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My partner and I have a 12 week mini dachshund (had him for 4 weeks now). Initially we had him in his pen next to our bed for the first 10 days or so, this worked well - we would wake up at 3, wake him up and take him out to the loo, then he would fall back to sleep in his pen next to us until 6am(ish)

We then moved him into our spare room (we want him to sleep in a separate room and under the advice of our breeder, said he was now ready). We started letting him wake us up to let us know he needed the loo. We’re finding he now doesn’t need to go outside (suspect he went on his puppy pad before crying woke us up), and that he just won’t settle back down afterwards. If you put him on our lap, he will nod off, but as soon as he is back in his pen he will just wine/cry for attention. I try to get him asleep on my lap then carefully put him back in his pen, then stand by it until he nods off again - but this just isn’t happening now.

Recently we let him cry after being sure he had all his needs met, but he did this for over 2 hours! And I mean, scream/howl, not just ‘whistle’. It kept us up and ruined our sleep

I’m worried he’s getting into a bad sleeping routing. We make sure he is tiered out before bed (walk him, play with him throughout the evening and just before bed, so that he puts himself to bed downstairs, then move him upstairs to the spare room), I have the radio on quiet in the spare room and temperature is comfortable, his bed has toys too.

We’re getting to the stage now when we give into his howling after 30 mins+ and put him in the sofa bed with us. He then sleeps very happy in until 8ish. How can we break this cycle and get him settled back into his pen again after a early morning loo break?

I think you have tried to go too fast. Baby animals would not normally be left alone as infants.

I'd have him back in your room with you for a bit longer, then after he has been sleeping well for a couple of weeks, move his bed in stages - other side of the room for a few nights, outside the bedroom doorway for a few nights, and so on. If he cries at any stage, you have gone too fast so you go back to the previous step for a bit longer.

But please don't leave him to cry. That advice is quite old fashioned and we now know it does more harm than good.

At this stage, he is an infant who has just been separated from mum and littermates and meeting his emotional needs is just as important as meeting his physical needs. When he is crying, it is because he is alone in the dark and anxious. By you being there for him, you won't make him clingy, you will help him develop his confidence by protecting him from the scary night time and he will grow in confidence as he learns there is nothing to fear. You are not ”rewarding his crying,” you are meeting a fundamental need of an infant.

Hopefully you wouldn't leave a child who was afraid of the dark to cry themselves to sleep, alone. Your puppy is the same. The dogs that stop crying don't do so because they suddenly realise everything is ok, they do it because they have given up hope. It is an extreme example but in trauma victims, it's the silent ones who are most damaged.

This article explains the science behind it.

Self Soothing & Cry It Out Are Neurologically Damaging Here Is Why - Simply Behaviour - Applied Behaviour Analysis

It is a good idea to start helping him develop independence soon though, and Emma Judson's Flitting Game, described about ⅔ of the way down this link is a good way to start.

On a separate note, puppy pads give mixed messages about whether indoor toileting is allowed or not so they can confuse puppies and slow down toilet training. It will click a lot faster if you bite the bullet and get up to take him out at night.

You might find some of the resources here helpful - particularly the First Few Nights, and the Kidnapped from Planet Dog articles.

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