If your German Shepherd won’t sleep at night you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might not be sleeping at night and what you can do.
So, why won’t my German Shepherd sleep at night? Possible reasons are that there is an issue with its diet, it is ill, not enough exercise, there is a problem with its sleeping environment, separation anxiety or you might have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd won’t sleep at night. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd won’t sleep at night
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd won’t do it will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might not be sleeping at night and what would make them more likely.
It could be the case that there is a problem with its diet that is causing it to struggle to fall asleep. This would be more likely if it suddenly stopped sleeping easily at night after a change in its diet. You can look here to see what sort of foods you should and should not be feeding it.
If you tend to feed it just before bedtime then that could also be contributing to it struggling to fall asleep. Instead, try feeding it earlier in the evening.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
Not enough exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that are meant to be getting a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral issues including struggling to fall asleep at night. Generally, it is recommended for a German Shepherd to get at least an hour of exercise per day.
If your German Shepherd is not currently getting that much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
Illness or injury
It could be the case that an illness or injury is causing your German Shepherd to be unable to fall asleep. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill.
If it does seem like it might be ill or injured then it would be the best option to take it to a vet.
Its sleeping environment is not ideal
It might be the case that there is an issue with its sleeping environment that is causing it to struggle to fall asleep. This would be more likely if the place that it sleeps is too bright, hot or uncomfortable.
It might be the case that it struggles to go to sleep because it has separation anxiety which is where it gets uncomfortable when it is not around you. This would be more likely if it shows signs of becoming anxious when you are about to leave it. Signs could include pacing, crying or acting abnormally when you are not around.
Rewarding the behavior
It might be the case that you have been inadvertently training it not to go to sleep by rewarding it when it doesn’t. This would be more likely if you tend to give it a lot of attention or other things that it likes at night when it does not go to sleep.
Instead, it would help to follow the tips given below. It would also help to avoid giving it attention at night unless you are sure that it is being active due to something such as needing to pee.
Stress or anxiety
It might be the case that something is causing it to become stressed. This would be more likely if it has been showing other signs of being stressed such as pacing, crying or hiding. I have written more about why your German Shepherd might be anxious and what you can do about it in this post.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
How to get it to sleep at night
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to go to sleep more easily. The best option for you will largely depend on the cause of it struggling to go to sleep. However, I will mention a number of options that you have below.
Ensure that its diet is right
It would help to make sure that your German Shepherd is eating the right foods. You can look here to see what you should and shouldn’t be feeding it. If you are unsure then it would also help to consult with a vet on whether or not its diet might be causing it issues.
Take it to a vet
Since illness or injury might be causing it to struggle to go to sleep at night it would help to take it to a vet to rule out illness or injury. This would be especially helpful if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been acting differently in other ways as well.
Ensure that its sleeping environment is ideal
It would help to make sure that it is able to sleep comfortably. You can do this by ensuring that it is able to sleep in an environment that is dry, cool, dark and comfortable.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your German Shepherd is getting exercise daily. You might find that just walking it is not enough. In that case, you could also play fetch with it in order to wear it out even more. It could also help to take it for a walk in the evening to get it to be tired just before bed.
Reduce its separation anxiety
Since the reason why it struggles to sleep at night might be that it has separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.
One way to do this would be to start out by leaving it for very short time periods and then to reward it for not being anxious and then to build up to leaving it for longer and longer periods.
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.