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Crate Training at Night - advice needed on letting 8 week pup out for loo?

(42 Posts)
Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 06:17:38

I was about to post this on another thread but realised how long it was so thought it better to start my own:

We're also going through the new puppy/crate training experience (hence me being awake now!). We only got him on Sat and he is 8 weeks today. Have made the crate cosy with a blanket/bed inside and blanket over the top, a toy and blanket smelling of his mother/litter, one of my t shirts, a nylabone and a small ticking clock. I have been getting him used to the crate by feeding him in there, giving him treats and a special one if he manages to stay inside for approx 1 minute (have been walking away and waiting and coming back and treating), which I have built up to slowly. He isn't too keen on being shut in still though but will have to learn this morning as I will need a shower!

Last night he was exhausted and asleep by just before 9, but I woke him up after a short nap to play with him and try and keep him awake a bit longer (is that mean?!) so he slept better during the night. I had to take him out a couple of times before he would wee but once he had I sat with him and yawned and licked my lips and he settled down and I put him in his crate and stroked him and he drifted off at about 10:10ish. I then fully covered the crate and had the radio on low. No whining.

He then woke at just before 2. After last night we had decided to take him out (last night he was up at 12:50 (my daughter had a nightmare so I suspect he heard her) , 3:30 and 5:45 (which seems to be when he wakes for the day. We left him but after about 15/20 mins of super barking we went down as we suspected he might need the loo. Which he did, every time he did a wee and twice a poo). He did a wee immediately and I took him back inside and put him in his crate with door open and my hand, yawned and he settled, did same routine. He then woke at 3:30. I thought it wasn't a desperate for the loo cry but a lonely cry but my husband said I should go down in case (think he weed a little last night in crate first time we left him to cry). I did and he did a wee but a tiny one he clearly didn't need. He was harder to settle this time - kept coming out and sitting on my to sleep. But I put him in crate with my hand and he fell asleep pretty quickly so I did the same routine and left him. He has just woken up at 5:45 and done wee and poo.

What are people's thoughts on this? I believe at 8 weeks puppies can only really hold it for about 4 hours? Is that correct? Also he has only been here three days so will still be missing his pack. I think last night I should have left the second wake up, making only one during the night for me! (Am slightly wary as he has a big bark for a little puppy and our house is open plan so you can hear it quite well upstairs and I would rather my daughter wasn't woken up - she is 18 months! But I think I will have to let him bark soon for this to work...) Any advice greatly appreciated - thanks so much!

nooka Tue 31-May-11 06:33:04

Our puppy is now 18mths old so those days seem a very long time ago to me now, and we didn't crate train, but my New Dog book says that an 8 week old puppy can only hold his or her bladder for about two hours (four hours at about 12 weeks). I got up whenever the pup didn't settle back to sleep after a few minutes when he was tiny, because I learned that if i left him for longer he got much more upset and was then difficult to settle down. Easier to respond quickly but then be very boring so the total amount of time you are awake for is minimised. Just like with a baby really. I don't think that reassuring a pup that is anxious is a bad thing, but it is a total judgement call and you will get used to his cues.

Why isn't your dh getting up btw? dh and I split puppy care so I did the late night and he did the early morning (he'd get up for any wake ups after 4am I think, take the pup out and then they'd both go to sleep on the sofa).

Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 06:45:13

Thanks Nooka. I have read I think 2 hours in the day and 4 at night? But I do think he needs to be let out - as you say he will only get more and more upset! And yes I am not saying anything to him (apart from good boy when he wees/poos) and no toys that he can grab and run off with (learnt that one last night!)

My husband isn't getting up during the week because of his job - he works very long hours as a corporate lawyer and at times isn't back until past midnight (from anything from a 6-8am start). So he really needs a decent sleep to function the next day. And I am a SAHM and I do the same for our daughter too. He does Fri and Sat night. This is just the way we have always done it in our family. I can (in theory) have a sleep when my daughter naps for 2 hours in the afternoon). He did get up on Sunday night when the puppy was really crying and up loads! My daughter doesn't usually get up til about 8 so it means I have time with the puppy too. If my husband hasn't left before she wakes up he will also deal with her in the morning (and he wants to see her!). It's going to be a tiring few weeks but I knew that and have only myself to blame grin

nooka Tue 31-May-11 06:52:19

That sounds entirely reasonable as he does his stuff at the weekend and when he can. I think you have to plan for at least a month of frequent waking, but they grow so fast that it really should get better day by day (although expect a couple of nights were it all goes to pot too). We went to a dog park today that was full of puppies and they are totally gorgeous!

Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 07:55:02

Phew! He does do what he can and we think this is a fair set up - I think I may have to try and go back to having a nap in the day though again for the next few weeks. And hopefully it will be better when he can go out (first jabs today and again at 10 weeks) as he will be able to tire himself out in the park. Am also hoping a playpen is going to arrive tmrw which will help with looking after my daughter and the puppy. Any tips on stopping him jumping up and nipping her? I can turn away, stand still, yelp etc which does the trick but she is only 18 months so can't yet. I have been picking her up to "stop the game" and also distracting him with another toy and picking him up and off her and also I suppose I can yelp for her. Thank you!

Spamspamspam Tue 31-May-11 09:27:21

I yelped for my daughter smile I yelped for myself first and she got the message very quickly. I then yelped for my daughter as she thought it was too embarrassing!

You could also start doing some training with the puppy teaching him off or leave it - that will tire him out. I find 10 minutes with my puppy teaching, off, sit, stay, heel, come is enough. If your puppy is anything like my puppy he might not appear tired in the park so be careful about how much you do in the initial stages. We think we overdid it a bit at first and have worked out a suitable energy burning programme without overtiring her. You could take him out in your arms at this age which might be difficult with your daughter if she is in a pram but it would also tire him out seeing the new sights and sounds outside of the house. I also put my daughter an puppy in another room for periods of the day as puppy sees her as a plaything and will play all day if I let them.

Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 13:00:14

Thanks Spam! Yes that is what I have been doing. Not working yet - ie he still jumps and nips. But very early days. He has gone into his crate twice today and I left him to whine for a couple of mins and then he settled to sleep (am covering the crate almost completely) - very pleased!

Yes I think the next commands I need to teach are stay and leave and off. Need to try and look at how to train off - how did you do it? He is doing sit on command already and lie down when lured with a treat. But the problem is that sit goes out the window if excited by my daughter (or anything for that matter!)

I am not sure I can manage carrying pup and pushing buggy etc esp as my daughter will want to get out but will make sure I do it this weekend when there are two of us - we did it yesterday. (He went to sleep in my arms)

When do you think I can start popping out (for shopping etc)? I suppose some people get a puppy and have to go to work for a few hours a day so perhaps I need to start doing it! It's very early days though but will definitely need to get to the shops. Perhaps I should wait til he falls asleep and then go!

Spamspamspam Tue 31-May-11 14:22:09

Good news about him sleeping in crate smile

I didn't cover the crate during the day but if it works for you that's great. I wanted a complete demarkation between night time and day hence blankets off in morning and moving crate to a different place for day/night. This way if I put her back in the crate during what I consider the night, she knows it is still night time. For instance she got me up the other day at 5.30am so I left crate in night positon and put her back in until 7.00am when it was normal waking time and she could come out. She usually comes out for about an hour but as soon as I put crate in dining room she is crawling in there to snooze all morning!

What I did for teaching off was hold a treat in my thumb and forefinger, let her smell it and try and get it but hold tight as soon as nose backs off contact give her the treat. Do this for a while then introduce the word off as she backs away from treat, give her treat the minute she is off. I still have to work on off a lot particularly with toys when she wants a tug of war. She comes off toy no problem but as soon as I try to pick it up she jumps and grabs it - can be a problem with the kids as she is jumping up and snapping at the toy! Now I am teaching her to stay off until I offer the toy back. I say off and treat, she drops it immediately, in fact drops it before I even say it, then I pick up toy and say off again, if she goes for it I drop it and stand up. I then get her back to sit and off, and try picking up the toy again if she continues sitting and stays off whilst I bring my hand and the toy up I treat and offer the toy and have a play of tug of war. I am progressing to then walking with the toy and not have her jumping up beside me to grab it.

