After several days of feeling like a zombie from sleep deprivation, I did some internet mining and came up with a few possible ways to put my puppy to sleep and to get her to sleep through the night. Up until then, she was waking me up between every 45 minutes to an hour with a blood-curdling noise that sounded like someone was strangling her. I'm guessing that's because she hasn't really gotten her bark yet. A woman can only take sleep deprivation for so long before desperate times call for desperate measures.
So, here is the magical formula that I have hit upon for getting my 9-week-old puppy to sleep through the night:
1. I put a battery-operated clock that ticks into her kennel. Her kennel is a metal grate one that expands to fit her size as she grows. Right now it is set pretty small, so I just put the clock on the other side of the divider so that she can't get to it to chew it up. I remember we did this when I was a child and we had a new puppy. I guess it's supposed to simulate the beating of the mother's heart.
2. I placed one of my workout t-shirts into the kennel. It was dirty, of course, so it smelled like me. I chose a t-shirt that I didn't really care about just in case she decided to use it as a chew toy. For her, the smell of my sweaty pits is apparently comforting. Peee-ewww.
3. I covered the entire kennel with a bed sheet - kind of like one would do to a bird cage. That keeps it warm in there, out of the sight of kitties and keeps her from being distracted by me. If she can't see me, she doesn't insist on being with me.
4. Most importantly, I make sure she is good and exhausted. We play with a ball and she chases her tug as I swirl it around my legs, we take a long walk and occasionally go to have a little play date with the dogs that live on either side of me. She LOVES to play with the little terrier that lives next door.
The verdict: Before these night time rituals were put into place, there was about 20 minutes of barking, howling, etc before she would settle down. She would wake up and start howling about 6 times throughout the night and if I got up to go to the bathroom, that really set her off. The first nightof this experiment, there was about 10 minutes of howling in the beginning, but she slept (or was at least quiet) for a glorious 6 hours! It felt like a lifetime to me. Night #2, there was about 5 minutes of ruckus at the beginning, but 7 hours of sleep. Finally, the last two mornings, I have had to wake her up. On Saturday morning, I actually got up and checked to make sure she was still alive at about 8 AM. She was and we both went back to sleep for a bit. YEAH!
Now I have a new problem: The litter box has become a veritable magnet for her. She loves to dig in there and grab out little...um...goodies. EW! I don't get it. When she gets bigger, I can put up a gate that the cats can get through, but she can't. For now, does anyone have any solutions for this dilemna? How can I teach her that despite its allure, the kitty box is off limits?