We got a new puppy! The first evening with a new puppy is a lot like having an infant. They cry and cry and cry. I have tried several different sleeping arrangements with past puppies, but that first night is always full of howls and yelps.
When we got our little Hiro, I was exhausted that first night. After getting up multiple times to let him outside, to snuggle, to feed him, I decided he was just going to have to cry-it-out. That’s right, this hypocritical blogger was resorting to methods found damaging to infants. Oh what would they do to my puppy?
I tried Ferber’s techniques. I timed each session between getting up to give the puppy attention. I gave up. I couldn’t do it. My puppy was scared, alone, in distress. He was crying for the same reason our babies cry. He needed something, and that something was my love and attention.
My puppy experience reminds me of why parents do resort to the cry-it-out method. It is the mental state we get to when we encounter exhaustion and frustration. We don’t know what else to do…but just like with babies, my puppy taught me the right way to ease his suffering and ultimately get more rest and peace.
We got through that first night. I learned to take him outside, let him go potty, and make sure he had food and water to ensure his cries were not for want of basic needs. Then, I laid him down in his dog bed and stroked his fur until he fell asleep. We only had to do this two times. The rest of the night was quiet and restful, as have been the nights that followed.
When we lay the groundwork of attachment parenting, whether with our children or our pets, it may take extra effort or energy on our part initially, but the lasting effects are worth it.