26 Mar How to assist new puppy #1 – with sleep time
I am conscious that I will scattered some common concepts about animal behaviour that you hear regularly everywhere…
Whatever you heard before, the optimal way to assist animals is first to understand the way they feel
I was visiting some dear friends the other day whom just adopted a gorgeous and adorable puppy of two months. As they are aware of my passion for animals, their emotions and behaviour, they were questioning me about what to do as this young cutie goes to bed at nights, sleeps well for 5 hours then woke up early morning around 4 am, crying a lot. As they notice, she wants to do her business then promptly switches to a strong desire to play.
As I love to look at the situation from the animal AND the human point of view, very very often my answer differs… 😉
Animals love routine. They are quick to establish a pattern and repeat it all the time. They tend to pick up really quickly how to act to get exactly what they want just by looking at us, feeling the emotions and our reactions to the situation.
Animals don’t do this consciously; it is merely a survival tool or instinctive but they are really good at this game and will beat us all the time. As long as we try to control them and ask them to obey…
The best way to live with them is to understand the way they feel, respect their experience and offer them a choice.
So.. how do you think this little puppy is feeling?
What is present for the animal
The puppy is exploring everything, things, rooms, situations including the behaviour learned from the mother.
The puppy is crying because it is alone, stressed and anxious after the move in a new home, without her mother and siblings. She is dealing with a new way of living. She does not understand yet the rules of the new home and feels a bit lost. Then, she is exploring everything, including the behaviour she learned from her mom.
This little female is dealing with a new kind of being called a kid. This weird small but two-legged human is behaving very differently: sometimes playing, being affectionate, running away or screaming loudly. There is time when this little human is also squeezing her with lots of affection but a bit too rough and can hurt. She is trying to understand how to communicate with this new partner. How to play, when to run away or to show affection back. So she explores and of course, at moments it can turn wild in the house…
The human point of view
The new family experiences love and joy, of course, but also a period of frustrations in the beginnings.
When this puppy came into the family, they promised themselves to love and cherish her and to take good care of her. They really want the best for this small creature they chose to welcome in their life. They do everything they can to make her feel good and happy in this new home.
But life is a great experience, right? So they dive into this one without even realizing it.
They chose to put her in the cage for the night as they were invited to. Selected to locate it in their bedroom close to them so it would be convenient to tend to her needs. Wishing to get her clean quickly, they keep her bedding area small so as she will not soil it. Gave her playtime, assist their kid in how to play, hug and behave with the puppy.
They tend to all her needs, food, water, love, fun, everything…
They actually did everything perfectly right by all standards!
So why does this situation turn uncomfortable after a few days???
Animals understand from their own experiences
When this little thing starts waking them up every morning at 4 am, they first go to her full of empathy and wishing to comfort her. Get her out of the cage to do her business. She goes then fully awake now, wish to play with the human. And OMG!, this is so much fun for her!
And how comforting for her to know that someone is coming as soon as she vocalizes! so why would she stop?
She can feel the frustration rising after a few days but do not understand the cause, thinking she just did something wrong but WHAT exactly??? So stress will get worse for her.
And depending on her feelings, she will cry louder and earlier or will stop and develop a serious case of separation anxiety, panic attack or another behaviour problem.
Sometimes, stress and repeated frustration will get the best of a lovely family
The feelings of frustration and lack of sleep start taking a toll on the profound joy they first fell and the situation will get worse every passing day. Tension gets higher in the house and sometimes stress and repeated frustration will get the best of this family and they will choose to give away this fury joyful friend. They only feel powerless and overwhelmed.
By trying to save the puppy from feeling alone but sure that in the morning they will be present for its needs, the puppy might start to develop separation anxiety which is a very important problem. Or the puppy will learn that crying will give her some attention.
I understand them so well as I was already in this kind of situation before myself. And saw both separation anxiety and crying for attention trouble develop in the puppy.
Would you really behave differently in their shoes?
When a new option presents itself
When faced with a difficult situation at home, I suggest taking the time to look at both points of view: the human AND the animal. Sometimes, just this clarification will be enough to see a new option unavailable before.
So we discuss the puppy’s feelings, her patterns (already starting to show off). We also discuss the feelings of the humans in the house. And we got through the options and possible outcomes of each.
It was clear that the puppy was feeling excited in the early morning and wanted to play. And the dad was starting to feel tired and frustrated by lack of sleep.
So the option was to get enough sleep time for the humans and be sure that the puppy can urinate without wanting to play. We chose to put a pee-pee pad in a small area of the cage so that she will be able to do her business alone without getting out if she really needs too.
Of course, it will take her a few days to adjust and we discussed some options to keep her calm and diminished the effect of the stress. They chose to use Bach flower essences which are some of my favorite tools for emotions.
Better Safe and Sleep Soundly!
When I was with my friends, I notice that this puppy likes to sit or rest in the entrance area. She uses this spot when need to relax. So I suggested transforming this area a little bit to fit the sleeping cage of the puppy in her favorite resting spot. This is perfectly located away from the bedrooms, so they can rest quiet and offers her a safe space where she will be able to play without causing any turmoils in the house.
It is good to add up a comfy cushion, hide under it a clock to mimic the mother’s heart and this will become a warm spot for this lovely puppy. If she already like this area, it will quickly become her own favorite place.
Being steady in our ways is very important to develop a routine. Always repeat the same step until the animal is confident of our ways.
My friends decided to move the cage after another short night and waited to see what happen (we will come back to it in another following article! ;))
Breathe first before acting or reacting
Whenever interacting with an animal, taking a short moment to breathe and relax before interacting, greatly increased the comfort of both you AND the animal. As animals are very sensitive to emotions, the calmer you are, the best they will react. The effect will be very quick and the animal will be more calm and receptive to your assistance.
You will say that this is not always easy to do! I know.
But If you do it, the effect will be worthwhile.
The HeartMath Institute uses tools on how to have easiness and fluidity in your life. Breathing is one of the best and most efficient tools to bring you to a state of calm which will assist in seeing the situation clearly. (www.hearthmath.org)
Loving an animal is not saving them from all the suffering
The animals are always communicating with us. They use their body, their voice and their behaviour to share with us what is happening inside.
In my point of view, it is really useful to look at the whole situation before any suggestion is voiced: how an animal is behaving, the emotions expressed, the family’s feelings and the environmental situation before suggesting changes.
These are the steps I suggest to take when facing a difficult situation with an animal :
- First, recognizing the feelings of each, human and animal.
- Being sure that everybody is safe in all situations.
- Pause and breathe before reacting is assisting at all times. It gives us access to the possibility of seeing with an open-angle.
- Get a good look at the situation from a distance and be open for a new and greater option which will present itself to assist the return of joy and relaxation. Loving an animal is not saving them from all the pain of life but letting them live their experiences and assist them through it.
Dre Madeleine Tremblay veterinarian
animal chiropractor, founder of SVM Animotion
co-founder of InfoVet.net
and co-founder of Essence de Bach.
Do you also experience difficult situations at home with your pet without finding a solution?
Do you pet have patterns that you do not appreciate?
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