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Remy
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During the day my 4 month old mini is an absolute darling. He loves to play but calms down when playtime is over. But after about 9:00 pm he starts getting wild and when we put him in bed (he sleeps with us in our bed) he goes absolutely nuts, jumping around, biting us and manically scratching the covers. We have tried everything including giving him a small snack at bedtime, more exercise during the day, and a calm bedtime routine. Before going up to bed we always take him outside for a quick final pee, so we know that’s not the problem. We also bring his favorite pillow to bed for him to sleep on. Nothing seems to help. Any suggestion?
 

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Although I am a softie and start by sleeping on the couch with my puppies, I usually make them spend at least part of their puppyhood sleeping in a crate at night.
1) An overtired puppy has trouble settling down enough to go to sleep. A crate is less stimulating than the entire bedroom and helps get the puppy to settle.
2) Dogs are happier and more confident when they know the rules of their household. One important rule is that we all settle down and go to sleep at night. The crate ensures we are all following this rule.
3) Sleeping on the bed is a privilege, not a right. They earn this honor as they grow up and become Good Dogs. It's always kind of fun the first few nights when a pup is finally old enough to sleep outside the crate. They tiptoe around, hoping to stay under the radar as we get ready for bed: "I'm just bunking down with the rest of the gang, don't mind me." They are thrilled when they think they've pulled off this con, lol. I don't normally subscribe to the alpha dog training theory. However, I do think dogs need rules (See #2.) Breaking the rules triggers consequences. Poodles are sociable enough that losing bed privileges is definitely a consequence they pay attention to.

I expect, if your pup has never been in a crate before, the first few nights might be pretty noisy and stressful. There is lots of information on how to crate train a dog available elsewhere. I would keep the crate in the bedroom, so the pup doesn't feel isolated.
 

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Someone recommended this to me on the forums a while back and it's been a game changer to help puppy settle down --

Situation: It's 9:40pm and Basil starts whining and whimpering when we're clearly ready for bed.
Reaction: Me - "Wha... What are you doing??? Why are you so cranky???????? Go to beddd."
Checklist: Bathroom before bed (9:15pm) [x], water in bowl [x], just had a snack [x]
Solution: Pick up all the toys and anything considered fun off the ground. Put them out of sight like a corner on the kitchen counter.

The message to puppy is that there's nothing fun at my disposal, so I guess i'll just lay here and nod off.
 

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Great advice. One thing I’ll add is to be cautious of believing you’ve tried everything. Many routines take a few weeks to establish (especially bedtime routines) and your puppy has only been with you for 8 weeks or so. Consistency is absolutely key at that age, so if you’ve been hopping between different bedtime routines, you’ve not really given any of them enough time to stick.

The other thing that jumps out at me is that your puppy is probably staying up too late. That right there is a good reason for him to have a sleep space that’s wholly his, so he can go to bed before you do. After one last zoomies session, we would often put Peggy in her indoor exercise pen for a nap before bedtime, while we watched TV and did quiet evening things. Then it was out for a last pee before bedtime for real.

What I can almost guarantee your puppy doesn’t need is more exercise during the day, but if you’d like to share a typical schedule with us, we can always take a look and make suggestions. Your puppy should still be sleeping about 18-20 hours per day. And like I always say: You don’t take a cranky toddler jogging! You put him to bed. :)
 

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If you have human children of your own or have helped a lot with nieces or nephews than you know things work best when infants and toddlers have schedules that are maintained well with few exceptions. cowpony outlined a good set of rules for baby dogs. Follow along and although there may be complaining at first, once the schedule is learned well enough to be a habit you will all sleep very well.

Curiously I find that dogs are much like peopple in either being early risers or night owls. We have one of each and with Javelin a go with the flow type. Even at 12 years old the only way to convince Lily to settle and close her eyes to sleep is to turn off all lamps (TV is okay) and for Peeves even if for some reason he doesn't settle until 10:00 or later (earlier being his preference) his internal clock always says he should get up to go out is at sometime between 5 and 6 AM.
 

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Catherine, if Peeves did that at my house, I'd remind him what the dog door was for! Of course, most people do not have to luxury of a door into a graveled dog yard!

