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Discussion Starter #1
What are your bedtime routines with your dogs?

Our new to us standard has been with us two weeks and I would to eventually have him sleep in the crate at night. I would also love him to sleep in later but the crate is first priority.

Our guy is 3 and I’m uncertain of his life and training until now so I’ve been treating him like a puppy, frequent trips outside for opportunities to pee/poop and praise when he does his business outside. I’ve slowly introduced him to the crate and he willingly on his own accord will go in for naps or when something scary is happening (thunder storms). I’ve closed the door on him a few times for short periods of time with no issues and only one time has resulted in barking, unfortunately I was on a conference call at the time so just let him out to quiet him down. House training wise I’m not sure he’s fully made the connection between bathroom = outside yet, but he also hasn’t really had the opportunity to have an accident in the house. We will get there.

He crashes hard at about 9:30-10 and he seems to wake up naturally between 5-5:30 so I’ve been getting up at this time to take him out. Since we got him, he’s been sleeping beside our bed with his leash attached to my arm so if he gets up in the night I will wake up and take him outside for a bathroom break. I’m a light sleeper so anytime he has a little woof in his dreams or shifts positions I wake up, thus my desire for him to sleep in the crate. He will sometimes come up on the bed but for the most part stays on the floor (I think he gets warm). He’s comfortable being in another room from us and will regularly go hang out on his bed in the hall when we are are in the kitchen.

Should I slowly work him up to more and more time solo in the crate before he goes in for a full night? Or am I overthinking this?

I am thinking if I take him for a long stroll and sniff at 10-11 pm he will be extra tired and fully emptied bathroom wise. Then he can go in his crate, I’ll set an alarm for 5 to try and wake up before or near the same time as he does to take him out.

My concern is that if I put him in overnight before he’s ready that will sour him on the crate and backfire. He’s a very sensitive soul and has a good memory. He has a collection of toys, we were playing with one certain toy last week and he accidentally crashed into my husbands knee with his head. Hasn’t touched the toy since despite cycling though the rest.

I don’t want to turn him off the crate, but I’m also desperate for a solid 6 hours of sleep! What would you do?
 

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Where do you currently have the crate? If you're not opposed to keeping it in your bedroom, I'd probably start by putting it next to the bed, where he usually sleeps, leaving the door open, and making it super comfy: His bedtime snack goes in there, random treats occasionally appear in there, there's a cool but comfy crate pad, a water bowl mounted inside.... He might surprise you by going in there at night on his own. If not, you might need to go right back to crate basics. (I like Ian Dunbar's methods.)

The only issue I foresee is if his crate isn't big enough for his preferred sleeping position. If he likes to sprawl out, I'd make sure his crate is big enough for that rather than expecting him to adapt at this age. You could also consider a small pen instead, unless you have other reasons for using a crate.

And I think you know that opening that crate door while he's barking needs to be a big no-no going forward. That will really set you back. If you need him to quiet down fast, just wait for even the smallest break. But ideally wait until he offers up quiet AND relaxed posture.

Even now, we never let Peggy out of her pen if she's standing up. Like your boy, she has a good memory. We try to use it to our advantage.
 

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Oops! You asked for our nighttime routine:

Last outdoor potty can be anywhere from 9pm to midnight or so. Before going out, I wash and refill her water bowl, which is mounted inside her crate. She goes out on leash for a quick pee and/or poop. As soon as the leash is off, Peggy races straight into her crate to wait for her bedtime snack (generally a handful of Honest Kitchen clusters). I say goodnight, latch the crate, and cover it with a black, lightweight blanket. Moments later, I generally hear her take her biggest drink of the day.

She used to move around a bit at night, so we went up two crate sizes. Now she barely stirs until we let her out sometime between 8:30 and 10:30am.

We ensured she'd sleep through the night by setting an alarm when she was a puppy, to preemptively take her out to potty. We slowly pushed this time back until we weren't letting her out until morning. This never gave her the opportunity to "call the shots." As far as she knows, the crate door physically cannot open unless she's relaxed in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you so much Peggy!!

