Puppy alarm clock

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by wilbur, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. wilbur New Member

    Hello this will be my first post and I am hoping someone can offer a bit of advice. Twelve days ago I was given a 6wk old male beagle/terrier/dachshund mix puppy as a Christmas gift. He came from a shelter and I personally think he was too young to be adopted out but I am trying to fill the litter mate and mama dog void as best as I can.
    When I first got Wilbur he seemed pretty aggressive (esp. for a very young puppy) but now he is learning that it is not okay to bite me or my clothes and that growling at me during play time and barking at the two cats is a no-no. I am still having a few issues with him however. One thing I should mention is that this is my first dog so I realize I may be expecting a lot from him at such a young age - like expecting a 6 mth old infant to be potty trained. It's just that I feel it is important to lay the ground work for what's going to be expected of him later.
    My main issue with him is that he constantly wines/howls from about 5-6:30 am or so until I finally go get him. I keep hoping he'll tire and go back to bed but it hasn't happened yet. He sleeps in a medium sized bathroom that has his crate (containing two different kongs, a squeaky, and a nyla bone). Since I know he is too young to hold off on using the bathroom all night I leave the crate door open and cover the floor in puppy pads. For this reason I know he is not whining b/c he "has to go." Since I got him I tend to go to bed around 11:30 or 12 so that is when he gets put in the crate - incidentally, he never whines going INTO it. Is it normal for a pup to only sleep about 6 hrs a night? This has become my one real complaint with owning a puppy because I am used to keeping very different hours- i.e. going to bed at 3-4 am. I feel I have adjusted my schedule as much as I can but I really am not looking forward to 10-15 years of waking up at 5 am to the sound of howling. Any advice at this point would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    As I'm not sure how you crate-trained, please forgive me if this is old news to you. Just thought it could be helpful. =)
    With most dogs, especially puppies who have recently left their mum and siblings, they have to adjust to being alone. The "den" does feel safe, but it is solitary. If the dog enters the kennel on command, tell him to kennel, and reward him when he does. You are rewarding him for:
    1: Entering the kennel.
    2:Being quiet in the kennel. (He didn't really have time to feel alone and start whining.)
    Do this several times, then start closing the door, but only for a second or two. Open it and reward him. Again, repeat this and slowly increase the time the door is closed. You can then progress to moving a short distance away. Take a few steps, and then open it and reward. Then a few more, a few more, then maybe duck around a corner for a second or two. This will help him learn that it's okay to be alone, and that you always come back, even if it's for eight hours while you sleep. Slowly increase the time that you are away until he is sleeping peacefully with no whining. If he is whining when you duck around the corner, regress. Go back to just taking a few steps away. If this is what he was comfortable with, then he's just not ready for you to be out of sight yet. That's understandable. Go back to the prior step and repeat more times before ducking around the corner again. Eventually he'll learn to be okay with being alone. Also, giving him something to do is good. Chew toys are good. This may or may not take a while. Just be patient; he'll improve. Also, you've only had the pup for 12 days. Some pups take longer to adjust than others. Since he came from a shelter, he's used to quite a bit of company. He needs to adjust to you being away for both long and short periods of time. His issue may simply be that he wants companionship(you). Therefore, using this method will help him understand that it is okay to be away from you, and that you always come back. Be patient--he may take quite a while to adjust. Don't rush him, and don't expect too much from him. Take things slow, and he will learn that he doesn't have to whine when you're away. =) Good luck, Jen!
  3. wilbur New Member

