First Night Crying

Chevromist Mini Chocolate Groodle sleepingMany first time pet owners have high expectations for the first night their new puppy arrives home.  The vision of a cuddly puppy, snug in his or her own dog bed, snoring peacefully may come to mind.  However, many pet parents forget that in the excitement of gaining a new family member, the puppy is losing the only family it has known.  The first night home may not develop in the way that many new puppy owners expect, and the new pup may keep the family awake with his or her crying.  What can be done to make the new transition easier on everyone?

Why do Puppies Cry at Night?

From an evolutionary standpoint, puppies cry as a way to keep the mother from being gone for long periods of time – similar to the way a child cries and a mother returns to check on him or her.  On your puppy’s first night home, he will not understand that your family are his new pack now, and will cry to seek comfort.  In nature, without protection from the mother the puppy is vulnerable to being killed by predators.  In many ways, your puppy will feel vulnerable in his new home and unfamiliar environment.  It is important to keep this perspective in mind and not punish for your new dog for feeling separation anxiety from his siblings. 

Making a Puppy Comfortable in his New Home

Chevromist Cavoodle puppy in his bedWhen helping your new dog transition into feeling secure in strange surroundings, you should provide him with a sense of security.  Banishing him to a far away location, such as the back shed may only further his insecurities, which will ultimately lead to more discontent and whining.  Instead, find an area of the house where your dog will not feel too far away.  The location does not have to be permanent, and you can slowly wean your pup to another area of the house if need be.  However, especially for the first few nights, it is important that your dog feel safe.  Just like humans, dogs can develop emotional and behavioral problems from traumatic events experienced when young.  Popular options for the first night home include a bed, blanket, or crate situated in or near the bedroom of the new puppy’s parents, such as a laundry or bathroom.  If planning to crate train your dog for potty training purposes, exposing him to this environment early is a good idea.

Before going to bed, take your puppy for short walk outside in the backyard.  This will not only ensure that your puppy does not decide he has to go potty as soon as you settle into bed, but will also help calm his nerves.  A tired dog, ultimately, is a happy dog. 

Puppy Whining is Just Temporary

Despite your dog being near you for the first few nights, he will still likely whine and cry a little throughout the night.  It is important not to rush to your puppy’s side every time he makes a noise.  This will only reinforce the behavior and lead him to believe that crying is the best way to get your attention.  Instead, if you ignore the whining he will quickly learn that it is unacceptable and most of all, not the way to get what he wants.  Ultimately, the best thing to do is to approach the situation from a rational perspective, a little bit of whining now and much better settled dog for the rest of his life.  Although annoying, whining on the first night or so is simply one growing pain of owning an adorable new puppy!


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