Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Should You Let Your New Puppy Cry?

When you get a new puppy, there are so many things to learn.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone has “expert” advice to share, from friends and family to experienced dog trainers.  I read lots of books articles about puppy training before bringing Isis, our beautiful Siberian Husky puppy home, so I felt well prepared for Puppy Parenthood. 


When you get a new puppy you receive lots of advice, but not all of it is good!
Isis with my husband, at 12 weeks old.  She was such a little darling!
That was 6 years ago, and little did I know that sometimes the "expert" puppy training advice you receive turns out not to be so smart. 


New parents are often advised not to pick up their baby every time she cries because the baby will never learn to settle down and go to sleep.  She quickly learns that the parents will always pick her up to hold and comfort her when she cries.   Puppies, like babies, will usually cry at night when they are put to bed in their new home.  They miss their mother and littermates, and are frightened by their new surroundings. 


Isis had giant bat ears when she was a puppy!
Puppy parents are often told to let their new puppy cry at night and not run over and pick them up to hold and comfort them.  I was given this advice by a trainer as well as several well meaning friends.  I had also read it in several publications.  Sometimes, although advice is given with the best of intentions, you later regret following that advice.  That was the case with us.
 
We followed the advice, letting our sweet puppy cry in her crate the first night we brought Isis home.  It was awful laying in bed listening to her cries from the living room down the hall.  We were sure the crying would last only a day or two, but it continued night after night.  We were so distraught thinking our poor puppy was in distress!  We consulted a trainer who told us to hang in there.  He said it was important not to “give in” to her crying.  “You just have to let her cry”, he said.  Not knowing any better, we listened to him.  The nighttime crying went on for a couple of weeks.  She would cry for almost an hour every night, and it was sheer torture, for all of us!


This video was taken with a cell phone when Isis was 12 weeks old.  Cell phone video wasn't very good 6 years ago so it's pretty grainy.  I still love it though.  She's playing with Froggy, the very first toy we bought her. 

That was 6 years ago, and to this day I thoroughly regret following that advice.  We were so clueless at the time.  Now we know better.  If I had it to do over again, here is what I would do differently.

>First of all, we should not have placed her crate in another room.  I would either put her crate in our bedroom with us or in the hallway right outside our bedroom where she could see and hear us. 

> We should have placed an item of clothing with our scent on it in the crate with her.  A sock or t shirt would be good.  Having our scent in her crate would likely have made her feel more secure. 

> I would consider putting a clock wrapped in a blanket in the crate, or one of those stuffed toys that has an electronic “heartbeat”  that mimics the sound of a mother’s heartbeat to calm my puppy.

> We should not have let her cry for an hour or more the way we did, I would allow the crying for only a short time before speaking softly to her to calm her down.  I would have her remain in her crate to sleep, but attempt to calm her.  If the crying was really persistent, for heaven's sake I'd pick her up!  Would it really be so bad to pick my frightened puppy up and comfort her??  I don't think so!

Fortunately, things turned out all right for us.  We have a super strong bond with our beautiful girl.  Isis is a happy , joyful dog who loves everyone she meets, both dog and human!  Now we spoil her rotten and we like it that way!

I still feel badly about those first few weeks after we brought Isis home.  I can’t change the past but the next time I bring home a puppy, acclimating her to our family will be a very different experience!

Despite one piece of ill advised puppy training, our girl grew up to be an amazing dog!
Our beautiful, sweet girl at 5 years old

How have you, or how would you, handle a puppy that cried at night when it was time to go to sleep?  Please lave us a comment and share, we always love hearing from you!
 

43 comments:

  1. I think we each know our puppies and what they need and we should definitely follow our hearts when it comes to caring for them. Forgive yourself though, we all want to do the very best for our sweet pups. We never had a puppy before (Daisy was 2 1/2) so we had no clue!! She started sleeping in our bed and that's where she is today!! Not sure the experts would agree (haha). And Isis is beautiful. Love those puppy pictures!!

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    1. Thank you Julie! It's so funny that Daisy sleeps in your bed, but so what? What's so wrong about that? Thanks for stopping by today!

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  2. Earl cried, but Ethel never cried once. I agree with Julie; we all know our puppies.

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    1. Wow, Ethel is such a brave girl! I did know my puppy but I didn't trust my instincts, I trusted other peoples' advice. I won't make that mistake again. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  3. Great advice. My crying led me to sleep with momma
    Snorts,
    Lily & Edward

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    1. Thanks! Aww, that's sweet that momma lets you sleep with her. I bet she loves it even more than you do! Thanks for stopping by today!

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  4. Hi Kathy,

    I'm sorry that a dog trainer told you to ignore the crying like that. Not if it was going on for that length of time. As a dog trainer myself - that would not have been my advise. Definitely use a crate but in your room or close by.

    Each one of the points you made are right one. When the crying goes on for too long, they are not settling down, I have always checked on them to see if something is wrong. However my puppy crates were always right outside my bedroom door, we had 3 puppies and all those crates would not fit in the bedroom.

    I always had one of my husbands old t-shirts in there. I would make him wear those holed filed t-shirts of a day, so they had his scent on it or I would wear it for the same reason.

    Thanks for clearing this up. To many people get the advise of "let the crying go" it will stop. This is not always the case. Just like babies, these are scared pups in a new place with new people.

    I usually advise to let them cry but if it is for to long find out what's wrong, and change things up. Whether that be moving the crate, put on some calming music. But if they are not calming down, something is not right - they are scared, they are not comfortable being away from you. They're puppies.

    Great post.

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    1. Thank you Suzanne, I wish I knew you when Isis was a puppy! I would have benefitted from your experience as a trainer. I'll do much better next time! I do hope someone else learns from my experience. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  5. I've had my puppies sleep in bed with me for the first week (and if it's Nola, it never stopped!). It helped with house training, since if they so much as shifted we went out, and it helped the transition. During that time I'd give every meal in the crate and play crate games, and once the week was up the went to the crate in my bedroom at night. Never had more than a minute or two of whining.

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    1. You're lucky you made a great transition and never had the crying & whining. It is so hard to hear them cry like that. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your experience with your own puppies!

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  6. I had people tell me that with me kids too. Pffft! No way. I slept on the floor with my hand in Bentley's kennel the first week he was here. LOL! It doesn't make sense to me to let them babies or puppies cry. It's simply a case of when you know better, you do better. I've learned so much since I began blogging.

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    1. So true, the more you learn the more you can make better decisions yourself. I've learned a lot too from all our wonderful bloggers friends - we learn from each other! That's so funny you slept w/ your hand in Bentley's crate, that must be why he turned out so great! Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. So many people give that advice. It's only true to a point. No, we are not suppose to give in to their crying because then they will learn "hey, if I cry, I get let out of my crate." But again, this is only to a certain point. Definitely love the things you said you would do differently now such as having the crate in the room with you, a blanket or shirt with your scent etc etc... these things truly help! Don't feel bad though, you were given advice from a trainer, and thought you were doing the right thing. Either way, you have a great bond and a gorgeous husky!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. Thanks Jenna! Yes, we do have a wonderful bond with both our dogs. We live & lean!

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  8. Such an interesting topic, Cathy! I really wanted to keep Haley's crate in our bedroom when she was a puppy, but it was so far away from any door to take her outside for potty training. I didn't want to carry her but I knew if she made the long walk from the bedroom to the outside door, she would most likely have an accident on the way.

    So, we kept her in the kitchen area and she did cry for a few nights, but nothing like Isis crying for weeks. People that have an exterior door off their bedroom have it made.

