Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: BC, Canada
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Honestly, with our first few dogs we never did much to stop the whining/crying in the crate the first few nights, we just ignored it (although it broke our hearts to hear them- and they were always kept in our bedroom so we didn't sleep at all either). With this last little guy, we tired him out really well before bed-time that first night, then when he started crying my husband got down beside the crate and comforted him through the bars. I really thought that would just make it worse, but the little guy quieted down and slept for a few hours, so....? I think you have to play it by ear with every puppy, but you set yourself up for success if you make sure he's tired when you put him in there. Also, try to be really conscious of your emotional state when you put him in his crate. If you are feeling nervous and anticipating his crying and another sleepless night, or if you are feeling 'sorry' for him, he may be picking up on those emotions. He doesn't know the reason your feeling tense/anxious/sad, all he knows is that when you approach his crate, your emotional state is negative. Dogs have survived and evolved as our companions due in large part to their ability to 'read' us and our body language, so you may be supporting his dislike of his crate unintentionally.
I think the best thing you can do for that particular problem is to just tire him out, make sure he's 'empty', and just matter-of-factly put him in his crate like it's no big deal. Sit at the door (with it open) and just hang out with him until he's calmed down, then shut the door and try to ignore the noise until his bathroom-break time. I personally don't put toys in with them, as I want them to know that it's not time for play, it's time for sleep. But to each their own, right?
It will get better. Eventually. I mean, he's only been alive for two months at this point- he's growing in leaps and bounds everyday. One day you'll be sitting around and suddenly notice that you haven't cleaned up an accident in recent memory, or been woken up at night in a loooong time. This is the toughest time in your dog's life, in my opinion.