My puppies cry
(Pembroke Pines, FL)
My cry babies
I recently rescued 2 8 week old labs. When it is time to go to bed at night they cry like crazy and I am right there.
Last night I set them up right next to me in the bedroom and everytime they cried I would reach down and just hold them and they would still cry until I got on the floor and laid with them why are they doing this?
I am not using a crate because the conditions they were in before me where terrible and it was a crate that they were in and I don't want to associate me with their life before me.
Bless you for rescuing these adorable babies, they're very, very lucky!
Puppies do cry at night, especially for the first few nights in a new environment, it's natural because they're scared, lonely, homesick and so on. Your two are luckier than most, because they have each other for comfort and security. I think they want you right next to them because they've had a difficult time in their short lives, and they're already associating you with safety and love.
This is both good and bad! It's understandable that you don't want to give them any more challenges to deal with, and that you're trying to surround them with love and comfort. However, puppies (even tiny ones) are very smart, and they learn through repetition and association. Whatever you do now, make sure it's something you're going to be happy doing every day/night for the next 12 + years, because once a puppy learns to expect something, it's needs a lot of time and patience to re-train their expectations!
I'm so sorry your babies had a horrible start in life, and I can totally understand the situation they may have been in and why you want to avoid the crate. However, crate training really is the best and simplest method of house breaking a puppy, and because dogs are naturally den animals, their crates often become their sanctuary, their favorite and safe place to be.
Your pups probably need to be together for a bit longer, just until they feel secure and at home with you. So, I would suggest something that I normally wouldn't recommend, and that's to crate them together for a little while. You'll still need a pretty small crate as you don't want them to use it as a bedroom and toilet.
If you give them a couple of special chew-toys and an old piece of your clothing (your scent will make them feel more secure), they will come to accept the crate and feel safe in it. My Crate Training page will give you lots of tips and advice on using a crate. I think it will help you.
Whether crated or not, they will cry at night, and generally it's best to just ignore the crying, otherwise they will come to expect your attention when they cry, and will become very demanding.
As long as you're giving them plenty of love and attention during their waking hours, don't be worried that they will think you don't care or don't love them. Raising puppies is like raising children, they need lots of love and approval, but also discipline and guidelines in order to feel loved and secure. Your puppies need to know that you're in charge, and that you make the rules that you expect them to obey. They want to please you and once they know what you expect, they will do their best to comply!
That's how it works in the wild, and that's what dogs are hardwired to expect. If a pup doesn't feel it has a competent 'leader' it will try to take on that role itself, and often feel insecure which can lead to behavior problems.
There's always a lot to learn when you get a new puppy, and so much to remember! I wish you the best of luck with these little babies, I'm sure you're all going to be one big, happy family. If you have any more questions, or run into difficulties, feel free to ask anything you need to know. I'm more than happy to help. You may also find my New Puppy Care page helpful, as it covers all the basics you need when you're taking care of a new pup.