I got the Gwen Bailey book - Puppy School. This gave me the way to teach off. Also read all of Minimu's posts!

minimu1 Tue 31-May-11 15:30:02

I never get up for puppies in the night (unfit lazy owner!) My last puppies a lab and collie did not wee or poo in their crates at 7 weeks of age. I put them to bed at 11.00ish and up at 6.00am. I ignore any noise during those hours!!!

I would not worry about the puppy choosing to go to sleep in their crate that is quite advanced thought process. "I am tired I will go to comfy crate to sleep" usually they crash just where they are. What I would continue to do though is to put treats in the crate and whenever they wander in or near they will find yummy goodies. Do feed all meals in the crate with the door open - I do not worry about shuting the door in the day time unless I am leaving the puppy for a while.

Re going out. If the puppy is feed and has had a play time and is getting tired pop into the crate put on the radio and go to the shops. I would not leave it for long to start with and when you come back in DO Not make a fuss of the puppy. Just come in put the shopping on the side put on the kettle and then let the puppy out again do not fuss the puppy. Go straight out for a wee and then you can praise like mad.

The point of not making a fuss just shows the puppy that there is no big deal when you come and go and it is just normal behaviour.

Re teaching stay I would start with wait (in fact I only use wait but up to you my dogs will stay in a position until I tell them otherwise so a sit becomes a stay unless I tell them to move) However wait is really easy to teach. When you open the crate door just say wait the dog will move forwards and try to get out just shut the door of the crate. The dog will pause and say wait again and if the dog hesitates which it will do if you shut the door you can then give your release command eg ok and the dog can come out of the crate. No punishment no cross voices just if you wait the door will open if you do not wait the doof stays shut until you do.

Do this for getting out of the car and going through doors eventually.

I wouldn't worry about a leave it command for a bit concentrate on recall and the dog knowing their name. When they are little they will usually turn the second you say their name or call them so great opportunity to get this really solid to start with. Leave it can be a little bit sharp for a very new puppy maybe do that in a week or so time.

I would concentrate on the puppy knowing that really good things happen when you are around, his name is one of the best sounds in the world when he hears it something fun or good always happens, and if he is called to you then it is like Christmas. If that foundation is there in the first few weeks then fab.

Jumping up and nipping does depend on the dog. Try just standing still and turning away from the dog no eye contact no telling off nothing you become very boring and a statue. When he has all four feet on the ground then you can quietly praise him and carry on with the game. Some puppies can get wound up by high pitch yells and squeals and it just makes things worse.

Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 16:01:10

Thank you Spam and Minimu. Minimu - lots of very helpful info there thank you!

I actually just popped out for 20 mins to the park with my daughter. He was quiet when I got back and I think asleep but he woke up when we got back so I let him out for the loo and he did a wee and a poo. I have just put him back in though and shut the door as he was clearly tired and he has gone to sleep no problem - is that not a good thing to do? It's just that with my daughter if he just sleeps on the floor he wakes up after not very long when she is around and then hasn't slept and gets very excited...

He actually isn't great on his name yet - he doesn't always look at me when I say it and won't always come/pay attention. I have been sitting him down, waiting for eye contact and saying his name then clicking and treating. That's what my Idiot's Guide to Training book says to do. Any other ideas?

The yelping really seems to be working for us. (and when I yelp for my daughter) Do I also stand still and turn away at the same time. Do you think I should stop? Sorry for so many questions and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my pleas for help!

Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 16:06:52

Minimu - sorry forgot to ask re the nights. so do you think he didn't need to go? On the second night when he really was barking at about 12:50am and my husband let him out after 20 mins , he had done a bit of a wee in his crate. And then weed outside, then again and poo at 3:30 before getting up for the day at 5:45 ish. (This seems to be his clock getting up time as the breeder had them up at 6am - I want to push it back to about 7 if possible - do you think I should just start leaving him a little longer before going down in the mornings?)

