Because I would never leave a puppy isolated in the puppy room after he suddenly becomes a single puppy, last night was Boy Four’s first night in the bedroom downstairs with the rest of us. This goes one of two ways: either the puppy sleeps right through the night (YAY) or he doesn’t (Oh, well). It’s a good idea to tire out the puppy before bedtime if possible. Then you just accommodate the puppy, whichever way it turns out. I played tug with Boy Four and got him to bounce around for half an hour before bedtime. Then we went to bed almost at the normal time.
Boy Four settled down with Naamah in her giant crate, whimpered once at the strangeness of this new arrangement, went promptly to sleep, woke up at 12:30, and told me he needed to go out. That crate really is enormous, so it’s a good thing he decided he’d better wake me up rather than just doing his business in the crate. But he’s been used to going outside for a month, so that’s what I expected, if he woke up at all.
Fine, I said, and took him out. He did his business promptly and went right back to sleep.
And woke me up at three thirty. If it’d been four, I’d have just gotten up, but three thirty is a little early even for me, so I took him out. Nothing. That was not why he was awake. I put him back with Naamah. He told me he was still unhappy. I took him up on the bed with me and he settled right down and went back to sleep, so that was certainly clear. He really is a human-centered little guy.
This is what I recommend: do stuff to make a puppy comfortable and happy and secure. Doesn’t matter if you don’t want a puppy on the bed. Doesn’t matter if you intend to crate the puppy in the living room in the future. Doesn’t matter if you plan to leave him loose in the house when he’s an adult, closing the bedroom door in his face. All that is fine — for the future. It’s not fine for a baby.
For this first week or two, the goal should be: Make the puppy feel secure. That way you are not setting him up for separation anxiety later. This common problem is caused by bad handling of a sensitive dog. The sensitivity is not the problem. The bad handling is the problem. It’s all about security at first followed by careful independence training later. Both are important.
As a puppy settles into his home, he will also become more able to stay in a crate in the bedroom, a crate elsewhere, out in the house, wherever. You correct barking and whining in the crate later, largely by making sure the puppy is tired when he goes into the crate, then ignoring a minor fuss and opening the door when the puppy is quiet. You don’t “let him cry it out” at night in a new home or a new situation, most definitely not on the first night. That teaches the puppy that he has indeed suffered abandonment. This is totally inappropriate and harmful. Security first. Then quiet in the crate, later.
Boy Four loves the crate in the living room:
This is Naamah’s crate, so she can have her supper in peace. She’s also the one who takes toys in there because she’s very possessive of toys.
The door is open except at mealtimes. Boy Four discovered that days ago. He goes in there on his own all the time when he is sleepy. He hasn’t been a bit bothered yet that I occasionally close the door and latch it. He’s sensitive and a bit of a talker, but also sweet and accommodating. I’m glad I haven’t had to give him up yet … and I’m betting he’s sleeping through the night before the end of the week. Puppies basically all do if you handle them properly during the first few days.
This will be the last puppy post — I hope you’ve enjoyed the past nine weeks of puppy Mondays! I’m SO GLAD that nothing disastrous happened along the way! I would not have wanted to share THAT with everybody who just wanted a dose of puppy cuteness. A friend of mine just had a semi-disastrous litter, and I’ve sure had my share, and the truth is you just never know. But these puppies all did just feel healthy and good to me from the start, even Tiny Boy Four, even when he was slow to gain at first, so I thought I’d risk it, and it turned out to work beautifully. I might have another litter this year, and if so, hopefully the puppies will turn out as nice as Leda’s boys.