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The first few nights with a new pup
Without the protection of his pack members, a wild dog puppy is in serious danger; he will be subjected to predators and starvation and will cry out loud to make his whereabouts known to his pack. Dogs will not voluntarily abandon their puppies at this young age.
You can imagine the anxiety of an eight week old puppy, just removed from everything that was familiar to him. Until now, he was used to sleeping with his mother and littermates. He might feel that his life is in danger when you leave him alone the first few nights. That’s why he cries from his crate, keeping the whole family awake; he calls out to be rescued.
The best thing you can do for your puppy is to keep him with you during the first two nights. And no, you won’t be spoiling him. Instead, you are giving him what he needs and what he knows to survive on.
I have raised my four dogs this way and they turned out great without wanting or whining to sleep in my bed. Of course they wouldn’t object if I asked them to…And everyone in the family slept well, off to a good start with a new puppy!
Prepare for these first few nights as follows. Put a sleeping bag on the floor next to your side of the bed with a soft towel for the puppy to sleep on and to make him associate it with peaceful quiet time. Assure your partner or spouse that this is only for two nights and a guarantee for a good night’s rest for everyone. Have a container with tiny treats ready. Save this particular treat only for bed time to establish a routine so he will understand what’s expected from him. This will come in handy when he has to sleep somewhere else like when you are traveling with him later on.
Don’t take him into your own bed to prevent a routine you don’t want. Instead take him with you in the sleeping bag on the floor. He shouldn’t have a problem sleeping after a long and tiring first day away from his former home. Take him outside to relieve himself just before you go to bed. Don’t leave him alone when you are getting ready for bed. Keep him with you on leash, even when you go to the bathroom (he won’t tell anybody!) or have someone else watch him. Then the big moment comes when you are sharing your sleeping bag with your brand new puppy. Give him his small treat. Turn off the lights to make him associate the dark with sleeping. Most likely it won’t take long before he falls asleep, safely and warm next to you. Enjoy him and realize what a privilege it is to have this beautiful creature starting his new life with you.
You will wake up when he gets restless. Wait a few moments to see if he goes back to sleep or really has to go outside. You don’t want to rush outside as soon as he moves around. If he continues being restless, leash him and carry him outside to the designated area, no matter the weather. Don’t say anything to him but only say “Potty” or any other command you want to use for this purpose when he does his business. This nightly trip is not to be confused with playtime. Take him back to bed and hopefully you get some extra hours of sleep. Do not give him a treat or you will teach him that he can have one every time he wakes up.
If you are not able to sleep, just enjoy the company of your new little friend. Hold him, pet him and just love him and be happy. This is great bonding for you and your puppy and a great foundation for a life with your new dog. Do not wash the puppy towel, unless it’s been soiled; you need to preserve the scent for the third night.
These first few nights will become precious memories when your puppy has grown into an adult dog.
So, now you probably wonder if you can ever return to your own bed without your puppy. The answer is, “Yes”. After the second night of camping out in your bedroom, it’s time to move to the next level; you back in your own bed and your puppy next to you on the floor in a box.
Arrange a large box that can’t tip over if your puppy leans against the inside walls and put it next to your bed. Wear an old T-shirt during the day which you give to your puppy at night. It will have your scent on it which is now familiar and comforting to him. Give him his towel as well, which will remind him of positive night time. Give him his (small) night treat as soon as you put him into the box. Of course he will try to reach you. Gently lower your hand into the box so he knows you are there. Then hope for the best and try to get some sleep. If you hear him getting restless after a few hours, wait to make sure he really needs to go out.
Young puppies of about seven and a half weeks of age need to go out at least once a night. If you take him out as soon as he is making some sounds, he will learn how to get your attention and will get you up as often as he pleases. Wait until he is quiet before you take him out of his box.
Puppies over ten weeks of age are usually able to sleep through the night (11.00 PM – 6.00 AM next morning) unless there is a physical problem.
If you give him his last feeding at 5 PM and remove his water at 6 PM, you will help him to stay clean and dry for the night. Keeping him calm about an hour before bed time, makes it easier to settle down in his box. Take him out for his last trip just before you go to bed and take him out the first thing in the morning before you allow him on the floor.
At the age of about eleven weeks, he should be well settled in his new home. His bed in his crate during the day will now be familiar to him. By this time he should be crate trained (See chapter “Crate Training”) and able to sleep in a closed crate. Now you can put the crate next to your bed. The same night treat will remind him of the routine that it’s bedtime now and that all activity has stopped for the day.
When he is about sixteen weeks old he can sleep in his crate in the living room; he is more independent from you now. But he won’t mind sharing your bedroom every night; it’s good bonding time, especially if he has to spend some time alone during the day.
 