Given he went all those times do you think he really needed to? I think his tummy was a bit funny so he did more poos than normal and we fed him too close to bedtime which we didn't do last night. And we have no water in his crate. Do you take it away an hour or so before bed?

Again sorry for all the questions!

minimu1 Tue 31-May-11 17:01:12

I do think that it is as important to teach the puppies that nighttime is for sleeping. You may have the odd accident but it is up to you if that is a problem or not. If I did come down to a wee or poo no big deal tidy it up and the puppy will begin to learn to hold on. You may get some accidents but equally you will soon get dry nights. To start with as you have already stared taking him out I expect you will get accidents but usually it stops very quickly when the puppies learn the routine.

Although puppies are all individuals and you are there and have to deal with the day to day situation not mesmile

Also sometimes feeding close to bedtimes is a good idea. The puppy has a full tummy and if asleep he may not need to poo until morning but again all dogs are different. I tend to give my last puppy romp at 10.00sih and food soon after out to poo and wee and bed at 11.00. See if you can see the pattern with your puppy does he poo immediately after eating or several hours later

Yes do leave it a bit longer each morning and don't feed him the second you get up (especially if he has a later supper) so out to wee and then ignore him for a bit if possible! then play and breakfast and he will probably be ready for another nap at that point and you can take dc to school or shower etc

But again I am not there you are on the spot and this may need adapting for your dog and your lifestyle but your puppy will be happier if he gets a good nights sleep.

minimu1 Tue 31-May-11 17:02:48

I do always leave water in the crate. You can get non spill bowls (well non spillish bowls) I would rather dry out the bedding than think the puppy was desperate for drink all night.

minimu1 Tue 31-May-11 17:04:37

clamp on bowls for crates

this works for some dogs

Happymm Tue 31-May-11 17:17:58

Minimu,trying not to hijack thread, but do you shut the door of crate at night? Picking my 8wk lab tomorrow, and her breeders leave door open with puppy pad outside the door? Do I carry on with this. Or hope she'll hold it in? Worried that if starts off having accidents in her bed it'll become the norm? Thanks, x

minimu1 Tue 31-May-11 17:48:24

I can't really see the point of crates unless you do shut the door.

I do always shut the door and let the puppy totally relax. I do not use puppy pads - always outside for wees it is so much easier for the puppies to learn that wees and poos are outside.

A lab will be able to hold it but he will need to learn the new system in your house. If she does have accidents in her bed it will not become the norm.

smartyparts Tue 31-May-11 17:56:26

Kingsroadie We also got a pup on sat! He is almost 9 weeks and so far (everything crossed) he has had no accidents at night, from 11ish to 7ish.

Not using a crate. This morning, dh found him snuggled up with our aged dog in her bed!

Spamspamspam Tue 31-May-11 18:21:46

Re the water. I had a bowl just like the one in the link minimu posted however I was filling it up too much and also when puppy was crying and creating by scrabbling at the doors and side of the crate in the first couple of days she kept emptying the water bowl and somehow lifting it out of the holder. One night she got so her bed so wet I felt really bad that I had left her in a soaking bed sad . Because the bed was wet everynight I also didn't know if she had wee'd in the crate as well and this made me waver about getting up in the night for her. I withdrew the water for a few days whilst she settled and then when I knew she was comfortable with the nightime routine and could be left and I also knew she wasn't weeing in the crate and could happily go from 11.00pm - 7.00am without going out for the loo I re-instated the water bowl but put a lot less in. All is fine now smile

Your puppies might not do this but just thought I would add another experience!

Happymm Tue 31-May-11 22:03:15

Thanks minimu,suspect I'll be shouting out a lot over next few weeks fir helpsmile

Kingsroadie Tue 31-May-11 22:07:13

smarty - great! Wow lucky you re the nights! Oh bugger - I now have no idea what to do re nights - whether to take him out or not. I think if I didn't have my daughter I would perhaps let him cry more but he is SOOOO loud. And out house is open plan and so the sound carries straight up the stairs! I mean, he really really barks and we tried leaving him for 20 or so minutes, possibly half an hour and he was still going very strong and weed as soon as I took him out...?

