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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! My partner and I collected our very first puppy yesterday! A gorgeous 9 week old boy French Bulldog; something that we've wanted for a while. During his first night here, he's been crated in another room away from our bedroom. I woke him up at 1am and 3.30am to go bathroom and he cried for about 25 minutes after both times he was returned to bed but then settled down until we got up a 6am.
Having read dozens of (often contradicting) webpages on how to train it, I decided to come here and seek some advice directly. We have started crate training having read the benefits of helping with toilet training and, apart from 2 small accidents today, every other time has been successful. I am due to go back to work in 3 weeks and we intend to have him crate trained to be able to cope for a few hours in the morning until we get someone to let him out halfway through the day for a walk and eventually cope for a work day (7.30am-3.30pm).

Today, he always wants to be on my lap if the crate is open so i let him drop off to sleep then move him to his bed where he stays for up to an hour. I take him straight to bathroom when he wakes, we play a little or he chills out with his toys for a few minutes by himself, then its back to my lap if i let him (im trying not to everytime but he wont stay in bed to sleep)

The main issue that I am struggling with his just HOW to go about easing him into being by himself. Am i being around him too much and hes not going to learn? Today, I left some treats and fav. toys in his crate and he lasted a few minutes but then started crying, as expected. Am i to ignore the crying until he settles down a little and then let him out or do i set a time limit for myself e.g. 2 minutes to start and then let him out? Do i need to calm him down before I let him out so he knows quiet means door-open?
I hope I've been clear and sorry for all the questions. I just really want to make the dog happy here and not develop separation anxiety.
Any advice will be very much appreciated!
 

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It takes at least a few days for a puppy to settle in. He's a baby, he's been taken from his mom/siblings/home to a brand-new place, with brand new people. Right now, you want to make him feel safe, comfortable and secure. You've got three weeks, so I'd give him a couple more days of snuggles/love before really working on him being alone.

A lot of people recommend letting them cry it out, but I personally am not sure it's the best idea. Research is beginning to show that dog's emotional life isn't that much different than humans (albeit simpler), and it's no longer recommended to let baby humans "cry it out". A few minutes of crying, but then some reassurance is thought to build trust and confidence in babies, and maybe its the same with puppies. So I'd be inclined to offer more 'comfort' than discipline, and work on gradually increasing his 'alone time', perhaps only by a minute at a time. If he cries after 3 minutes alone, I'd only leave him alone for two minutes (with something interesting), then drop back for 15 or 30 seconds, then leave for another 2 minutes, then come back for a few seconds, then leave for 2 mins and 30 seconds. The point is that he needs to understand that he can be alone, and that you will come back. I'd want to prevent him getting to the point of crying, because that's when fear starts; I'd want him to feel comfortable/content when I wasn't there, even if it was only for two minutes initially and build on that.

But, like I say that's my personal opinion based on very recent research about dogs. It goes against almost every recommendation I've seen.

Edited to add: for the overnight crying, some people have had success by having the puppy's bed right beside their bed, so that they can immediately respond with touch to help the puppy feel secure. It doesn't seem to interfere with dogs learning to sleep in other areas of the house later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So for our second day together, I've left the crate door completely open all day so he can come and go as he pleases. If you use one of his toys in another room, he'll play for a little but then take it back to his bed! This means he has a positive attitude to the crate, right? Only a couple of bathroom accidents today and they have been because I wasn't fully concentrating (who am I to think I have time to pour some cereal?!). He now understands 'bed' if hes in the same room and there's a clear point in the direction plus a treat. Will he eventually understand 'bed' regardless of the room he's in?
Thanks for the advice! We've had lots of playtime and cwtches today so that he feels as welcome as possible.
 

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The main rule is don't open the crate while he's crying. I would put him in with something to work on (chewy, stuffed kong, etc), then shut the door and walk around the house doing chores or something for half an hour. If the puppy cries I just wander around the house doing my thing and ignoring them. Sometimes it means I come in the room and if they stop crying I might praise and then continue on my way. Eventually most puppies settle down and realize that you're not going anywhere, but you're not going to pay attention to them right now either.

How easy this is often depends on the puppy. Some cry because you are out there having fun and they want to come and have fun too. These puppies usually cry for 5 min or so and then settle down when they realize you're not going to let them out. Other puppies have actual anxiety about the whole thing and it is really hard for them, and it can take a while. With these puppies I do think making them cry it out can make things worse, but at some point though you're going to need to leave the house and crate the puppy for a while. I work and I can't stay home with my dog forever only leaving him alone for 2 min at a time. My older dog is like this, and while he doesn't like to be crated if I'm not home he's fine crated while I'm around and he's fine loose in the house while I'm gone. When he was too little to be loose in the house we just sucked it up and crated him with kongs and things to keep him busy. My current puppy is absolutely fine in the crate, almost zero crying, and she's always been that way, so a lot of it is personality.

Also, I think it's totally fine for him to sleep on your lap while you're in the room, if you're ok with it. Work on being alone, but you can also be affectionate and cuddly when you're there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Definitely think im making progress.... he still cries when hes put back in his crate after nighttime bathrook breaks but they are getting shorter bursts. one thing i had to do last night was let him out of his crate while he was a little vocal but he hadn't been to the bathroom before bed and as soon as we were outside, he peed, so im hoping this was the correct decision. If i decide to have him in the crate for 2 minutes today with the door closed and him awake, should i be in the room with him for the duration? He tends to get more vocal if he can see me sitting nearby. Do i just wait for him to settle down, even if that takes longer than the 2 minutes i intended to give him?
 

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One thing I found useful with our new puppies is to put an old piece of clothing that I used to wear in their bed so when you put them to bed they can still smell you, which gives them a sense of security as if they were on your lap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
so a few days ago, Jonah fell asleep on the floor in the lounge and was shivering a bit so i got an old sheepskin lined jacket and wrapped him up in it. he didnt move for 90 minutes! i took this a step further and bought him a new sheepskin lined bed yesterday to see if it had the same effect. I took him out to wee at 3am and then returned him to bed, waiting for the usual 10-20 minute cry before he settled again, but not a peep! This means he slept from 9.30-5.30 (bathroom breaks at 11 and 3) without any crying! Sadly that came to an end at 5.30am lol but we're up at 6 anyway, so i wont complain too much. Now for a day of training him to be by himself for a little while....
 
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