Hi everyone, hope you can help. Apologies in advance for the long-windedness!
We've had our 10 week old miniature schnauzer puppy for 2 weeks now, and things are going relatively well.
At the moment, we have him sleeping in a crate in our room at night (door closed). He whined/howled the first couple of nights, but has been sleeping pretty well/quietly since. We set an alarm every night at 3am to take him outside to go to the toilet, and he pees every night then goes back to sleep.
Ultimately, we want him to sleep in his crate downstairs in the kitchen. We are not the sort of people who want a dog to sleep on our beds; I feel there should be boundaries and the dog should (eventually - I know he's still a baby) be taught to be independent.
We were planning on gradually moving him downstairs, but last night our vet told us that if we were to have him sleep elsewhere, we should do that immediately and have him live by our rules from the start. Other people have said that dogs are pack animals and need to be with their packs until they're accustomed to their surroundings.
He also told us that we should not be getting up to let him out to go potty
as he'll get used to that - but that goes against everything we've read/heard to date about puppies not being able to hold their bladders for the whole night. Indeed, the only times he's whined in the crate in our bedroom seems to be when he needs to go potty. So I'm confused.
I work from home, so the current set-up during the day is that his crate is in a small area of the kitchen which is fenced-off, so that he can't get up to too much mischief when unsupervised. I've been trying to work in other areas of the house for stretches of time so that he doesn't get too used to seeing me there all the time. He has food, water, toys to chew and I leave the radio on for him when he's alone. He's not housebroken yet so there is often a poo or a wee to clean up. That doesn't bother me as much, we will housebreak him eventually.
Most times when he's in his area, he's fine. Sometimes he whines a bit, and sometimes he barks the house down. I'm really worried that he will go crazy howling at night and bother the neighbours. Then again, he is used to napping in his crate in the kitchen during the day, so maybe he will adjust more quickly to it?
So here is my main question - it's going to be another 10 days before we can bring him outside (after his vaccinations). Should we wait until we can walk him/tire him out outside before making the move from bedroom to kitchen at night? Or does it make a difference?
Also, should we continue to close his crate door at night (and continue to get up to bring him out to wee), or should we let him have the run of his little area?
There's a lot of conflicting advice out there, it's hard to know what to do. Any help much appreciated!