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    1. That's a really good point, you don't want a puppy to sleep so far away from a door because potty accidents will definitely happen. I'm glad she only cried for a few nights, you're lucky. We actually did have French doors off the bedroom at the time, we certainly could have done it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Oh dear Cathy, thank you for sharing your experience. I'm so sorry that a dog trainer and others gave you such terrible advice. I know it was as traumatic for you as it was for her. Your list of things that can help other pet parents is a great place to start for in the future. Nothing is every perfect and we all learn from our mistakes. I think you are a wonderful parent and I am so glad Isis and you have such a great bond. Hugs to you both for getting through a tough time. And POO on that dumb old trainer. The most important thing is the bonding I say.
    Love, Pixel

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! I hope my suggestions do help others if they face the same issue. We are always learning aren't we? Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. With both babies and kids. this is always a debate. I think it boils down to your parenting style and what works best for your "baby". I tired leaving Gretel in her crate at night after I adopted her. Her separation anxiety was so bad that she hurt herself once trying to get out. I didn't try to make her stop by "getting her used to being alone". She sleeps in my bed and has for the last 4 years. I think that way is better for both of us emotionally :)

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    1. Oh, poor Gretel! I'm so glad you didn't make her stay in the crate with such extreme anxiety. If you don't mind that she sleeps in the bed with you, what's the harm right?! You are so good with both your dogs, they have such a great life! Thanks for stopping by Jessica!

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  11. Last time I had a puppy simply moving the crate was enough. He felt better closer to us and then when he got used to things we moved the crate back.

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    1. I'm glad you realized that moving the crate would help a lot. I will certainly do that next time we have a new puppy! Thanks for stopping by Carleen!

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  12. Um... I didn't let my kids cry and I wouldn't let a puppy or kitty cry. As if anyone else knows my family better than I do! Ok...my ex husband wanted to let our daughter cry so I did, for one night. But, I remember crying myself to sleep at night as a toddler (long story) and though our girl was just a baby, I couldn't bear her tears and went to snuggle her. I'm not sorry I did.

    for a puppy, yes, crate in the room, with something warm and scented for him or her. If they still cry, maybe some love and attention. They want to know they are loved. That's what I think. It's been a long time for me... I adopt adult animals now, but I can't imagine letting any creature cry all night, night after night. sigh. You did your best and you are commended for seeking help... but, in the end, all God's creatures want love, don't they? So why not give it to them?

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    1. You're so right - all God's creatures want (and need) love so what's the harm if you give them some? Nothing is cut & dry in this world, puppy training is no exception! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences on this Yvonne!

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  13. Don't feel too bad, we've all done things that in hindsight, pbly could've been handled differently, but in the end everybody usually lives. :) The pervasiveness of some myths amaze me but little by little, we'll chip away at them and our furry friends will be all the better for it. Thanks for the post!

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    1. Absolutely, we do need to keep chipping away at so many myths about animals. Many training methods that are unkind is definitely one of them. I prefer to listen to my heart and my dog in the future. Thanks for stopping by Tami!

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  14. I'm so glad that you learned a different way to handle this situation with a puppy and that you are sharing it with others who may have received the same bad advice. We all make mistakes sometimes. It looks like your relationship with your dog has become very good.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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    1. I'm happy to share this advice from my own learnings. It's not always easy to share such things but others can benefit from our negative experiences as well as our positive ones. Thanks for stopping by Robin!

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  15. We do the best with what we know, and when we know better, we do better :) I couldn't agree more with you, and I think your philosophy applies to two and four-legged babies. When they are that young they are not 'manipulating' us for attention, they simply need what they need. Isis is obviously a beautiful, happy dog :) Thanks for sharing your experience to help other people with their little pups!

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    1. You're so right, I don't think a baby could manipulate at such a young age, nor could a puppy. They are simply scared or longing for comfort - what's so wrong about that?? Thanks for stopping by Joanna!

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  16. It is hard when the advice you think you should trust doesn't feel right. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. It is hard, but now I know better. I don't take everything a trainer says as gospel, every trainer is different. Some are great and some stink. I finally found a great trainer and he helped us tremendously! I don't even take everything a Veterinarian says as gospel, I always do my own research as well. Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. I went through the same thing with Cairo, really it was worse! To keep it short, not only did he cry but he would also bite on his crate bars. Our trainer suggested moving the crate and I did. Into every room while I was home and he was in it. I also added the clothing. I did not try the clock but I had a friend that did with her Boxer. She bought a giant teddy bear, put the clock in it and the crying soon stopped. I absolutely fell in love with Isis when I met her at Blog Paws! You guys have done an amazing job!

