Sleeping through the night 12 week old Border Collie bitch
Our collie puppy wakes twice during the night and bark, whines and cries for up to 2 hours at a time. We have her in a comfy large cage with water, chew toy and soft bed. She sleeps in a warm kitchen with our other dog, Italian greyhound (he howls when she barks)Our house is small, we have 2 teenage children and have had our puppy for 3 weeks. We have no outside, undercover space to put the cage at night.
Her evening routine is a nap until no later than 8.30pm, then an outside walk (we live in the country) followed by a short play then calm her down for an hour. She is ready to sleep by 10.30pm when we are. Her bed and cage are never used as punishment and she goes in willingly. Hot water bottle and clean bedding every night as she also wees each night in her bed although she has plenty of newspaper (which she shreds).
We are VERY tired (and so is the puppy in the morning.
How long will this go on for and is there anything we should be doing that we are not to get through this torture stage of sleep derivation? I am worried about our children who are at a crucial stage of their education and need their sleep.
It's normal for a puppy to cry/whine at night when crated. Often the pup needs a potty break, but sometimes it may be that they're lonely and bored and just want attention.
To cry every night for 3 weeks is a bit unusual though, it indicates she has a strong personality and is fairly stubborn - these are actually good traits, just not great when she applies them in this way :o)
Although you've tried very hard to make her comfortable at night, she's too young to appreciate all the 'goodies' she has in her crate and you're making some fundamental mistakes that are actually making the problem worse.
Crate training relies upon the pups natural instinct not to mess where it sleeps, but this only works if the crate is only big enough for her to sleep in. It should be just big enough for her to stand up, sit down, turn around and lie down without touching the sides, no bigger. Right now she has a crate that is big enough for her to designate a 'sleeping area' and a 'toilet area', that is not going to work. She can have a safe, sturdy toy in there but nothing else. No bed, no paper, no water.
She shouldn't have access to water after about 7:30 - 8pm, this means she won't have a frequent urge to pee once she goes to bed. As long as she has free access to fresh water all day this won't hurt her. Also, do make sure that the last thing she does before going into her crate for the night is to pee outside.
I'm afraid you're going to need to sacrifice a few more night's sleep to get her 'on track', but once you've got this under control she should settle down fairly quickly. I'd recommend following these guidelines....
If she wakes up and starts to whine or cry a couple of hours after she's gone to bed, give her the benefit of the doubt and take her outside to eliminate. It may seem a nuisance, but you don't want her to pee in her crate as that will be very detrimental to her housebreaking. Take her outside, give her time to pee/poop and then take her back inside and put her in her crate. This isn't playtime and there should be minimal interaction between you. If she wakes again later, repeat this procedure.
It doesn't matter if she cries, whines, howls, whatever, once she's been outside and is put back in her crate. Just ignore her. Don't talk to her, call to her, even scold her - as far as she's concerned that's attention, and that's what she wants. Ignore her, she will go back to sleep and if you're consistent with this she'll soon learn that night time breaks are no fun and not worth waking up for.
Border Collies are extremely intelligent and learn quickly, so if you follow these guidelines consistently she will be sleeping through the night fairly soon. Usually by around 4 months old a pup doesn't need a night-time potty break, but they're all individuals and some give them up sooner, others later.
Raising a puppy is like raising a child, and I'm sure you remember how trying those first weeks are with a new baby. However, they do pass, and so will this. Just hang in there!
I'd recommend that you read my Crate Training page for all the information, tips and advice you need to work this out. Best of luck!