    Thanks for the tips - much appreciated. I had not really tried a crateing process per se since he seemed to be okay with sleeping in there I assumed that was all there was to it. I'll try the peek-a-boo thing this evening. He really is a good pup; he's got sit, stay, and walking on a lead pretty well down pat. It might seem like a lot to get from a young pup after only having him for less than 2 weeks but I am on break right now and spend all day every day with him. Thanks very much again.
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You are very welcome. =) You can teach him to enter the crate on command by luring him in with a treat or tossing a treat in and saying, "Kennel." The method I described in my first reply can take a while, but it is good and works well. Stay consistent, and your pup should adjust well after a while. :dogsmile:
  5. l_l_a New Member

    hi Wilbur, Tx-Cowgirl has given some very good advice. I want to add that he could be crying at 5-6:30 AM because he hasn't got used to the schedule yet and is not yet used to being alone for so long. If he it is definitely not needing to potty because he has the pee pads (and he DOES use them, right?) then probably he just woke up in the middle of the night and wants attention or maybe is scared because it's natural for a baby to be scared when alone.

    when the puppy cries I would want to double check if he's OK. but at the same time you don't want to reinforce crying or he will keep doing it even when he doesn't "need" to. so, I would wait until there is a lull in the crying, and then when he is quiet for a few seconds or a minute then go and check on him. This way you can check if he's OK, without reinforcing him for the crying if it turns out that he just wanted attention .

    However, pups that young are really infants like you said, in normal situations they would still be with their mom and littermates so sleeping the whole night alone is really very unnatural for them, and very scary for them, it is much harder than if they were say 10 weeks old when you bring them home (even then it's still unnatural and scary for them and a big adjustment). To ease the transition, maybe you could crate train him as Tx-Cowgirl said and put the crate in your bedroom so the pup can see and hear and smell you close by (the drawback is that since he is so young he can't go without a bathroom break very long and since he's in the crate he can't and shouldn't be made to potty in there so you would have to wake up at least once in the middle of the night to take him to potty). When he gets older you can move the crate out of your bedroom.

    You can also put big stuffed toys in his sleeping area for him to cuddle against and wrap a small ticking clock in a blanket and put it in his sleeping area too. The constant ticking sound soothes puppies as it reminds them of their mother's heart beating. The furry toys would also be something that the pup can snuggle against that feels somewhat like his mother.

    Since this is your first dog, and puppies are extremely high maintenance too, I really recommend this book for more information on the various challenges you will encounter as your puppy matures and how to deal with them: "How to raise a puppy you can live with" by Rutherford and Neil, you can get it on amazon.com. It saved my sanity!!!
  6. wilbur New Member

    Hi l_l_a, thanks for the very thoughtful reply to my question. He does use the pads, though not because he aims for them – he has no choice but to go on them as they cover the entire floor. As far as not wanting to provide reinforcement for the whining; that is the reason behind me allowing him to cry. I do feel a little torn when I let him go on though so I appreciate the tip about waiting until he has calmed down (only to take a short breath usually) and then looking in on him. I only worry that once he sees me and knows I am up and available his cries will intensify.
    As for the clock in the blanket idea, I like the thought behind it. I will probably have to go out and find one of those stuffed animals that comes with the ticking mechanism sewn into it though because he is definitely a chewer and he would likely dig through the blanket and gnaw on the clock. For tonight I’ll put a stuffed animal in there and try the technique tx mentioned before putting him down. Thanks again!
  7. wilbur New Member

    **UPDATE* Ok, so, I put him in his crate (door still open) and I gave him a big stuffed animal to cuddle with which he promptly mauled - I've never seen him shake his toys back and forth so aggressively but that might be b/c they're too small, this one was his size. By the end, however, he had made a pile out of his soft toys; the stuffed bear included, and laid down on it so I guess he was somewhat comforted. As for tx's training suggestion: I put him in and shut the latch but sat by his crate petting him through the bars. He started to cry even when I just moved back a foot or so but I just ignored him until he stopped. I kept up the moving away/ignore until calm then pet thru the bars thing for a while. He started doing really well in the middle but he totally lost it towards the end after about the 4th time I actually walked out of the room. We are calling it quits for now. We'll see how he does in a few hours when I put him to bed for the night.
    Thanks again to you both of you for your words of advice.
  8. splitz831 New Member

