First night is behind us and I’m pleased to say that I actually got a lot of sleep 🙂
I do sleep with puppies during the first nights, I’m not a fan of leaving a new puppy alone for the night. I do not think they are emotionally ready for this, and you want to avoid emotional stress in a young brain as much as possible. The fact that I spend first nights with the puppies does not mean they won’t be able to sleep on their own, quiet the opposite. I do teach them to be alone from the beginning but in very small steps, steps that are appropriate for that individual puppy. In this way I don’t need to get to a point when the puppy freaks out while being alone. So it doesn’t learn to associate separation with anxiety. Of course some dogs have more difficulty with this than others, some dogs already come to us with issues (it took me 8 months to get Chili over her separation anxiety) but that is a story for another time. Additionally, we often fail to understand that behaviours like vocalisation, scratching, trying to get out of confinement are a natural response to social separation. That crying puppy wants to reunite with it’s family and this is an adaptive response. So, like with any behavioural ‘problem’ my goal is to change the underlying emotions not to suppress the behavioural expression of them.
I like to immediately set a routine (or as close to it as possible) that I would like the puppy to function in. And sleeping during the night is a very important part of that routine, not only because I’m grumpy when I’m sleep deprived 😉 So if the puppy wakes up at night I do take it out but I never would play with it during the night. And they normally learn this very fast. And Xande should get a medal for last night. Not only he did not have a single accident in the house and is already signalling when he wants to go out. He slept almost the whole night, waking up only three times. I took him out to the garden he did his business and we were back to bed. He slept next to the bed all night in one spot. In the beginning he would check if I’m still there from time to time (and I always give support if dog asks for it) but soon he didn’t need to check anymore 🙂