The curious incident of the puppy in the night

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Use a crate,” they said. “I did with my puppy. It’ll whine for a bit but that’s normal.”

Hmmm. I visited a few forums to check out the pros and cons for the great crate debate. . .

It proved to be be a real, pardon the pun, bone of contention.

Some people seemed to swear by them, putting up with the the whimpers for a few nights, no bother. Others appeared to be horrified by the very idea of caging up an animal.

I have to say I was on the fence. I could understand the use of tough love, but honestly putting an animal in a little cage all night. It doesn’t seem right.

We tried it for one long, upsetting, disturbing night. Except it was so awful and we felt so terrible that we only lasted about three and half hours.

Three and half hours of lying awake and listening to not just whining and whimpering but a horrendous guttural yowling.

We lay in bed staring at the ceiling. I felt sick to my stomach as the miserable sounds filtered up through the ceiling.

In the end I caved and went down to check on Pippi. I couldn’t even wait for her to calm down before opening the door (as all the books suggest, after all you don’t want to reinforce bad behaviour). She was thrashing against the sides and biting at the bars like a thing possessed and that, to me, seemed inhumane to leave her locked inside. So after opening the door and calming her down we decided on Plan B. To let her have the run of the utility room so she wasn’t locked in a cage.

Back to bed we went. The noise began and again. An hour and a half later I ventured to the door, softly trying to calm her before opening it. She looked like a rabid animal. She’d done a frightened wee and was shaking. No way. On all the forums I’d looked at what people were saying: the whining stopped after an hour or so or a few days or a few weeks. But my heart was telling me our puppy wasn’t cut out for the strict crating regime and with both of us working full-time we couldn’t really cope with weeks of contending with the torturous noise and sleep deprivation.

Plan C. The boyfriend slept downstairs with her for a couple of nights. But realistically this is no way to live in the long-term.

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Catching some zzzzs

We took the choice of having Pippi in our bedroom in her own basket.

Oh you’ve made a rod for your own back there. She’ll never sleep anywhere else now,” the opinions came thick and fast. Thanks so much.

But she slept. And so did we. When she needed the loo she’d get up and tap the side of the bed. After a week or two she was sleeping through the night.

It’s no different to having a baby in your room and there’s something quite comforting about hearing the gentle snuffling of a dreaming dog by your side.

We did what we felt was right. For us.

Crating probably is a great training technique for some dogs but for Pippi it wasn’t and we stand by our decision.

Print   Pippi’s thoughts

It was scary enough coming to a new home. Then my human mum and dad wanted me to sleep on my own. I was used to being with my brothers, and even though they used to pick on me it was nice to snuggle up with them at night. It got worse when I found out they wanted to put me in a cage. I thought I’d been naughty. As soon as they left the room I got really upset and cried. I couldn’t stop. I was so scared and lonely.

Eventually mum came to rescue me and let me out of the horrid cage. Honestly, how would they like to sleep in it? But then she shut the door and disappeared. I was so sad and still cried. Mummy came back and in the end daddy slept in the cosy lounge with me. I felt safe and settled then.

This happened for a few nights but then I was allowed upstairs, with mummy and daddy in my own comfy bed. I was so excited, I tried to play games with them but they got a bit cross.

Now I know it’s a place for resting not playing and that makes them happy. I like it up there. I love having them near me. It’s nice that they understand me and have let sleeping dogs lie.

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