New puppies are a joy – most of time. However, like babies, puppies can cause many a sleepless night, and like babies the amount of noise they can make is deafening!
Puppies cry from fear, pain, hunger and when they need to go to the toilet. But the main reason puppies cry, especially at night, is from the fear of being alone. This is especially true during the first few weeks of being in their new homes.
When your puppy was born he was kept in a den with his siblings and mother; this den represented complete safety; and he did not cry unless his other needs (toileting thirst etc) were not met.
When your puppy arrives in his new home everything is strange, bewildering and possibly frightening. He will feel lonely and lost and will let you know in no uncertain terms how he feels.
Studies show that to alleviate your puppy’s distress your company is required, especially at night. This doesn’t mean your puppy has to have company all the time, he also needs to learn to be alone, but those first few days in your home are a special case.
I advise new puppy owners to pre-empt the fear screaming that some puppies do during their first few nights away from home is to have your puppy in a crate or sturdy box, next to your bed. Your smell and breathing throughout the night will help your puppy feel safe and secure.
And after a few nights, you can gradually start to move his bed or the crate out of your bedroom and to the place where he will eventually spend the night.
Some people think that leaving a puppy to ‘cry it out’ will make him tougher – but that has largely been disproved. Studies suggest that higher levels of maternal care – and you are the puppy’s substitute mother now – makes puppies braver and more confident.
See my other articles on raising a puppy: