Friday, June 6, 2014

1.     The puppy won’t be sleeping much, so you shouldn’t expect to, either.
2.     Sleep in sweat-clothes, or keep them beside your bed in case the puppy wakes you up by crying, scratching and/or walking around in his crate.
3.     Tire out the puppy before bed by playing with her about an hour before you expect to be going to sleep. Let her wind down and mellow out before you put her into the crate. A tuckered-out puppy is generally more relaxed.
4.     Try different comfort items in the crate. Put in a hot-water bottle (or microwaveable heating pad) wrapped in a towel—the warmth is a reminder of the coziness of his lost littermates. A loudly ticking clock can achieve the same result, and a piece of real or synthetic lambskin, or a toy made of the same, can also be soothing company.
5.     If you have a wire crate, try putting a big towel or blanket over the top and down two sides. This can make the crate seem cozier, more den-like.
6.     Ask the breeder for a piece of cloth from the bedding the puppy has lived in with her littermates. The familiar smell will provide a security blanket when the young pup feels most insecure those first few nights on her own.
7.     Keep the crate by your bed so you can hear when the puppy gets restless and needs to go out. The puppy will probably cry several times during the night. This is normal: there is nothing wrong with him, he just feels vulnerable.
8.     Do not verbally try to soothe a whining, crying puppy in a crate. If you say, “Good boy, that’s okay,” you are praising and reinforcing the whining.
9.     Don’t yell at the puppy, either. Raising your voice and sounding angry will only make an anxious puppy more nervous.
10.   Take the puppy out to pee if he cries or whines, but keep it low-key: no playing, no festivities, just business. Praise the peeing but put the puppy right back into the crate.
11.  Do not reprimand the puppy for crying in the early days. It’s a big thing to be taken away from your litter and left to sleep all alone in the dark. You’d probably cry a little, too.

12.  The puppy has to go out to pee the VERY first thing in the morning. Before you pee, she pees. You have better bladder control at this point.
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner

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