Whatever your puppy gets up to during the day, it will all seem so much easier if your puppy sleeps at night, allowing you to do the same.
If you're very lucky, your puppy will settle straight away. Most will take time to settle and some will become very distressed if left alone. I’m afraid there's no way to tell in advance how your puppy will behave. Even puppies from the same litter may vary.
The advice used to be to leave the puppy, put up with the noise and eventually, after a number of noisy nights for everyone, the puppy would learn to sleep alone. We've moved on from this 'tough love' approach. Most trainers would suggest having the puppy in your room for the first few nights until they’re more settled. Many owners who couldn't bear the sound of a distressed pup would have done this anyway!
In Puppy Home School, I go through the best way to prepare for your first night with your puppy in detail. But however closely you follow all the protocols for getting your puppy to sleep at night, some just don’t settle. I'm afraid that, according to fairly recent research, it may be as high as 60% of them.
And oh boy, what a heart-wrenching sound they can make – it's designed to go through you (and the party wall)! It won’t take long before you’re on to Google desperately seeking relief by way of tips to make it stop because you just want to sleep, and you’re worried about the neighbours …
It’s difficult to know if what Mary on a forum says is brilliant for getting her puppy to sleep will actually work for other puppies, or if it just so happens that by the time Mary got round to trying it her own puppy was about to resign itself to settling down anyway.
In the absence of a magic wand or an off-switch, I'm afraid all suggestions are a bit try-it-and-see. What works for some doesn’t for others. In all honesty, time a comfortable bed with soft sides for the puppy to lean on (although if it’s hot, some pups will prefer a flat bed – you see nothing is perfect for every puppy) is quite likely all you need.
But by the second night of being kept awake by a very unsettled puppy, human nature will send you to Google anyway, so here are my top 9 most likely to work suggestions. No guarantees – but nor will they do any harm.
Most importantly, if your puppy doesn’t settle alone at night for some time it’s not your fault! In all likelihood, you’re not doing anything ‘wrong’. As you now know, it’s the same in more than half of puppy households.