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Puppy sleep regression...(3 Posts)
Help! My six month old pup has, over recent nights, really regressed in terms of sleep. He has always settled well in a crate, waking up once a night to be taken outside, and then returning to his crate to sleep after that. Usually only until dawn but I can cope with that, although would prefer a longer lie in...
The last few days he has been waking up a few times a night - maybe 2-3 - and I've been going to him, and he's been difficult to settle afterwards. I think he views my arrival as the start of playtime now, whatever the hour. I think I've taught him that crying means I arrive to see him at night.
I am trying to undo this behaviour and to ignore his crying, but my goodness he is persistent.
I'm in a quandary as I don't want to let him get too stressed but equally I don't want to create a long term sleep issue...
This is really common at about this age beccause it's when they are properly learning that they can change how you act but acting differently themselves.
If you choose to ignore it then you MUST ignore it. Waiting and then giving in will make this beaviour more persistent. Ignoring him a few times and then going down will make it more persistent. It's effectively an intermittent reward schedule.
Personally, I would go down but make it the dullest visit ever. Simply ask him to settle and then leave again.
During the days, work on a settle down cue so he knows what it means. Pick a time he is already looking to settle down anyway and just repeat "settle down" in a calming voice. When he lies down, praise him. Repeated often enough "settle down" becomes linked in his mind to drifting off to sleep.
I would pick a night to start this when you don't get too stressed about having to get up the next day. Accept you may have to go down several times.
He will grow out of it
Thank you very much, that is very helpful. I will try that. It's like having a newborn baby again! I have to remember that they grow out of it too.