That is incredibly helpful. I need to be careful of letting him call the shots. I think he’s smarter than I am! He’s figured out that the front door doesn’t open until he’s seated, need to get that sorted for the crate too.

I know letting him out when he was being noisy was less than ideal (understatement). I think I’ll spend some time (when I’m not on calls!!) putting him in, letting him relax for a short while then letting him out on my terms (if he’s barking or otherwise asking to come out he stays, I’ll wait until he settles).

The size should be fine, it’s a 42” and he’s big but not that big. When he’s in it he usually sets himself up with his back against the short side and tucks himself that way. I think he would have room to fully sprawl out if he chose to.

He’s just rejoined us after spending the last 30 mins in the crate, put himself in and the door stayed open. Watching the rain.
 

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He's such a handsome boy. And it seems like he's settling right into your home. How wonderful!

Peggy will sometimes lounge in her pen, but very rarely in her crate. Here's her current set-up:

467377


But she only just turned 1. I don't think Ben needs this sort of thing, unless he starts making mistakes inside (potty and/or chewing). Then a little boundary reset might be helpful.
 

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We have Normie's crate covered with a heavy dog blanket to make it more a cave. He sleeps there each night.

We take him out around 9, then he naps with me until he goes into his crate on his own when he's ready for a deeper sleep. I close the door when he settles down.

He wakes around 5 when there's noise from a distant train. That can't be changed. My husband's an early riser, so they hang out until I get up at 7ish for his morning walk.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Peggy’s sweet. Love it when they put all their legs in a bundle.

Blanket on the tops is a good idea, might help insulate against noises too. Thanks Diana.
 

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It sounds like you are doing very well helping your spoo adjust. Misha matches my schedule. I stay up late until 1 am usually and he will nap on the couch with me. He is happy to go to his crate when I tell him I'm going to sleep, but he did not start being that compliant until 1 year old. Now he actually goes in his crate to rest by himself quite often. He usually goes outside around 11-12 before bed and may potty if it isn't wet out. He sleeps soundly until 10:30 am and then will scratch his crate door if he is awake. I'm fine with it as long as he has waited sufficiently long and I'll let him out. Sometimes I get up before him and he just stays asleep even if I open his door.

For adult dogs, I always recommend giving them something special to occupy themselves when you are getting them used to the crate. A stuffed kong filled with frozen treats is great. Also you will have more success crating when he is ready to settle. Take him for a nice long walk or run and then pop him in the crate when you know he is ready for a nap. It helps them to settle. Slowly they will automatically settle when crated.
 

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Thank you so much Peggy!!

That is incredibly helpful. I need to be careful of letting him call the shots. I think he’s smarter than I am! He’s figured out that the front door doesn’t open until he’s seated, need to get that sorted for the crate too.

I know letting him out when he was being noisy was less than ideal (understatement). I think I’ll spend some time (when I’m not on calls!!) putting him in, letting him relax for a short while then letting him out on my terms (if he’s barking or otherwise asking to come out he stays, I’ll wait until he settles).

The size should be fine, it’s a 42” and he’s big but not that big. When he’s in it he usually sets himself up with his back against the short side and tucks himself that way. I think he would have room to fully sprawl out if he chose to.

He’s just rejoined us after spending the last 30 mins in the crate, put himself in and the door stayed open. Watching the rain.
I’m no help but just wanted to say he has such a sweet face!
 

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U sound like a great puppy mom. I slept next to my spoo’s crate for two weeks. It was rough and I’ve had 3 babies. Our nighttime routine is:
Quiet time in crate 8-9:15
Potty bone/ treat/ busy boxes 9:30-10:30
Lick mat with peanut butter while he gets groomed. One last potty break
10:45-12:30 crate and cover
My oldest takes him out at 2:30 so I can sleep she’s an angel.
9-9:30 am start all over
Routine helps me more than dog I think. I was a big schedule mom when my kids were babies. Teddy is now 4 mo and doesn’t needs as long Naps as he did but u just adjust. Those first couple weeks were brutal. Hang in there. 👍🏻 I did and still have mine on a schedule with his crate and food. Crate should be a cozy haven they wanna go too.
 

