If at all possible, try to get your puppy on a day where you have a couple days off in a row. New puppies cry at night and it is LOUD. Consider ear plugs for you and your family. A normal reaction would be to go to the crying puppy in order to sooth them, or perhaps to sit with them to prevent the crying until they fall asleep. Soothing them when they cry will teach them the wrong lesson. You must try to think like a puppy. For example, if you cry, and someone comes to console you, you would learn that crying is great! You get attention! It does not take long for the puppy to learn to cry for attention and love. If you do happen to go to them, or, anyone in the family does, you will be extending the number of days they will cry when left alone. What could have been a few nights of adjustment turns into weeks of sleep deprivation and frustration for you. For the puppy it would be the beginning of an unhealthy relationship with their crate. Instead before bedtime play crate games, feed them in their crate and place a blanket with the scent of their littermate or mom in the crate with them. Also reinforcing quiet in the crate will help them understand that the crate is a place to relax and be quiet. Remember any behavior that is reinforced will be repeated.
Speaking of crates. I know some people think putting their puppy in a “cage” is mean. Try to look at it this way. When the dog is crated at night you won't be waking up to potty messes in the house. These potty messes can lead to increased difficulty house training. The puppy will establish their “bathroom” is at the foot of your steps, upstairs, or in your child’s room. Crating your puppy will greatly reduce “accidents” Puppies don't want to potty where they sleep and will try hard to avoid it. Another important reason to crate your puppy is to help the puppy feel safe. They don't know you or your family and they are unfamiliar with your house. Crating them will give them a place to feel safe, their own space. The crate can be temporary. Use a crate until your dog can be trusted to not chew on anything in appropriate or potty in your home when you aren't there. With a consistent routine this will take a few months. They can be trained to sleep in beds at the foot of your bed once they are house trained. If they develop a healthy relationship with their crate then you will find them in there on their own often. Dogs are pack animals that lived in dens before being domesticated. The crate provides safety from ‘predators’ and allows them to feel safe and protected.
To minimize middle of the night cries for bathroom breaks, pick up their water around 7PM. Bring your puppy out for their last potty around 11:00PM. How long they can hold it during the night will depend on the age and size of the puppy. These times are variable depending on your bed time, but, try to remove water and all food 4 hours before your sleep time.
When they do cry, and you feel it is within a reasonable time from their last bathroom break, about 2 hours, go get them from the crate and carry them outside. Place them down in the area of the yard you want them to “go”. As soon as they are finished, pick them back up and carry them back to their crate. Do not make a big deal of the late night trip to the bathroom. If you give treats and make it a big deal, they could increase their desire “visit the facilities” in the middle of the night just to get a treat. This could result in more crying to “go” when they don't have to in order to get your attention and praise. Expect them need to go out as frequent as every 2 hours.
If the puppy is not needing to “go”, but still crying, then they are most likely crying because they are alone and scared. Avoid sneaking into the room to get a peek at them. You can help them relax without being in the room. If you have a clock that ticks loudly - place it near them, or if you can play a white noise machine it may help calm them. There is an “app” for that! Search Google Play or iTunes for White Noise applications for cell phones or tablets. There is also a pheromone spray that can be used to help them relax. Just check the directions and make sure your puppy is old enough to use it. My personal favorite way to help them relax is to diffuse lavender essential oil into the air. This not only will help them relax but it has a calming effect for everyone in the house. During the day play crate games and feed them inside the crate. give your pup something delicious to chew or a lick mat. These games and chews will help associate the crate with something positive and will help them settle at night more easily.
Getting a new puppy is a lot of work. But as with all hard work there is great reward. If you follow these guidelines your puppy will have an easier transition into being a part of your family. Call us at 980-269-4517 if you are having trouble with transitioning your puppy into your home. We can help! Just wait until the morning please.
Why should you hire a dog trainer? Here are a couple reasons why. Did you know that in most cases it is cheaper to train your dog than pay for replacing the items they destroy. It's also less expensive than paying that vet bill after the dog swallows something it chews or if they accidentally injure themselves.
Basic obedience dog training helps you form a healthy bond between you and your dog. They learn to trust you. By training your dog, you are setting expectations and teaching them the "rules" of the house. Your dog will be more confident and will be less prone to destructive behaviors like separation anxiety.
Many people just live with annoying and potentially dangerous behaviors. Take barking at the neighbor. A good dog trainer can figure out why your dog is barking at the neighbor. Are they barking out of fear? Does your dog want to go play with the neighbor? Is it Aggression? All of these scenarios present with your dog barking at your neighbor but very different techniques are used to change that behavior into a more desired one. If you use the same technique on each of them you can end up with reinforcing the underlying issue and potentially making it worse.
Do you have one of those dogs that only your husband can walk because the dog is too strong for you? Does your dog "only pull on the leash when they see another dog" Wouldn't it be nice to not have that happen. Not only does pulling cause trauma and possible injury to the dogs neck (assuming they are wearing a collar) but can potentially cause you physical harm as well. Not to mention the stress this behavior creates for both you and your dog. I don't know about you but if my dog pulled me down the street every time we went for a walk, I wouldn't be looking forward to our walks together. A good trainer can teach you how to walk with your dog at your side and maintain control of your dog, using positive reinforcement techniques, even if that pesky neighbor goes by.
Hiring a dog trainer is an investment in your dogs health and well being. All too often dogs are surrendered to shelters due to behavior issues that were never addressed. Some owners grow tired of these "annoying" behaviors or "cannot physically control" their dog. These dogs aren't "bad" they just never learned the rules of the house. Did you know that some shelters euthanize these poor pets because they run out of space or don't have the means to care for them. All because they were never taught what was expected of them.
These were is just a few reason you should hire a professional dog trainer. Believe me I could write for days on this subject. Stay tuned for tips on how to hire a great trainer!