the real deal. Once your Maltipoo is completely trained, is following the rules of the house and listens to all basic commands very well, then it is perfectly fine to allow your Maltipoo to sleep in your bed. You will have already established who is “king (or queen) of the house, your Maltipoo (through learning commands and rules) will know that you are the “Alpha dog” (the one in charge of the household)…And therefore, it is perfectly fine to snooze together and your dog will NOT think that they are in charge.

However, if you do allow your dog to sleep in your bed BEFORE they are fully trained, you may indeed be asking for trouble… And there are several reasons for this. First of all, when a Maltipoo is a puppy (at least before the age of 1 year), your Maltipoo will be waking up to go to the bathroom and having them in your bed is just asking for an accident to happen.  

If a Maltipoo puppy is in the bed, as opposed to their crate (only recommended until training is done), there is a far less likely chance that they will whine and make noises to awaken you in order to take them outside. Taking your Maltipoo puppy outside to a designated “bathroom” area is VITAL for proper house training, so having them in your bed will not be helpful and will prolong training in most cases.

Also, Maltipoo puppies are fragile. Their bones are fragile. They have a lot of growing to do. You may think that it will not happen, BUT it only takes a SECOND to roll over and injure your Maltipoo puppy. Also, unless you are willing to put up children’s bed barrier’s, your Maltipoo puppy can fall right off of the bed…And this is no joke…This can cause injury including hip dysplasia , luxating patella and a host of other possible injuries.

Once a puppy is fully trained, your bed or a quality comfortable canine bed are both good choices.
How Much Sleep is Normal

If you count all of the little naps that a Maltipoo can take, the average number of hours that a Maltipoo sleeps is a minimum of 14 hours. Some Maltipoos (especially puppies and older dogs) can sleep up to 18 hours a day. Now, dogs who are bored will sleep more…And THIS can cause sleeping problems at night… More will be discussed below.

One thing that all owners should be aware of, at least until their Maltipoo puppy is 6 months old, is the possibility of Hypoglycemia. As you may know, Hypoglycemia is a very dangerous condition, in which a puppy’s blood sugar level suddenly and drastically drops. It is important to know whether a puppy is acting sleepy… or if they are having this possible dangerous medical condition.

When a Maltipoo puppy is entering Hypoglycemia, they will first appear to be weak. They will have trouble walking, they may nod their head, they will become unresponsive to your voice. If this is not treated, it is often fatal. So, how can you know? First, if you notice any signs that seem suspicious, think about when the last time was that your Maltipoo slept. If it is day time and the pup just woke from a nap an hour before, he should not be overly sleepy again so quickly. If you have a doubt, stand your Maltipoo puppy up and see if he can walk over to you, you will be coaxing him over to you with an excited voice and a favorite toy or a very small yet yummy treat.

If you suspect Hypoglycemia, rub some honey onto your puppy's gums. Having this in your house and taking some with you wherever you may be going with your Maltipoo is a MUST. The honey, when rubbed into the gums, goes directly into the dog’s bloodstream, and should raise their sugar level quickly…You should notice your mPoo “waking up”. If this does happen, take your pup to the vet ASAP, AFTER you have given the honey. If blood sugar levels are dangerous off, IV solution often needs to be given to reach a healthy balance. 
Maltipoo for blog
Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"

Translation: 

"Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh... a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist! Show me some love & share this site before you read on."
Elements that Affect Sleeping

There are several things that will affect how much your Maltipoo sleeps:
  • Activity level
  • Level of boredom
  • Illness / Health Issues
  • Medication
  • Age
Let’s take look at each of these elements….

ActivityActivity is a huge factor. Maltipoos of all ages MUST be given daily exercise for optimal health and for good sleep. Now, puppies are often very hyper and you may feel as if they do not need “formal” exercise. However, there are several reasons why you should offer a daily walk or a daily outside exercise routine….

First, if a puppy is normally hyper, his metabolism and body is used to a high level of movement and activity; therefore it does not really count as exercise. You Maltipoo may chase around a toy for an house every day, but this does not count as exercise, since it is part of their normal day and part of their normal behavior.

Second, taking your Maltipoo for a walk is an excellent opportunity for command training and should not be skipped. You will be using many commands, from “sit” when you put on their leash to “heel” when you are strolling down the street.

