When I had my Shih Tzu for the first time, I’m such an overprotective fur parent that I’m so scared to let him roam the house at night. i wanted him to feel comfortable and stay safe. Thankfully, my other dog Kuya protects him like an older brother.
Kuya is a mixed breed of Aspin (Asong Pinoy or Filipino Dog) and German Shepherd. He was only 2 months old when I got him in March 2019, while I got Bunso (at 5 months old) in October of the same year. Aside from the 7-month gap, Kuya is obviously a medium to large breed compared to Bunso.
Despite the “huge” difference, Kuya has always been a responsible “older brother” to my Shih Tzu. They NEVER fight. Over time, I am reassured that it’s okay to leave my Shih Tzu puppy roam the house at night.
Kuya, checking who’s at the gate, while Bunso is “smiling” for the camera.
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Should I let my puppy roam the house at night?
Safety is our number one priority. Therefore, you should only allow your puppy to roam the house at night if you are certain that doing so will not compromise his safety and security.
First, you need to puppy-proof your home. This will prevent accidents and anything that will cause harm to your puppy while you sleep. For example:
- Place your cleaning supplies in hard-to-reach areas
- Lock your doors and windows
- Secure your trash bins
- Move poisonous houseplants away where your puppy can’t reach them
- Put away items that are choking hazards
Second, provide a comfortable sleeping area for your dog. Get him a soft orthopedic bed or an elevated pet bed. Having a comfortable sleeping area will help reduce anxiety to your puppy and give him a good night’s sleep.
Third, make sure that your puppy is well fed before bedtime. One of the reasons why your puppy roams around the house at night is that he can’t sleep because he’s hungry or he’s too full. Ideally, dogs need to be fed at least 3 hours before bedtime. This allows enough time for their food to be fully digested.
Lastly, help your puppy to sleep well through the night. Like children, puppies have their own share of stubbornness. Therefore, we need to set the mood for them to understand that the day has passed, and it’s time to go to bed.
You can set the mood by watching TV together until he falls asleep. Or how about some quiet time cuddling your puppy while you read?
My dogs know it’s time for bed when I ask them to lay down and pray. We thank the Lord for another beautiful day, for all the blessings we received, and for the opportunity to be a blessing to others.
Saying our prayers before bed seem to work. And when I kiss them goodnight, my dogs are calm and always looking forward to starting a new day.
How much freedom should a puppy have?
For puppies, freedom must be given with extreme caution. Playtime means he can roam in and out of the house as much as he wants. But, when it’s time for bed, the puppy should know that it’s time to get cozy to get some good night’s sleep.
It’s normal for a puppy to walk and run here and there. That is actually a good sign that a puppy is comfortable around the house. But if it bothers you, get him a playpen. A playpen will help train your puppy to stay just where you want him.
At what age can puppy be free to roam house?
My first dog Kuya was 2 months old when he came into my life. On the other hand, my Shih Tzu Bunso was 5 months old. I puppy-proofed our house before they arrive. This way, it will be easy for me to allow my puppy to be free to roam around the house.
At two months, puppies can be very curious about their environment. I allowed my dogs to roam the house while I work. But I make sure that I still keep an eye on them to prevent accidents from happening.
Another reason why dogs keep roaming around the house is that they’re bored. Instead of chewing cabinets, chairs, and tables, give them chewing toys or tasty treats, or play with them.
My job can be demanding, but I make sure that I spend a few hours every day playing with my dogs. Kuya and Bunso love to fetch and belly rubs. After a long day’s work, spending time with them is such a priceless reward.
Can I let my puppy roam the backyard?
If your puppy is not yet vaccinated, do not allow him to roam the backyard or walk outside without supervision. Puppies are susceptible to certain illnesses like bacterial or fungal infections, parasites, ticks and fleas, and worse rabies. Therefore, it’s not advisable to let your puppy roam in the backyard and/or allow close contact with other dogs.
Moreover, there are plants that are poisonous to our dogs. So, if your backyard is filled with these, you better train your dogs to stay away from them.
I grow cacti in our backyard. Therefore, I make sure that I put my plants where my dogs can’t reach them.
Should I let my puppy run around?
Puppies are very active, curious, and energetic towards their surroundings. Having them running around the house can be a beautiful mess. To control the chaos, training your puppies to stay in one area will prevent accidents.
And also, you don’t want your puppies peeing and pooping everywhere, do you?
Making the decision to take care of a dog is the responsibility of everyone in the house. Letting your puppy roam around the house at night is okay, as long as it won’t jeopardize the safety and security of your dog.
Puppy-proof your house as needed.
Feed him well and on time.
Provide a comfortable sleeping area.
Addressing your puppy’s basic needs is just the beginning of a happy relationship between you and your Shih Tzu.
Time is short. Make the most of it.