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Does Teddy still go out at 2:30am? Every night? Rather than letting him get too attached to that routine, I'd probably start pushing that time slowly towards morning: 2:45 for a few nights, then 3, then 3:15, etc. If he's in a deep sleep when your oldest opens the crate to take him out, use that as a sign he's probably ready for a half-hour jump (or more).

Peggy's final nighttime potty was shortly before sunrise. Not only did she seem more than ready to not be woken up at night anymore, we thought it would be rough for her to go back to sleep after a sunrise potty.

So then we began working on her wake-up time instead, using the same system to adjust it slowly later.

(I know a lot of people don't bother with such strict methods, but I have a chronic illness that makes sleep extremely precious to me. It was important that my expectations of Peggy's sleep routine be communicated to her kindly and clearly from day 1. I'm sure we'll hit some rocky patches as she reaches maturity, but I feel good about her foundation.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
More great advice. Thanks everyone.

Great suggestion on timing the crate when he’s already tired and sleepy, I think that will work well for him @Raindrops!

He slept in his bed in the hallway last night. We had a big thunderstorm roll through after supper so our last outdoor trip didn’t happen until 12:30. He peed and pooped, and the minute we got in the door flopped flat out in his bed in the hallway. I decided to take a chance and leave him there, figured he was empty and tired, so as long as I woke up when he did an accident was unlikely to happen. I set my alarm for 6, but woke up before at 5:30. I don’t think he had moved an inch, was in his bed in the same position, nothing chewed and no accidents. I had to do some strong convincing to get up him for a walk, I think he thought I’d lost my mind.
 

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My primary reason at this time is that I don’t trust him to not potty in the house. I’m not totally certain of his training to this point in his life. He hasn’t made any mistakes, but I also haven’t really given him the opportunity.

In the long term I feel it’s a good thing to have in our repertoire for travel.
 

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Does Teddy still go out at 2:30am? Every night? Rather than letting him get too attached to that routine, I'd probably start pushing that time slowly towards morning: 2:45 for a few nights, then 3, then 3:15, etc. If he's in a deep sleep when your oldest opens the crate to take him out, use that as a sign he's probably ready for a half-hour jump (or more).

Peggy's final nighttime potty was shortly before sunrise. Not only did she seem more than ready to not be woken up at night anymore, we thought it would be rough for her to go back to sleep after a sunrise potty.

So then we began working on her wake-up time instead, using the same system to adjust it slowly later.

(I know a lot of people don't bother with such strict methods, but I have a chronic illness that makes sleep extremely precious to me. It was important that my expectations of Peggy's sleep routine be communicated to her kindly and clearly from day 1. I'm sure we'll hit some rocky patches as she reaches maturity, but I feel good about her foundation.)
Yes! I just spoke with daughter about this. Cause he’s changing his schedule a little cause he’s getting older. It’s on our to do list. Funny u say that cause we were just talking about that today. Sorry about your issue. I don’t sleep well not because of medical issues. But sleep makes or breaks a day and is precious I agree!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Another night loose with no mistakes! Took him out at 11:30, pee and poop. Empty tired poodle went to sleep in his bed in the hall, but moved between his bed and ours all night. Woke up to my alarm and an intense stare at 6.

I’m going to add this to my motivations for him sleeping in the crate. So that I can have a solid sleep! I’m a light sleeper, already wake up enough with my husband moving around, add a poodle to the mix and forget it.

Crate camp starts today. Going to put him in with with the door closed for increasing amounts of time when he’s ready for a nap and see where we get to.

He’s pretty content for the time being.
 

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