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Hi there!
We just got an 8-week pup and i'm finding it hard to get her sleeping at night. She really doesn't like a crate and will only fall asleep when she knows you are nearby.
I don't want to introduce bad behaviours from the begining or am I being to harsh?

Also, every time she goes outside, she always hunts down rocks! How can I stop this behaviour when she is too young to understand?
Any advice would be most helpful!
 

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Congratulations on the new puppy, and welcome to the forum!

Here's a great thread with advice on making the transition as smooth as possible for both you and your puppy.

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/726626-first-nights-so-you-sleep-well.html

The best way to keep them from eating rocks or anything else is to keep them busy doing something else...play with the puppy, have him chase you, or throw a ball for him. Take him on a tour of the yard, puppies love to explore and they naturally follow. If you have the space, setting up a puppy play yard by fencing in a smaller portion of your yard can be a great option. I guess I got lucky, my puppy was obsessed with the moss growing in some flower pots I had in the backyard. At least the moss would pass through her if she ate it, though I don't think she ever did. Just dug it out and shredded it, then moved on looking for her next great conquest...Good Luck! And show us pictures!
 

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Where is the crate? I put the puppy crate right next to the bed until they're older and need to be moved into a larger crate. The big crates are also in the bedroom, but on the other side of the room.

You need to be patient, it may take a few nights or even a few weeks for her to get used to the crate. I've found that with those that do fuss when I put them in the crate, each night it gets a little bit better. She may need to go out once or even twice during the night for a couple of weeks so make sure if she wakes up and fusses you leash her up and rush her out. Then right back in the crate when she's done. Leashing helps keep her her with you rather than running around trying to play, and also from stopping to squat and do her business before you get her outside.
 

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Is she whining/crying a lot throughout the night?

We just brought out 9 week-old pup home on Saturday. His crate is also next to our bed. The first night, he slept very little and cried bloody murder most of the night. We just ignored it, despite how hard it was on us. I took him out every two hours throughout the night so he could relieve himself. I would be calm about it, not enticing play, just so he knew he was being taken out for a potty break and that's it. During the day, we try to get him used to being in the crate with positive reinforcement. He gets fed exclusively in the crate, and I hide treats in it for him to find. I wanted him to understand that the crate is a place where good things are.

The next couple of nights, he cried less and less and fell asleep faster. Last night (night 4) he didn't cry or whimper at all and just dozed off! I thought I would burst with excitement. Not even a single whimper!

My best advice (from my limited experience) is to condition your pup to know that the crate is a positive place to be. And if she whines or cries at night, just ignore (as difficult as that may be.) Don't say anything to comfort or coddle her, or she might learn that crying gets someone to pay attention to her.

I wish you the best of luck, and congrats on your new pup!
 
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