Who knew that such a tiny adorable puppy could howl like a dying whale all through the night?! This insanely loud sound that just feels like it's either going all night or every time you fall asleep!
You don't want to wake the kids. You don't want to wake the neighbours. You don't want to wake your partner. YOU JUST WANT SOME SLEEP!!!
Your natural instinct will be to soothe the puppy. To potentially bring it into your bed where it will very quickly fall asleep and all will seem like a magical solution.
The pup NEEDS to learn to be able to sleep in it's designated place each night. My pups are trained to know about pens and crates. They're not gaols. They're their homes. There's no reason that your young pup can't sleep in your room in a crate if that's where you intend of them sleeping for the rest of their lives.
If you want your adult dog to sleep in the laundry at night, that's where you need to start your pup sleeping. They are usually unsettled for approx 3 - 5 nights and then after that, for the most part you no longer have to worry.
If you start your pup off in your bedroom but you plan for it to sleep in the laundry when it's older, you're likely going to experience the same amount of sleepless nights, except this time you'll have a bigger dog who makes a much louder and more stressful noise.
Before you bring your pup home, work out where you want the pup to sleep.
It is also a very good idea to let your neighbours know in advance that you'll be getting a new puppy and apologise in advance if there is some howling (aka dying whale) through the first couple of nights. Most neighbours are pretty understanding if they've been told first. Also give them your number in case your pup is being exceptionally noisy during the day. That way they've a way to contact you and let you know, before they resort to calling the council. Be proactive, not reactive.
The first month is pretty hard. Pup needs to be taken to the toilet every couple of hours. If you have a partner, try either alternate nights or alternate times to take the pup out to the toilet. That way in all of this, you're getting a chance to bank some more sleep because you will need it. Sacrificing your sleep, to spend the time toilet training your pup, will repay itself tenfold later on down the track.
If the pup is not sleeping in your room where it can hear and smell you, have a radio or iPod where you can play podcasts, people talking or other white noise such as classical music, to calm the pup.
Remember, your pup has just left all of the family it knew. It will need time, consistency and reassurance to learn about it's new family, but they are very smart and do learn quickly.
The teething period is hard for both pups and their owners. Whilst pups have to put up with the pain of teething, their owners put up with the cost of the things they chew when they shouldn't.
My best advice during this period is:
They will settle down their chewing for a month or two and at around the 8 - 10 month old stage, you may find them chewing again. This is because they're getting the very last of their back teeth and they are hurting. Just go back to basics at this point and it will pass fairly quickly.
Remember, if you keep on top of their chewing at an early age, they will grow out of it. If you do not keep on top of it, they will likely develop it as a taught behaviour and it becomes much harder to un-teach them as adults!
I highly recommend crate training your puppy from an early age. Not only are crates great for when you need to go away somewhere, but they are also excellent for when your dog is recovering from desexing or any other kind of surgery or an injury. It is also a great way for your dog to have it's own safe spot for when visitors are over. Some owners apply the rule to visitors that if the dog is in the crate, to leave them be as the dog needs it's own space.
Crate training is very simple. The key is, you want being in the crate to be fun. Start by feeding your dogs meals in the crate with the door open.
Over a period of time, move towards being able to shut the door on the crate whilst the dog eats. After a while, extend that to further times by treating the dog through the bars in the crate, whilst it sits quietly in the crate.
Once they have that down pat, start asking them to go inside the crate and treat them whilst they're in there (non meal times).
Soon enough they will learn that their crate is an excellent place to be. Do not use the crate as a time out area or for any negative associations.
I highly recommend teaching your dog to sit before you open the door to let it out and that the dog waits for your cue before it comes out. To do this, have your dog in the sit position at the door and put your hand on the door latch. If the dog is still sitting, reward the dog, if they move to a stand, take your hand away, ask them to sit and once they sit, reward and try again.
Keep going until the dog stays in a sit position whilst you move the latch on the door.
The next step is to open the door slightly. If the dog breaks sit, go back to the start of having them sit, and as per above, keep moving in little steps.
The last step is being able to open the door fully and still having the dog sit until you cue for them to come out. This can take quite some time and may require you to be quick with the door, but it will be worth it in the end.
If you prefer to have the dog in a drop/down position rather than a sit position, that is perfectly fine too.
I cannot recommend highly enough how valuable it is to have a crate trained dog. Whilst your dog may very rarely be in a crate, it is far less stressful for them should they ever be required to be restrained in a crate, if they are already crate trained.