Advice on 9 week old Lab Not Sleeping/Not Loving Crate

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Courtney_Cagle, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Courtney_Cagle

    Courtney_Cagle Registered Users

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    Hi all, I'm a new member and this is my first post regarding our english lab puppy named Chase. Chase is 9 weeks old and we've had him for 5 days now. We're really struggling with night time sleep in his crate. His crate is in our mudroom just off the kitchen, so it's a quiet space at night but access to people during the day. I've been trying to do crate training with him during the day to help him get comfortable in his new crate but that is slow going and doesn't seem to be translating to him loving his crate at night. We've tried coming up with different schedules for night time sleep - initially we started by putting him in his crate at 10pm after a final potty and he was waking fairly consistently every 1.5 hours all night long. When he wakes he howls and barks and over the last few days it has become more insistent and he is not able to settle after taking him out and recrating him. We've tried putting him in later closer to midnight and he had one night where he slept from 12-5:30am, we tried this again last night but it resulted in him waking every 1.5 hours and when we'd take him out he wouldn't potty and then wouldn't resettle in his crate. We've tried withholding food and water starting at about 7pm, we try giving him lots of exercise and playtime during the day. I fear we are starting to reinforce bad behaviors by taking him out again at night when he's already gone potty and we try really hard not to let him out when he is barking but he's also waking the whole house up and we're all in a total fog and overwhelmed. I've tried reading the training articles and threads on crating and sleep but am new to all of this and trying to juggle being a mom, working and now being a dog mom. Would really appreciate any guidance or links to threads/articles that have helped others or feel free to point out if we're just doing it all wrong - it certainly feels that way right now. Please help, thank you in advance!
     
  2. Tamara G

    Tamara G Registered Users

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    I am in the same situation with our lab puppy, we are on night 8 and exhausted. Night 1 we used the crate and he hated it! Not one minute of sleep by any of us! We now have a bed in the laundry and he can't seem to sleep longer than an hour. We try letting him cry it out but I have small children and I don't want them waking up so go to him which has probably made things worse! Help??
     
  3. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Hi both. We had a rocky night time path with our pup. This was my original post which has lots of help on there:

    https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/advice-with-11-week-old-pup.28709/#post-399620

    Main points which helped for it to eventually click with our pup:
    We took her upstairs for a week
    We would take up her water 8-9pm.
    We would also stay in the utility until she settled and then snuck out.
    Last wee at 11pm-12am
    If we got up in the night we would go down and let her out for toilet, not speak to her and then straight back into bed (we always let her out the side door of the crate if it’s a nighttime trip!)
    Blackout blind over the window in utility door! I’m pretty sure that helped the early wake up’s with it being summer and light at about 4.30-5am

    She is great at night now. Goes to bed at 10 and wakes 7ish. I work shifts so if I’m up at 5.30 she will go out for a wee then go back to bed now until my husband gets up.
     
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  4. ELLE

    ELLE Registered Users

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    Hi Courtney and Tamara,
    This is the first puppy I have ever owned too. We got ours from the breeder who gave us some advice when we first picked up our pup.

    She said: watch your puppy very very closely during the day time and write down the times that she actually goes potty during the day and evening. Feed the pup her dinner 3 hours before you plan to put her to bed, and have her try going potty right before bed. Then, during the night, after referring to your notes about the pup's potty times during the day, try to gage how long your pup waits between each potty time, approximately, on average. It won't always be exact but you can get some idea of the timing... and it will become more of a clear pattern for you, over a short time, if you continue to keep your log. At night, Do NOT respond to your pup or pay any attention if it cries unless it is now very close to the time to take the pup out for potty (according to the schedule you have made after referring to your notes). You cannot respond everytime your pup cries because you are reinforcing the barking or crying by coming to him/her everytime. This results in continued barking or crying. In order for it to stop, you must ignore it...unless it is the proper time for a potty. Also, try not to go to your pup, even at the right time, until he/she is quiet. Wait until the second your pup is quiet and then let them out. DO NOT talk to them, look at them, or touch them until they are quiet; but in order to avoid an accident, you must respond the first second they are quiet. This is the only way to reinforce being quiet and NOT reward them for being noisy... yet still, addressing their need to go (if you believe it is a reasonable time).

    Also, it is very important that they begin to see their crate as a safe and happy place (as you clearly seem to know and have been trying to train your pup on this). A great trainer on crate training and potty training is Zac George who has all kinds of videos on YouTube for everything under the sun and I found his advice and videos very helpful.

