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.