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Hi everyone. We have a puppy who is almost 13 weeks. He is an Australian shepherd mix and we’ve had him for three weeks. He is really smart and wonderful and we’re enjoying him very much.
That said, I think we’ve really messed up on the nights, and we are absolutely at the end of our ropes. When he first came home, he did great - went to bed about 8, woke twice at night but pottied quickly and went back to sleep. He liked to lie on someone’s lap to get to sleep, so we would let him do that and then gently place him back in his crate.
Well over a few days it got harder and harder to put him in his crate. He really preferred a lap. But of course, we got more and more tired sitting there for an hour a couple of times a night. This is when I started to think we had an issue.
And now he’s waking several times a night and crying if we don’t come and sit with him.
So two nights ago, following some other advice, we just let him “cry it out,” thinking he would cry for a bit and fall also. He cried for two hours, and finally I was hysterical too and my husband came downstairs and we really were just completely exhausted - brought him into the bed and he slept easily until morning.
So now we have a situation - we’ve totally confused the poor puppy and my husband and I haven’t slept for weeks. So we are not thinking straight and are furious at ourselves for messing this up so badly.
Tonight has been the worst yet - he’s been up practically all night. We are completely at a loss on what to do. Any suggestions for us? And please, I know we completely have messed this up. I wish we had done better so much.
 

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First, look up "crate games" on the internet and start playing those. Feed him in the crate with the door shut. Open the door ONLY when he is silent. Make the crate a good place to go.

Put him in the crate with something to chew on (raw meaty bones are great.. freeze them first) and leave the house. Do this during the day. Let him carry on.. you aren't there to hear it.

At night when you put him in the crate put a Kong toy in there with Yogurt or peanut butter in it (load it in the AM and then freeze it all day long) and give it to him after he is in the crate at night.

You CANNOT give in and go to him or let him out when he is screaming. You may lose some sleep. Get ear buds or ear plugs!!

You will survive as will the puppy.
 

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Absolutely no more holding him until he falls asleep.

Where is his crate located? I have found that crate training goes a lot smoother if the crate starts by the bed, once they are completely comfortable with being crated next to the bed you can move it across the room, then to a different room.

I use canned dog food and fill a kong with it and put it in the freezer every night so it's ready in the morning when I go to work. I also keep our Wyze camera on him just so we know he is OK. And of course no collars, harnesses or dog tags on while in the crate for safety reasons.
 

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If you can move his crate closer to your bed temporarily, that would be ideal. This way, he wont feel abandoned. Still though- don't give into him for crying.
Try putting him in there, leaving for a little bit (even if this means that you only leave the room for a millisecond, or even that you can barely start to walk away from his crate), and coming back before he starts to panic and cry. Reward, maybe let him out for a bit, and repeat. After a week or two, he should start to settle into being left alone for a night. Do you have a blanket or article of clothing that smells like you in his crate?
If the crying is extreme, you can probably stand outside his crate and say in a low, calm voice that it's okay. But do NOT let him out or cuddle him on your lap as a "reward" for crying.
 
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