Personally I am not a big endorser of puppies being in the bedroom with their new owner on the first few nights as I think it gives off mixed messages and long term the puppy becomes too dependent. Somewhere along the line you may then have to change this if you are not having your dog in the bedroom for life.
This is just my personal view and I have never used the bedroom for puppies myself. I am very conscious of separation anxiety problems later on, so it worth seeing the early days through in allowing your puppy time to grow an independence in being able to settle on their own without you having to be there 24/7. Rescue puppies that have travelled from other countries may have experienced a gruelling journey. In these cases, I may look to have a different routine for the first couple of nights to offer reassurance to the puppy that there are no more huge changes about to happen. For other puppies that have had just the one move from the breeder to their home then this is the regime I have successfully used and many of my clients have adopted with great results.
Firstly a crate is good but I prefer to add an X pen to the crate either joined onto the open end of the crate so like a puppy run or dependent on how much room you have the crate inside the pen. X pens can be purchased of eBay and Amazon and you can make the gates up as you wish. I have attached an example picture below.
Ensure puppy has had some mental stimulation and company through the day as well as the advised amount of physical exercise for your puppy’s age.
Keep to a good routine every night, TV off, last wee, turn lights down and a bedtime biscuit or filled Kong
Keep your puppy calm before bedtime, an excited puppy will not be a tired puppy
A crate with a bed in and attached to an x pen, the crate door open and the x pen door closed.
Within the bed you can place a puppy safe heated pad to give comfort, purchased of the internet
A heartbeat noise can be left with your puppy. Toys can be purchased of the internet to use to help your puppy settle the first few nights. I think these are great!
Rolled up blankets or jumpers into sausage shapes so they mimic siblings
Newspaper as a toilet area one end of the area or puppy pads but sometimes these can get chewed or feel too much like carpet underfoot. I must prefer paper
A water bowl which is not close to the newspaper toilet area. Some bowls clip onto the crate to prevent your puppy knocking them over.
Give all meals in the pen for the first month and have a cue to go into the pen and close the pen door
To prevent the onset of separation anxiety I would use the pen for quiet nap times with a Kong in the day time and be around and about the home so your puppy can hear you are there but you are not interacting. If you have children or any visitors request that they do not to make a huge fuss of your puppy whilst in the calm, chill out area
To begin with at bed-time toilet your puppy and then supply a Kong with some treats in or a final biscuit, I say ‘Night’ quietly and leave the room. You may hear some cries, whines or barks. As long as all your puppy’ needs are being met, I would leave puppy for up to 30 minutes, if after that amount of time your puppy is still being noisy then I would go down to puppy and open the door a little and say ‘shush’ and shut the door (not actually entering the room) then leave again. You may have to repeat but I have found this the most effective way. This should then only take 1-3 nights and your puppy will be sleeping through for a few hours every night
In the morning do not make a big fuss when re-entering the room, calmly let your puppy out of the pen and take out to toilet. Bring your puppy back in and clear up any overnight mess and feed puppy breakfast back within the pen and then take your puppy out again for another toilet and play time.
In the daytime do not leave your young puppy for more than 2-3 hours in the pen at any one time. Ensure your puppy has plenty of interaction with you inside and outside the home when they are not resting. The pen is for sleeping, chilling out and learning some independence from you. If overused for long periods the pen will become an area of dislike and this in when anxiety starts to set in as your puppy is lonely.
There is a time when your puppy will become more toileting aware so he will not want to soil in the sleeping area. It depends on your puppy’ breed type but on average around 13-16 weeks of age. Be mindful of this time, as your puppy develops then the night-time whining and barking will mean they do need the toilet. As the weeks pass, gradually the early rise toileting will cease to a more respectable hour in the morning.
By this time you will have successfully trained your puppy to be okay with being left alone at night, so on hearing this early morning barking it is then fine to go down to your puppy, do not engage just let him out to toilet and then place him back in the pen again until the appropriate morning time. Within a few weeks your puppy’s physical development will catch up and the night-time toileting will cease.
A pen is invaluable as it is a safe place and becomes the relaxing area even when you are in the home and you are not encouraging your puppy to shadow you and be with you every minute of the day. If you need to go upstairs or you are starting to go out of the home for short spells your puppy is used to the area and knows it is somewhere safe and secure and your furniture remains intact.
Eventually the time will come when you may consider your puppy has come through the major chewing stage and you no longer require the surrounding pen. This can be broken down to widen the area to the room the pen was in, whether be a kitchen, lounge or utility area and then your puppy will just use the crate as his bedroom bed. Additional crate training may be required to get your puppy used to the door being closed or you may wish to the door open and cover the cover the crate with a blanket making a cosy den area.
With puppies it is not just the night-time situation to be aware of, you can work on this along with prevention of long-term separation anxiety which is far harder to deal with later on. I have experienced that for some puppies just the use of an enclosed crate straight away on those first few night can escalate anxiety as the over-night period is too long for. Anxiety sets in. Therefore, I advise to use the two pieces of equipment, a pen and a crate and then the crate can continue to be a positive place later in your dog’s life. If you are not using a crate, then a nice comfortable bed at one end of the pen is fine. The X-pen conditioned as a boundary area day or night is your puppy’s place to relax and feel safe and helps prevents your puppy shadowing which lessens the chances of separation anxiety developing