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    1. You're so sweet Faith, thank you! I absolutely loved meeting both you and your beautiful Husky Nakita at the conference too! She's so sweet and I'm so jealous at how mellow she is. I'm glad you had a great trainer who suggested you move the crate - better advice than I got at the time. Thanks for stopping by Faith, always great to hear from you!

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  18. Unfortunately people are to quick to trust any trainer's advice. We very quickly dismissed the advice of a trainer that would not consider the 'puppy mill background.'

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    1. I guess no trainer is perfect, they're working off their own knowledge/training and their own personal opinions. Some believe in more firmness than others, although I'm glad that's changing. I definitely think a puppy mill background can have a strong impact on any puppy or dog. It's a horrible way to start or live a life for any dog. Some come through it with flying colors but so many do not. It shouldn't define them but it must be considered. Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. First, Isis is beautiful! Love those puppy ears! Great blog article on a subject so many of us have experienced and can certainly relate to...and had many sleepless nights over!! We did three puppies at once! (Yes, I have been called crazy! It was an interesting experience! Sleep? What's sleep?! But fun! Three times the Husky puppy silliness! Lots of lost sleep, but lots of laughs, too!) First week was bliss as the three snuggled together in one crate! Then the separating period...oh my! When the first one was separated into her own kennel, it was the clock wrapped in a shirt or towel...but the crying was amped from missing her siblings! We also played soft music, and took turns sleeping next to the crate on the floor, talking and comforting each one until they fell asleep. Repeated the same for the next one. Flash forward 7 years to today, the two girls still love their crates, but their brother, no way! When he was a pup, on and off for months he would chew the crate, rock it, and have such anxiety to the point of eating his way through two crates! Yet the "experts" say keep riding it out. He was so unhappy and developing such an anxiety issue, even with my lying on the floor, that it broke my heart and just felt wrong. This went on night after night, and also was disturbing my other four Huskies. I finally did exactly what "they" say not to, and left him out. Today, he sleeps like a baby sans crate. I believe we do have to listen to our hearts...even if it is against the textbook training "norm." With three pups, the traditional training techniques worked just fine with two, but not with the third! And it wasn't my first puppy rodeo by far! Sometimes, as we discover, we just have to throw that textbook out and go with our gut! Listen to our instinct. But then, that only comes after these experiences, right?! Hindsight is a beautiful thing! It's wonderful to share these experiences here and see what works for some and not for others, and we all walk away with ideas for the training of our next puppy. (Did I just say "next?!") ;-)

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with your 3 Husky puppies Dorothy! Your Huskies are so gorgeous and clearly well adjusted & happy! I cannot even imagine 3 Huskies all at once - and you have 5! I love your story and how you worked with the 3 puppies, following your instincts and your heart when the textbook training didn't totally work for you. Isis says Thank You for the compliment!

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  20. Oh my goodness I know how you feel! Luna wasn't a puppy when we got her (about a year), but we were encouraged to crate train her and we decided to keep her crate outside of our bedroom. She cried and cried and cried! Eventually we moved her crate into our room and now she often sleeps in our bed (though she does still have her crate).
    -Jessica from Beagles & Bargains

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    1. Oh how perfect! I'm so glad you made your own choice - the right choice to do what was best for Luna. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your story!

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  21. With the puppy I had when I was 12, I used a clock in his little box I had at the end of my bed. I also slept with my hand in the box so he knew I was there. It worked well, but every puppy is different of course. Thank you for writing about your experience!

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  22. Dog Trainers Northern Virginiais teach your dog to behave with obedience. We specialize in private lessons, dog behavior consultations, and teaching the owners to understand why their dogs do the things they do

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