The first few nights at home with your puppy can be very stressful. They may squeal, cry and neither of you will probably get much sleep – but you are not alone! This is a common experience for new puppy owners.
Try and see it from your puppy’s perspective – they likely had siblings left in their litter and still saw their mum – and now they are all alone, in a strange house with new owners they barely know – of course they’re confused!
Firstly before they come home you need to know where they will sleep, and the family needs to agree on this! Whether it’s in a crate or it’s in your bed, they place needs to be picked and stuck to it, as you will need to stick to your guns with this one.
If you choose a crate this is a great choice and may also assist you with toilet training overnight. Pick a spot that is warm for them and place a blanket over the crate so it feels cosy. Place some toys in there, as well as a Kong or treat toy – this will help keep them distracted!
Try and wear your puppy out physically in the hours before bedtime, this will help them fall asleep. Take your puppy out to the bathroom and then bring them inside and place them in the crate and give them a treat. You can play music like the radio, or there are dog specific relaxation music you can download on Spotify or Apply music (yes, we’re not kidding!) – it’s called through a dogs ear, and it works!
You puppy likely will cry when left alone, sometimes this will only last a few minutes – and sometimes will last HOURS. Try and remind yourself at 2am that this is normal and expected. Know that this won’t last forever, and try to resist the urge to get the puppy out to cuddle and play, or let them into your bed, as this sets a precedent for longer term.
If you must, you can sit near the dogs crate with your back to them but do not engage in play or cuddles. They will be comforted by your presence but you are not rewarding the crying. If they crying is persisting, you can take them out to the bathroom, but no cuddles or play, and straight back into the crate.
Patience is definitely a virtue the first few weeks. If you continue to struggle, you could try products like ADAPTIL Spray, Diffuser or collars. These scents are a synthetic version of the hormone their mother produces and puppies find it very calming.