    I wish you good luck. My Bernese wakes us up promptly at 7 am every morning no matter what time we put him to bed. He's whining for his morning walk!!
  9. l_l_a New Member

    sounds like you can set your clock to your dog, Splitz! that might come in handy sometime! :)
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    As I said, the method I suggested is very time consuming and takes a while. Don't expect him to be able to be quiet with you gone the first time you work with him. At first, you may only be able to have him comfortable and quiet when you shut the door for a split second. Let me try again to explain it to you in more detail.
    At first, have him enter the kennel and reward him, door open. Do this several times. Then have him enter the kennel, push the door to without latching it, open it back up and reward him. Immediately. Don't hold it for a few seconds, just push it to and open it right then. Do this several times. He may only be able to do this the first night. That's okay. See how much he can handle. If he won't stop whining when you finally get to latching the door, then he's not ready for it yet. Go back to pushing it to and opening it again. Do this several times before progressing. Don't expect to go from the door closed for a few seconds to the door closed and you gone for three hours in one try. Do each step many, many times. If he's whining, go back to the prior step and repeat it more times.
    Sorry I wasn't clear enough. =) Good luck. |_|_a has given you good advice as well. My Zeke is a snuggler, and he absolutely loves stuffed toys. You could get a large, "mother dog-sized" stuffed dog to help ease the transition from littermate to lone pup. I had a bloodhound/german shepherd pup a few years back that was in the exact situation---a crate in a bathroom with pee pads. She too was a whiner, and a few nights I actually slept in the floor in front of the bathroom with a baby gate across the door to keep her company. Eventually she got used to being alone and would sleep through the night. If you have any questions about anything else I didn't clarify, feel free to ask. =)
  11. l_l_a New Member

    hi Wilbur

    well he certainly loved the stuffed toy didn't he! shaking and "killing" stuffed toys is perfectly normal doggie play behavior, my dog does that all the time. The only thing of concern is to watch him closely because some dogs will try to eat or swallow the shredded parts and they can choke on those which is very dangerous. So I would remove any damaged stuffed toys, and now that we know he will shred them, don't leave him alone with new stuffed toys if you're not there to watch him. However, you can get tougher stuffed toys that are specifically made for dogs at pet supply stores, these toys are much stronger than kids' stuffed toys and therefore won't rip as easily (unless your dog is a power chewer like mine! but I doubt that at 6 weeks old he will be that strong). So I would get one of those dog-specific stuffed toys for him.

    when my dog was a puppy and I was first crate training him, he would do the same crying thing - I would sit outside the crate until he fell asleep then I would try and tiptoe away and the minute I stirred he would bolt up wide awake again and start crying! The only thing I can say is this - just don't give in to his crying, eventually he will get used to it IF he is set up to otherwise enjoy being in the crate (he is already tired and likely to sleep, he has made positive associations of being in the crate because you use treats and he willingly goes in, he is not left in the crate for a long stretch, and he is not forced to go potty in it). Just hang in there, it will get better, he just needs time to get used to it.

    You might want to try going a little slower with the crate, for example first having him in there for only a minute or two, then taking him out, and each time he's in there he gets lots of treats inside. And don't let him out if he is still crying, wait for at least a few seconds of silence before letting him out so that he doesn't think that it was his crying that let him out. Then extend the time in the crate by a few more minutes, and so on. The idea is to gradually get him acclimated to the crate and thinking of it as a very nice place to be.

    here are some articles on crate training that may be useful, you can find a lot more articles by googling too
  12. wilbur New Member

    Thanks again tx for all of the advice. He has actally done very well the last two nights. Along with giant stuffed toys I put in an old shirt of mine that he uses as a pillow so I assume it comforts him with my scent. He is not whinning throughout the night or when I put him in the crate- just a in the early morning when he has decided it is time for the household to wake up. I go up to check on him and after letting him run around outside for a few minutes I try to get him to go back to sleep. Things are definetly improving though in tis area. Right now I have started focusing on the re-emergence of his rough biting and tugging behavior. Thanks for the help everyone.
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Great to hear, Jen. ^^ Good luck with him!

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