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I wish I would have of seen this when I first brought Sitka home. We have a good routine down now, but I made a few mistakes early on, and I soon corrected them, and it's made us both much happier.
 

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I know all puppies are different. Mine cried almost all night the first night. We had a tent thing, but she was a terror with it, so we had to put her in our half bath. The next day we got a crate for her. That night, she was in the crate, and I slept on the couch about 6' away and she was totally fine

However, I slept on the couch for a month before we figured we could leave her alone and she's used to her new home. I took her out every 2hrs for over a month before bumping it up to 3hrs for 2wks, then 4hrs for 2wks, and then all night

If I get another puppy down the road, I'd prob change very little of what I did. Maybe more bedding for the first few nights to simulate being near litter mates, and, if needed, would put the crate next to the couch

Thinking about it, I wonder if that first day should not only include some play and exploring of the new surroundings, but also close snuggling sessions to simulate litter mates/ mom being close, as well as a snuggle session before bed. Anyone have thoughts on that?

That reminds me, I still need to fix the door molding she chewed on that first night, haha
 

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wolfy dog, thanks for that. I've been racking my brains trying to remember how I did it for my previous dog 12 years ago. When you mentioned taking their water away in the early evening, that jogged my memories. That was the difference between taking the pup out once a night or several times a night for me. The dog also made it much easier for me. I hope this next pup will be just as easy.
 

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Thank you for this post! As I will be getting a 10 week old WGSL in a few weeks, I will be trying these with my pup!
 

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I know all puppies are different. Mine cried almost all night the first night. We had a tent thing, but she was a terror with it, so we had to put her in our half bath. The next day we got a crate for her. That night, she was in the crate, and I slept on the couch about 6' away and she was totally fine

However, I slept on the couch for a month before we figured we could leave her alone and she's used to her new home. I took her out every 2hrs for over a month before bumping it up to 3hrs for 2wks, then 4hrs for 2wks, and then all night

If I get another puppy down the road, I'd prob change very little of what I did. Maybe more bedding for the first few nights to simulate being near litter mates, and, if needed, would put the crate next to the couch

Thinking about it, I wonder if that first day should not only include some play and exploring of the new surroundings, but also close snuggling sessions to simulate litter mates/ mom being close, as well as a snuggle session before bed. Anyone have thoughts on that?

That reminds me, I still need to fix the door molding she chewed on that first night, haha
Mind DID cry the whole night the first night. I watched the sun come up and then I sat and cried because I was so exhausted!
 

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I just put Seger in a puppy sized crate and put him on the bed next to me. Way more comfortable than sleeping on the floor. Did that for a couple of nights and then put him in a crate on the floor
 

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I hear you. Emotions were running very high that first night and I was on the brink thinking, "What did we do..."

I know what y'all felt or are feeling as I'm sure everybody who's raised puppies does. With my first dog, I was this close to returning the puppy after a few days. I knew it would be a lot of work but I didn't realize how much work and how little sleep I'd get. I'm so glad that I stuck it out because those couple weeks of little sleep paid off with years of enjoyment and happiness with the dog. I see it like this, you're investing for the future...you have to give something (give up your sleep) to get something good - a lifetime of happiness with your dog. This weekend I will pickup my next puppy and go through all this again. This time I'm prepared and know what to expect.
 

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I know what y'all felt or are feeling as I'm sure everybody who's raised puppies does. With my first dog, I was this close to returning the puppy after a few days. I knew it would be a lot of work but I didn't realize how much work and how little sleep I'd get. I'm so glad that I stuck it out because those couple weeks of little sleep paid off with years of enjoyment and happiness with the dog. I see it like this, you're investing for the future...you have to give something (give up your sleep) to get something good - a lifetime of happiness with your dog. This weekend I will pickup my next puppy and go through all this again. This time I'm prepared and know what to expect.
Yup. I did the same thing the next morning because we knew the breeder would be driving near us to drop off one of her other breeding dogs. Obviously, we stuck it out and it's now become a harsh inside joke

I have a sweet 53# 29wk old baby sitting behind my chair napping at the moment :x
 

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I fostered aprox 60 dogs the last years, adults but also pups. Every foster dog who came in the house I took with me to bed. At that way they bond quicker and get used to human interaction. Some adults or puppies are within a few days relaxed and sleep downstairs with my own dogs, for some it take longer. Now my foster fail GSD pup sleeps with me in the bed. When she feels more secured she can chose were to sleep.

Crate training I start with when they are used to us and my house. Other training also. First feel safe and relax then training.
 
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