He is currently crashing out around 9 ish and am not sure whether to try and keep him awake a bit more?!! He has food before that as he tends to need to poo a couple of hours or less post food. I am then taking him out for a wee etc before bed.

Minimu - interesting what you say about water. He had no water in crate last night and didn't even go straight for a drink at all in the morning or throughout the night...Again now not sure what to do!

LimburgseVlaai Wed 01-Jun-11 12:18:50

We are having night time problems too. Our 12 week old puppy (who we have had since he was 8 weeks old) is happy to go into his crate at bedtime (we say 'Bed' and put in a little treat, and he goes in and settles down - usually around 10.45), but he wakes up every morning at 4.30 or so. He yaps and barks until one of us goes down to let him out at 6-6.30. Usually he has wee'd in the cage by that stage.

The breeder (he is a retriever) said that we should not let him out at night, no matter what. But I'm beginning to think it might be better in the long run, and less mean to the puppy, to let him out at 4.30 for a pee, then get him back into his crate. No idea if he would settle back down though.

What does everyone think? Get up and let him out, or lie in bed awake while he yaps and barks until it's 'proper' getting up time?

Thank you!

Kingsroadie Wed 01-Jun-11 13:14:47

Limburg, sounds very much like ours! Last night he went in at 11 and slept til 4:10 - luxury compared to the night before! I let him out and he did a poo and a wee and I put him back in and he went nuts - barking like a lunatic. After half an hour I went down to try and settle him down a bit (waiting til he paused in his barking to go to him) but that failed so I gave up at 5:10 ish and left him until 6:30 when he was barking. He may have stopped at some point as I drifted off to sleep but I really don't know if he did. However, I am going to get up to him once in the night at the mo I think and then ignore any barking after that.

The breeder got up at 6am so he is used to an early start and probably the very light mornings at 4:00am ish don't help! But I am going to just leave him a bit later until he can wait until at least 7...

So I am doing that at the moment but I think Minimu who knows a hell of a lot more than me about all this would say leave him, as per the above. But each pup is slightly individual and each house different etc. My main worry is him waking up my 18 month old daughter! Our house is all open plan so the noise rather travels and he has a loud bark for a little chap.

Good luck!

PurpleFrog Wed 01-Jun-11 13:41:48

This is a difficult question....

We have an 11-month lab, and I feel we have just got into a good morning routine over the past 2 months.

When he was little he would wake up anytime from 4.30am onwards and be desperate for a wee/poo. I always got up to him, to keep him quiet. (dp suffers from ME and really needs a good long uninterrupted night's sleep, and dd needs to be awake and alert for school). After the first couple of months, I decided that if he got me up before 6.00am I would take him out with minimal fuss, then put him back in his crate and go back to bed. I would only get about 30 mins before he got me up again, but this usually translated into a longer lie the following morning.

It is only in the past 2 months that he is consistently getting up after 6.00am. Half of the mornings this week I have woken HIM up around 6.45am! It is obvious that he is no longer desperate for a wee first thing, and he often has his breakfast before he asks out.

Rory has never wet or soiled his crate ... but to achieve that I had to to go to bed at 9.30pm some nights to make up sleep, and I spent the winter mornings trudging through 10 inches of snow in my wellies with a torch at 5.30am....

Having read minimu's recent posts on the subject I do wonder if I made a rod for my own back by taking him out as soon as he asked, and not "training" him to hold on for longer. But, then, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

All pups are different and you really have to decide what is best for you in your particular circumstances.

LimburgseVlaai Wed 01-Jun-11 13:46:45

Our place is very open plan too, with hard floors. I put an old sleeping bag over the cage at night just to reduce the echoes. Our two daughters are a bit older but they sleep right through the noise - so your 18 month old is probably OK. At that age you can set off a cannon next to their heads and they will barely stir.

I think we'll just have to grit our teeth and keep strong.

LimburgseVlaai Wed 01-Jun-11 13:51:44

PurpleFrog - What makes our difficulties even worse is that a good friend has just got a labrador puppy (female, now 10 weeks) which has slept all the way through right from the start, until 6.30. On the other hand, she gets car sick.

Competitive parenting even with dogs!

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