Third – Sleep! If you plan to take your Maltipoo for a walk or to play at a fast pace outside (fetch or “chase”, etc) about 1 to 2 hours before bedtime, this will help your Maltipoo sleep through the night. This is true no matter what their age. A Maltipoo puppy will still wake up at certain times during the night (discussed more below) but the exercise 1 to 2 hours before bed time will help them stay asleep until it is time to go the bathroom and it will help them fall asleep. 

Do plan this into your schedule, since activity right before bedtime (10 to 30 minutes before) can often be counterproductive, causing a dog to feel “revved up” and unable to settle down.
BoredomDogs can get bored and do so easily if they are not provided with a stimulating enough environment. With humans being busy with work and errands, it is common for no one to be home during the day, and this can be hard on a Maltipoo. But, there are ways to help your Maltipoo be happy.

First, although it costs money, we cannot mention that “doggie day care” can be a great idea, IF you search around and find a truly good one. With that being said, let’s look at what can help your Maltipoo.

For Maltipoos that are left home alone for quite a long time each day (over 8 hours), it will be very helpful to heir a dog walker. Now, this does not have to be expense... a neighborhood (responsible) teenager who is looking for a bit of spending money for the movies on the weekends may be perfectly happy to take an hour each day to get your Maltipoo out of the house, to allow them to relieve themselves and to go for a walk.

Now, let’s look at how you can set up you house for your Maltipoo when you are not home. Never, never put your Maltipoo in a crate and leave him in there all day. It is a terribly frustrating and stressful confinement. In addition, it will not stop a dog from going to the bathroom. A 2 month old puppy has to pee every 2 hours, a 3 month old every 3 hours and so on…until the dog is fully trained and can hold their needs for about 8 hours.

Expecting an adult dog to hold on more than 9 hours is unrealistic and can cause many problems for a Maltipoo….if they are trying to hold things in to make you happy, they will be extremely uncomfortable…and holding in bowel movements can lead to varying levels of constipation (NOT fun for a dog to have that).
Here is the perfect setup for a Maltipoo that is left home alone, yet is too young to be trusted to have the “run of the house”.. Keep in mind that if you have a small room, such as an extra bathroom, you can use that room instead of setting up this type of area.. however you may be limited with some aspects such as a window view or being able to have a TV going…. 

- Obtain a large piece of linoleum (You will lay this down on the floor that will be the “bottom” of the area that you are making for your Maltipoo)

- Obtain gates. You can use many kinds of gates, but the best kind are adjustable ones.

- Set up the gates around the linoleum.

Inside, to prevent boredom while you are not home and to stop your Maltipoo from sleeping all day (and causing restless sleep or inability to fall asleep) have the following inside this little “fort” that you will be making them.

*** Alternatively, a canine playpen is a great method to use as well. 

Inside the area, you'll want to have:

-A napping area (While your Maltipoo will take small naps, the goal will be to keep him “self busy” for a good amount of time)

-Toys – The need for interesting and stimulating toys cannot be underestimated. Toys are vital to a dog’s learning and to avoid boredom. Proper dog toys stimulate a dog’s mind and keeps them busy, thinking and playing. An absolutely great thing to have is a Toy Dispenser. While these CAN cost a pretty penny, they are wonderful. You fill up the device with many toys and then… SOME will automatically dispense a toy every so often and SOME will dispense a toy when the dog touches a certain area of the dispense.

If you do not have a toy dispenser, there's other options that work well. First, take all of your Maltipoo’s toys and divide them into 2 groups. Group 1 will be for week 1, group 2 will be for week 2….Group one will be switched back and used for week 3, group 2 will be then used again for week 4 and so on. In this way, each week gives him/her “new” toys.

Here is how to make your own "home made toy dispenser". You can use a plastic storage bin or other type of see-through container, in which your Maltipoo will be able to see the toys, BUT will need to work hard to get the toys out. Test several containers to see what works best with your dog… It will all depend on their age and strength.

Watch to see which one takes them about 15 to 20 minutes to work on to topple it over and get the toys out. You may need to encourage your puppy's actions so that he/she learns what must be done to reach the goal. You will want to put the toys on the floor and then put the container upside-down on top of the toys. In this way, your Maltipoo will eventually tip the container over, but it cannot trap your Maltipoo inside.

Let’s talk about cheap VS quality toys. Anyone can create plastic items and call it a dog toy and "dollar stores" are just filled with inexpensive toys. However tempting it may be to stock up on those types, it is best to go for quality VS quantity and gradually build a nice collection. Aside from chew toys, look for toys that do something - such as treat release. 

