Surviving the First Night with Your Puppy
Using a Crate
The best compromise can be setting a crate up in the bedroom or just outside of the open bedroom door. This way, the puppy can hear your sleeping sounds and you can verbally comfort her from close by. One other thing to consider about crating the puppy in those early nights is that puppies are unlikely to urinate where they sleep, so you can be sure that the puppy will not get up in the night and urinate on the floors.
And speaking of “going,” before going to bed, take the puppy outside so that she can relieve herself. Getting into the habit of walking before bed has another advantage besides keeping the puppy from needing to urinate during the night: she will also get tired out and will be more likely to sleep soundly and less likely to disturb you as you sleep.
Again, remember that the puppy is not used to being alone in a crate. He will feel anxious and uncomfortable and is likely to make a lot of noise. It is best to ignore the puppy’s whines as much as possible. If you pay too much attention he will learn that this is a good method for getting you to come to pet him.
When Nature Calls
If the puppy does whine excessively, it is reasonable to take the puppy gently by the scruff (back) of the neck , and without getting agitated, tell him in a low voice, “No, go to sleep.” Repeat this several times and as the days pass into weeks he will learn to obey you. In the morning, take him outside to relieve himself.
Along with going out before bed, going out first thing in the morning should also become a habitual morning ritual. Puppies will typically relieve themselves in small amounts several times before they have finished an outing. Once he is finished, praise him with a pat and perhaps a small training treat and say a few praising words to let him know he has done the right thing.
One of the most important messages you can send to your puppy in those first days is that she is cared for and wanted, just as you would show those feelings toward a human child. This increases the chances that your puppy will attach to you in a healthy and confident way, without anxiety, and will grow to be a friendly, affectionate, loyal and obedient dog.
Image: Aidras [is playing catch-ip!] / via Flickr
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