Reading about Peeves makes me wish I had a German Shepherd again. My first two dogs were a toy poodle and a German Shepherd - that was in Scotland 55 years ago! While we lived in Scotland I subscribed to the "Dog News" weekly paper. I found an ad for German Shepherd puppies whose dam was British breeding and whose sire was German. We drove from Scotland to the south coast of Wales to buy a puppy. On the way back to Scotland my son, who was 4 or 5 at the time, said "can I play with Sheilagh when we get home?". So that's how she got her name, and she was essentially his dog from then until the two of them were killed in an accident. We buried her beside him.
 

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Remy
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Discussion Starter #7
Great advice. One thing I’ll add is to be cautious of believing you’ve tried everything. Many routines take a few weeks to establish (especially bedtime routines) and your puppy has only been with you for 8 weeks or so. Consistency is absolutely key at that age, so if you’ve been hopping between different bedtime routines, you’ve not really given any of them enough time to stick.

The other thing that jumps out at me is that your puppy is probably staying up too late. That right there is a good reason for him to have a sleep space that’s wholly his, so he can go to bed before you do. After one last zoomies session, we would often put Peggy in her indoor exercise pen for a nap before bedtime, while we watched TV and did quiet evening things. Then it was out for a last pee before bedtime for real.

What I can almost guarantee your puppy doesn’t need is more exercise during the day, but if you’d like to share a typical schedule with us, we can always take a look and make suggestions. Your puppy should still be sleeping about 18-20 hours per day. And like I always say: You don’t take a cranky toddler jogging! You put him to bed. :)
Thank you for all the great advice - you've given me a lot to think about! I think I'll stick with our quiet routine after 9:00 pm with a final pee and family bedtime at 10:00 pm. I just started this so you are right, I need to give it a chance to work. While I like the idea of a crate, my husband won't agree with letting him "cry it out" for a few nights until he gets used to sleeping there. Right now, he is still getting used to his crate and only spends about an hour a day there while I work out.

PeggyTheParti, your dog is just gorgeous. He looks so much like my standard who died about a year ago at 13. A standard parti is a beautiful sight.
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Remy
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Although I am a softie and start by sleeping on the couch with my puppies, I usually make them spend at least part of their puppyhood sleeping in a crate at night.
1) An overtired puppy has trouble settling down enough to go to sleep. A crate is less stimulating than the entire bedroom and helps get the puppy to settle.
2) Dogs are happier and more confident when they know the rules of their household. One important rule is that we all settle down and go to sleep at night. The crate ensures we are all following this rule.
3) Sleeping on the bed is a privilege, not a right. They earn this honor as they grow up and become Good Dogs. It's always kind of fun the first few nights when a pup is finally old enough to sleep outside the crate. They tiptoe around, hoping to stay under the radar as we get ready for bed: "I'm just bunking down with the rest of the gang, don't mind me." They are thrilled when they think they've pulled off this con, lol. I don't normally subscribe to the alpha dog training theory. However, I do think dogs need rules (See #2.) Breaking the rules triggers consequences. Poodles are sociable enough that losing bed privileges is definitely a consequence they pay attention to.

I expect, if your pup has never been in a crate before, the first few nights might be pretty noisy and stressful. There is lots of information on how to crate train a dog available elsewhere. I would keep the crate in the bedroom, so the pup doesn't feel isolated.
Thank you for all the good advice. I finally put my foot down - with my husband. I insisted that Remy needed to sleep in his crate at night. The first night Remy was vocal all night long and no one got any sleep. The second night not a sound. Remy is still fighting me about going into the crate at night, but once I lock the crate door, he settles down and is completely quiet until morning. You are 100% right - puppies need to sleep in a crate at night.
 

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I’m glad everyone’s getting sleep now, but what do you mean by fighting you? I hope you don’t mean physically.

It’s really important your dog enters the crate willingly. Forcing him in may eventually backfire in a spectacular way.
 

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I’m glad everyone’s getting sleep now, but what do you mean by fighting you? I hope you don’t mean physically.

It’s really important your dog enters the crate willingly. Forcing him in may eventually backfire in a spectacular way.
He will not willingly enter his crate. In the morning when I put him in for my 1 hour workout he is more accepting though he did put up a fight in the beginning. I have tried putting in treats and toys. He's figured out that by really stretching, he can get them out without putting his back paws in the crate. He won't go in unless I push him in. I've tried picking him up when he's sleeping and moving him about 2 feet to put him in the crate but he won't go in.

