It's inevitable: You bring home a new puppy and at some point he starts whining. It's only natural that Chachi misses his mother, brothers and sisters. They've been his whole world for his entire, short life. When your puppy starts whining when you put him in his crate and continues through the wee hours of the morning, you may second-guess the wisdom of adopting him and wonder how long the whining will last.
A Long Few Days
It can seem like Chachi will never get over the heartbreak of leaving his first pack. It's difficult to hear him whining, but it should only take a few days for a puppy to start feeling at home with you. The first night will be the most intense and gradually, during the next two or three days and nights, he'll get used to living with you. In "Dachshund: Your Happy Healthy Pet", Ann Gordon advised readers to reduce anxiety for their new pups by planning for at least one member of the family to be with the new baby at all times during the first three to four days.
During those first few days when Chachi is feeling particularly distraught, lavish him with attention. This not only will help ease his homesick feelings for his pack, but can help socialize him and help make potty training easier, according to Carlo DeVito and Amy Ammen in their book "The Everything Puppy Book." After the introduction phase, as your pup is starting to feel more at home, you can start to leave him alone. Begin with just short periods of time, and don't make an issue of leaving or coming back. Leave the radio or television on to keep him company while you're gone. Crate training is useful for helping make Chachi feel comfortable in his new home. Furnish your pup's crate with a soft, comfy blanket and some toys to make it a welcoming and calming place.
Importance of Independence
Helping your pup get past his whining and anxiety over being separated from his first family is vital for his long-term mental health. If you can teach him to be independent, his separation anxiety won't transfer to dependence and carry over into adulthood. Make sure he has a collection of interactive toys that he can play with by himself, such as chew toys and ones that you can hide a treat in. Crate him in a room separate from you, so that he doesn't see you but can hear your voice. These will give him opportunities to see that he will be OK alone.
Consistency is Critical
Consistency is the best strategy you can take to stop whining and make Chachi feel at home. Create a routine. Keep his food, water and crate in the same place. Feed him and take him out or to the piddle pad at the same time each day. Everyone in the family should be in on it, treating Chachi the same way. If you've decided that your puppy will sleep in his crate, but a soft-hearted member of the family lets him out and takes him to bed, the whining may not stop. The inconsistency will teach your pup that when he whines he'll be released from his crate.
By Elle Di Jensen
About the Author
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.