Like many breeds, West Highland Terriers need more sleep than humans in order to stay healthy. These energetic little dogs need upwards of thirteen hours of sleep over a period of twenty-four hours to get sufficient rest. Westies will easily conform to the sleeping habits of their family, often getting the bulk of their rest at night at the same time as their human families, in addition to several naps during the day. In this article, we'll take a look at how new Westie owners can train their dogs to learn good sleeping habits and what to do if you suspect your Westie is sleeping too much.
An important part of training and housebreaking Westie puppies is teaching them where they will sleep. This is a place that will become something of a safe haven for the dog, where he can retire after an energetic playing session or during the night. Many fanciers of the breed recommend using crate training, which will appeal to a Westie's natural den instinct. While some prefer to place a crate in a large pen, where the dog can have a safe area to play as well as sleep, others simply use the crate to create a safe place for the dog to stay when he is alone or for nap time.
In crate training, it is very important to not use the crate as a form of punishment, as the dog will hardly want to make it a safe haven if he associates it with a place he has to go when he's been bad. It should be suitably large enough to be comfortable and not stifling, with soft padding. Crate training, when done correctly, will not only give a Westie a place he'll go willingly to sleep, but will also provide a means of traveling that will keep him safe and secure.
Other owners may prefer to let their Westies sleep in their bedroom with them. There's nothing wrong with this choice, although it may be a good idea to give them their own comfortable bed near their owner's on the floor. The principle is the same as crating - giving the dog his own space where he can go when he needs to take a nap or be alone for a while. Owners that are concerned about Westies walking around in the home alone at night can simply close the bedroom door, training the dog to stay in the bed during sleeping hours.
While it is not unusual for Westies to tire after vigorous exercise and wish to take a nap, sleeping too much can be a sign that something is wrong. Continuous sleeping, along with other signals such as general weakness or lack of eating, are often symptoms of medical issues such as auto-immune disorders or cancer. Not every Westie will inherit medical problems, as everything is done by breeders to weed out dogs with medical problems from their breeding programs, but if you suspect that your Westie is sleeping too much and may have a medical issue, it would be best to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible for a full check up.