His crate is spotlessly clean with his favorite little bed and a toy. If I take the bed out of the crate, he'll curl up on it, but if it's in the crate with the door open, he'll sleep on the floor outside the crate. His crate is in my office (next to my bedroom) near my desk. The room is very quiet and he's used to it since we spend a lot of time there. I leave the crate door open except at night and when I work out.

My last standard boy walked into his crate without a problem from day one, though he refused to stay in the crate if we were in the same room.

I've looked at a variety of articles about crate training a puppy. Not sure what to try next. Any suggestions?
 

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Hmmm... Maybe it’s worth starting from scratch? And practise during the day when you have the time and patience, and when he can ultimately just be released rather than confined.

Even though Remy is still a puppy, this advice from Ian Dunbar applies:

“If someone has taught an adult dog to have apprehensions about the crate, it will probably take at least a few days to overcome them. The process here will be a little different; he’ll need additional time to get over his anxiety that he will be locked and trapped in the crate. While you are trying to convince him of this, don’t lock and trap him in the crate!”


I still do this with Peggy occasionally, just asking for her to hop in, treat, wait, and then release.

Here’s a good video:


Since Remy is suspicious of treats in the crate (smart boy), I’d say it’s time to reverse your approach—reward once he’s in rather than trying to lure him in with treats. I also think that if he can reach the treats from outside the crate, the crate might be too small for him to really stretch out in there and fully relax.

I know it’s tempting to compare our current dogs to past dogs—I do it all the time—but it’s very possible that your last poodle had a reason to trust the crate from day 1. Or that Remy came to you already suspicious of confinement. Pushing him in is only reinforcing his wariness and he’s likely to start pushing back as he matures.

Since he likes laying outside the crate, another option is to place the crate inside an exercise pen, and use the exercise pen for confinement during the day as Dr. Dunbar recommends. Peggy’s the first puppy I’ve raised with a pen and I’ll never go back! So helpful.
 

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Crate Games are the most common suggestion for getting dogs happy and comfortable with their crates. Basically a series of exercises that builds time and duration, and keeps the dog from darting out of the crate like a rocket the moment you open the door. I have done a bit with my standard to build confidence in her crate, and intend to crate train using crate games for my next dog.


 

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Remy
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Hmmm... Maybe it’s worth starting from scratch? And practise during the day when you have the time and patience, and when he can ultimately just be released rather than confined.

Even though Remy is still a puppy, this advice from Ian Dunbar applies:

“If someone has taught an adult dog to have apprehensions about the crate, it will probably take at least a few days to overcome them. The process here will be a little different; he’ll need additional time to get over his anxiety that he will be locked and trapped in the crate. While you are trying to convince him of this, don’t lock and trap him in the crate!”


I still do this with Peggy occasionally, just asking for her to hop in, treat, wait, and then release.

Here’s a good video:


Since Remy is suspicious of treats in the crate (smart boy), I’d say it’s time to reverse your approach—reward once he’s in rather than trying to lure him in with treats. I also think that if he can reach the treats from outside the crate, the crate might be too small for him to really stretch out in there and fully relax.

I know it’s tempting to compare our current dogs to past dogs—I do it all the time—but it’s very possible that your last poodle had a reason to trust the crate from day 1. Or that Remy came to you already suspicious of confinement. Pushing him in is only reinforcing his wariness and he’s likely to start pushing back as he matures.

Since he likes laying outside the crate, another option is to place the crate inside an exercise pen, and use the exercise pen for confinement during the day as Dr. Dunbar recommends. Peggy’s the first puppy I’ve raised with a pen and I’ll never go back! So helpful.
Clearly I have a lot of work to do! Last night I put him in the crate without a problem but I want him to walk in on his own. He may be traumatized from the 9 hour drive home from the breeder, so “starting over” sounds like the right thing to do. I’ll also look into an xpen, but I really want him used to the crate so we can take him on road trips once the world opens up.

His crate is a size medium as recommended by the breeder. I bought the exact crate that the breeder uses for Remy’s parents. Remy’s stretching antics are truly remarkable, using his entire body and extra long poodle snout!

Thanks for all your help! I’ll let you know how it goes.
 

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I watched the videos posted above and started training. Look at what just happened! He went in his crate all by himself. It only lasted a few minutes, but I feel like we turned a corner. Many thanks for the good advice!!
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