Many dog owners are familiar with the “puppy witching hour” – that period of time in the evening where your dog suddenly seems to have an excess of energy to burn off. This is very normal, as dogs are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active around dawn and dusk and have extended periods of rest during the day and night. Since both boredom and sleep deprivation can result in problematic behavior, here are a couple tips for using what we know about dog sleep patterns to help keep harmony in the home:
- Have a plan to give your dog mental and/or physical exercise during their peak activity times. Morning and evening are good times for walks, play time, or other exercise. If your schedule doesn’t permit this, then provide some other type of enrichment at these times, such as feeding breakfast and dinner out of a puzzle toy.
- Remember that it is also normal for dogs to sleep for several hours mid-day, and they do need to have a chance to rest. If you have a home that is highly active during the day, make sure your dog has a quiet place they can go to for some shut-eye. If your dog attends day care, look for a facility that does allow dogs a nap-time mid-day so that you don’t come home with a cranky, over-tired dog at the end of a long day.