    These are the things we did with our pup and they worked very well. When we did this, the first night, the crying was often, BUT we stayed strong. The second night, it was greatly decreased, and by the third night we had complete silence!

    A few things that may have helped our situation are:

    1. We bought an iron playpen that was size and shape adjustable off of Amazon. We put this playpen fence, in the shape that suited the space in our room (where we put the crate), around the crate. We used the fence like an extention to the crate, and we put a puppy pee pad inside the fenced area. If you do this, you can decide if you want to close the door between your crate and your fenced area and then you can open the door to let the puppy potty in the way I described above with only responding the second the pup quiets down, OR you may decide to leave the door open between the crate and fenced area around it, allowing the pup to let themselves out to get to the pee pad for their potty break, on their own and then go back to their bed. You should check the pee pad and replace it with a clean one a couple of times throughout the night if you decide to start your pup with a pee pad. The benefit of this is that your pup learns to settle themselves to sleep very quickly and then you can transition to potty outside whenever you want after they learn to stay quiet at night... or until they can hold their bladder for several hours as they grow. Either way, with or without using a fence and pee pad, you can try the method the breeder told us to use. It worked quite well and in less than 5 days to stop the crying and barking/ howling at night.

    2. Also, another thing that helped our pup sleep was that we put a large, cuddly bed for her inside that fenced area right outside her crate in addition to her bed that is inside her crate. We leave the crate door open to the fenced area. But we made the fenced area go right up against , and ,frame the larher bed on all sides, not allowing any other space around it so she wouldn't have any potty accidents out in the fenced area (because as we all know, dogs try not to potty where they sleep). She loved that and it really helped her get comfy and snuggle for long hours of peaceful sleep for us and her.

    The fence is adjustable in shape and size if you get the one with 8 removable panels including a door with 2 latches to lock it. You can get it from Amazon.

    We did not put a sheet or blanket over her crate at night but many people do so stating that it helps the pup feel cozy and safe. However, we were afraid it would get too hot in there so we opted not do do so.
    Hope I was able to offer some help.
    Good luck!

    Elle
     
  5. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Please, please put your puppies by your beds - or sleep by their crates! Puppies have never been alone before in their lives, they have always had their mothers or littermates. An immature animal would die in the wild if abandoned and left alone.

    Everything about human attachment applies to puppies as well, and you are their attachment object. Secure attachment is required for a puppy to feel safe alone, and secure attachment is only going to come about if you ensure you're a safe base for the puppy and if the crate is associated with your PRESENCE, not your ABSENCE....

    Little puppies should be by your beds in a crate you can reach into easily if they sound worried during the night. Letting pups cry alone is a surefire way to teach them to hate their crates and associate them with isolation and abandonment and even to grow issues such as separation anxiety.

    Our current GSP pup is 13wks old and we are still taking it in turns to sleep by her crate. Typically Labs don't have as many separation issues but still... give it a week or so.

    And lastly, (day time) crates shouldn't be in laundry rooms, mudrooms, or peripheral rooms - they need to be in the heart of the house and in the busy central family rooms so that the pup again doesn't feel shut away or isolated...
     
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  6. Julian

    Julian Registered Users

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    Make sure you use the partitions that come with the crate if you got the large size ,during the day put your puppy in there for short periods of time then let them out 10-15 minutes at a time while you are home ,reward with a treat ,we got our puppy around 8 weeks old so we didn’t start with the crate until probably 10 weeks ,my wife slept with the puppy for about a week or two all the while doing the short stints I’m the crate during the day ,they eventually grow to love it ,now the door is always open and he voluntarily retreats to the crate ,it’s like his room
     
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  7. Sukhpreet Aujla

    Sukhpreet Aujla Registered Users

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    Trying feeding him some of his meals in his crate it'll create a positive association. Leave a kong or snack in there for him to find as a surprise. You could also invest in a crate cover to make it more den like.
     
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  8. ELLE

    ELLE Registered Users

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    I agree. Pups definitely need to be in a bedroom with someone in the family during the night. They are new and scared and have never been alone. We put our pup's crate in our bedroom with us from day 1 and we give her meals and treats in there. We leave the doors open all day for her to go in and out as she pleases (but the doors were closed when we couldn't supervise her closely and she was in there for maybe 5 minutes at a time while we ran to the washroom and no one else was home to watch her until we came out). Short times in the crate closed are best and then doors should be open otherwise, if possible.
     

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