Read time: 3 mins
28 Oct 2020
By Team Butternut Box
It's the day you've been waiting for – your pup is finally home. You've got their brand-new bed plumped up and their shiny bowls and squeaky toys are all ready for action. Maybe you've even had a pre-arrival consultation from the most sought-after dog behaviourist in town, Oli Juste. But nothing has prepared you for how it feels to hear the lonesome night-time yowl of a little pooch who's really missing their litter-mates. Don't panic. We know what to do. Here at Butternut Box we've been there, done that and got the (tear-stained) T-shirt. Grab a cuppa, settle down and read on to discover our top tips for making your pup's transition to their new pack as smooth as possible.
Of course, you're going to feel upset that your little dog cries at night. Humans are programmed to respond to the cries of a baby and those mewling cries sound pretty similar. But don't worry, this crying is the most normal thing in the world and a puppy rite of passage. Just think, it would actually be odd if your pup didn't cry. They've had the biggest day of their little lives – moving away from mum and siblings, probably a long car journey and now having to sleep alone in a completely new place. There's a lot to get used to, so your new four-legged family member will certainly take a few weeks to settle in and stop crying at night.
Dogs live in a world of scent, so tap into this amazing ability when you're helping your pup to settle in. Familiarise your new pooch to your individual smell by giving them an old T-shirt of yours while they're still at their old place. That way, they'll have a whiff of familiarity when they arrive home with you (plus very low expectations about your gift-giving potential). You could also bring a toy or something that smells of their previous home back to yours, to keep them company as they settle in. Another great way to help your pooch happy at night is to leave a dim light on and have a radio playing – we have it on good authority that Poodles love opera and Border Terriers prefer Radio 4. The key thing to remember when helping your pooch in the early days is to make your home as much like their previous one as possible. If your pup came from a busy, noisy household then try and get lots of friends over. If they were used to peace and quiet, then turn the music down. Reassuring familiarity will ease them into a new way of life.
We're as soft-hearted as the next person here at Butternut Box, but there are times in a pet parent's life when you've got to be firm. That means resisting taking your crying pup up to bed with you at 2 am. By all means, go and check that they're okay if you hear whimpers in the night. But be bright and breezy, offer them a comfort break in the garden (puppies need to go out several times at night during the first few months) then it's back to bed. We know this is much easier said than done, but it's the only way to get things on track for quieter nights in the long-term. The bottom line is that you've got to treat your pup with firmness and consistency (as well as with kindness and plenty of cuddles, of course) right from the very beginning. So, wherever it is that your pooch sleeps at night, that's where they've got to stay. But we confess, you'll be in for a better chance of forty winks if you let them sleep within a stick's throw of your bedroom.