Also, choose colorful toys (canines CAN see in color, however it is a bit like how we see at twilight time, when the sun is setting… So they respond well to very vivid colorful toys). Toys that move if touch a certain way are great. MOST important are toys that allow you to hide treats inside. These can keep a Maltipoo busy for at least an hour and usually more as a dog will go back and forth from toy to toy.
 You can also hide a few yummy dog treats in this area…. Deep within the doggie bed, under a baby blanket, etc. Your Maltipoo will smell these and work to find them.

*** If you would like to see recommendations for great boredom, companion, teething, independent play and treat release toys, look to the Maltipoo Specialty Shoppe.

You will also want to have an area of newspaper or better, pee pads (they have a scent on them that lets a dog know that it is to be used for bathroom needs). Remember, you do not want your Maltipoo going to the bathroom a LOT in this area and have the smell of it ! Therefore, take him/her to the bathroom RIGHT before you leave (After you have fed them if they are young enough to need a breakfast.. it will be about 20 minutes after eating that you can expect your Maltipoo to have a bowel movement).

Also, make sure that your Maltipoo has a non-spill supply of water. Water dispensers work best… if not, then use a bowl with a “grippy” rubber bottom.

Be sure that the temperature in your house is comfortable… 69-75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

The reason that it is best to set up this type of area instead of keeping your Maltipoo in a bathroom,etc. is that it can help greatly to have a TV going…and if they can SEE it, it is even better…MANY dogs are known to actually watch TV , they CAN see the images. If this is not possible, at least have a radio playing (talk radio is best) and make sure that they cannot reach the electrical cord.
Maltipoo sleeping on huge teddy bear
Baby Mia, 11 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Catrina Nunez
When You are Home Having a schedule is one of the best things that you can do to keep your Maltipoo from being bored. Dogs have amazing inner clocks. They will get used to their schedule and expect things to happen…and have things to look forward to.

In this daily schedule, (and you can fit more in on the weekends if you work) should be specific times to:
  • Grooming Time – Baths , brushings, trimmings, nail clippings, ear cleaning, etc.
  • Play Time – Free fun time to run around with you in the yard or in a park
  • Command Training – Time with no distractions to practice commands
  • Exercise Time (walks) – At least one time per day, 2 times per day on days that you are home all day
  • Family Time – Time to spend with the family, as you watch a movie, go for an ice cream, BBQ outside, allowing your Maltipoo to follow you as you clean the home (for young puppies that are being house trained, use the “umbilical cord” method, so that you can know when they have to go to the bathroom)
  • SLEEP TIME - This is vital. Your Maltipoo should get used to a routine in which night time sleep time is just about the SAME time each day. It is a good idea to take a small walk about 2 hours before the designated sleep time. This allows a dog to release some pent up energy. About 30 minutes before you want your mPoo to sleep, dial things down a bit in the house by dimming lights and lowering any otherwise loud TV's or stereos. At bedtime, show your Maltipoo to his/her bed and encourage your dog to rest - often done with a favorite "cuddle toy".
EXPECT a puppy to wake up during the night to go to the bathroom, BUT do NOT get up every 20 minutes if a puppy whines. A 2 month old must learn to hold on for 2 hours… a 3 month old for 3 hours…etc…. It may go against your instinct, but if you rush over every time your Maltipoo puppy makes a noise, they will quickly learn that “Make a Noise” = “Get attention” and your do not want that as it is hard to reverse this sort of attention seeking behavior. When a puppy is safe, warm and comfortable - and bathroom needs have been met - it is best to allow a puppy to learn to self-sooth.
Illness & Medication

If you Maltipoo is ill or if they are having side effects or an allergic reaction to a medication, this can cause hyperactivity OR excessive sleep. If you suspect that this is an issue, take your Maltipoo to the veterinarian right away. Find out if sleep problems are expected, if they are severe see if the medication can be decreased and be sure to ask if sleep problems can be a side effect.

Age

Older dogs do sleep more, on average…but older dogs with arthritis or other issues that make them uncomfortable can have trouble sleeping. It is recommended to bring a Maltipoo that is 8 years old to his/her first geriatric checkup for look for any age related issues. An older dog should also have an orthopedic dog bed, this will help them get and stay comfortable. Keep up with exercise with an older dog, but lower the pace... You may want to switch from 1 longer walk to 2 shorter walks spaced out over the course of the day. 
Related: In our Q&A blog, an owner that allows her Maltipoo to sleep in her bed at night, wants to know if it's okay to put the Maltipoo in a crate during the day to stop the dog from ripping up the bed. 
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