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Hi! I am not a new dog owner BUT it's been over 15 years since we have had a puppy and a year since we've had a dog in our house.
We are bringing our new puppy (Goldendoodle) home at night and surprising our kids with him when they wake up in the morning. We plan to crate train and we've been watching and reading a bunch so that we are prepared and knowledgeable. I wanted to slowly introduce the crate to the puppy as many recommend (letting him sniff it, get a treat, put a treat in the crate, etc.) before just putting him in there and shutting the door. We are having trouble deciding how to handle the first night home (before the girls know about him). Our initial thought was to just sleep with him to make him feel the most comfortable that first night away from his mom and siblings and also so he won't cry/bark but I don't want to confuse him or make it harder from him the next night. Do we use the crate and hope he doesn't bark/cry too much/loud? My husband doesn't think one night (his first night) will make a difference in the training. I think it may. Any thoughts or advice?
One night likely won't make much of a difference. Even if you do sleep with him, note that he may still bark or cry and alert your children to his presence. He may still be scared! Also, you will likely have to take him outside at least once during the night so he doesn't pee in your bed.
Do you know if the breeder worked on crate training at all? If so, he's likely already familiar with the crate, so you won't have to "baby" him quite so much when you do introduce the crate permanently.
Thank you for your reply. I plan on not sleeping very much that night (or for the next couple of weeks hahaha) and will definitely plan to take him out a few times throughout the night.
I do not believe he will be familiar with crate and will plan to introduce it the next morning. We took a few days off of work to be with him full time his first week or so with us.
Oh boy! The first night of introduction IS critical! You're setting the house rules right at that point. And once a dog discovers there's even a choice, he will choose absolutely the most desirable and comfortable! But crate training is valuable for you and the dog going forward. Invest in doing properly and with determination. If he only learns that the crate is his bed (den) then that's what he'll expect going forward. So the trick is to make that a safe and secure (happy) zone.
If he likes food, and you can manage it, and the crate has just enough room to accommodate a secured dish, you can feed him a meal in there. BUT you MUST be prepared to take him (preferably) outdoors for a potty break within 20 minutes! Ask the breeder what the puppy's routine has been in their home. To calm him in the crate, give him bedding with a familiar smell. Ask the breeder if you can borrow a towel from their setup or give her a little flannel blanket ahead of time, to be associated with the litter (and bitch) he's coming from. That will be his most comforting scent at first. Then he can be transitioned to something with your scent, since you will assume that role (of caregiving) in his life. (Feeding, walking, playing). I'm not sure if ticking clocks really work. But if it's really cold, maybe something (SAFE) but warming. Sometimes covering a crate will calm them down too. They also make music just for dogs that's been scientifically shown to calm them. Check out "iCalm" the website (I use their little chew proof player) which can be set right next to the crate. And he can be trained to that music when you're not around for longer periods later on.
Make sure before you crate him, that he's eaten ahead of time, meaning far enough from the point of actual bed time so he has full opportunity to eat and drink and then eliminate. Don't give him water too close to the actual bed time. You don't want the excuse of him fussing because of being uncomfortable from the need to go potty. (Although he might need a potty break over night). Or feeling hungry. But with all bases covered (as suggested) when you crate him the first night, hang tough. He's going to cry. And it's very hard, so don't think in "human" terms. Like you're being mean. The dog is just fussing in reaction to a change in environment. It's instinctual. And you're building up his new routine, which MUST be consistent. Which is how his need for confidence and security will develope. And remember, going forward never use the crate as punishment. You could do a timeout in another place instead. Like a gated off room.
In terms of the first night, you could keep the crate in the "ensuite" bathroom if it's big enough and attached to your bedroom. Layout some potty papers in the bathtub or the bottom of the shower if you need to take him out of his crate for a potty break. Give him about 20 minutes. Don't play with him or give him ANY attention, don't even talk to him, while he's on that pad. If he needs to go, he will. Then put him back in the crate until morning. If he's healthy and normal, between 9-10pm and 6am, he should only need to have one overnight potty break.
Putting all these tips together makes the difference. Picking and choosing, not so much.
Last edited by Pacificsun; 07-03-2019 at 07:20 PM.