16 week old puppy won't sleep at night
We've been following along on the forum for quite a while, having done loads of research in the year leading up to getting our puppy, and since we brought him home age 10 weeks on April 29. He's gorgeous, loads of fun, very affectionate and brings us a lot of joy, but we're really battling with nighttime sleeping and don't know what to do anymore.
We read everything we could about crate training in advance and we were (we thought) prepared for the worst, but he's now been with us for six weeks and we seem to have made no progress at all.
Initially, we had him in the crate in our bedroom, where he was fairly settled - up and down a few times but no worse than we expected. After a week, we moved the crate to the kitchen, and it's been a disaster ever since. We were prepared for three or four nights of barking/howling, but as it carried on (and on) we had to make concessions to the neighbours - we live in a terrace and both sides have small children. We spoke to the breeder and a few other folk who suggested going in, settling him down, putting him back in the crate and walking away. We did this, and it worked initially, but then seemed to create a bigger monster - he was soon barking and howling every hour or two and refused to settle for at least 45 minutes every time (very tired dog parents). We relented and tried him in the bedroom again with no luck - he did exactly the same thing, every hour or two, all night long. Whenever we went to calm him down, he'd jump all over us, desperate for cuddles and attention.
After a few tearful chats with the breeder, friends with Vs, our gundog trainer and a behaviorist, we decided the best course of action was tough love, so we went to stay at a friend's (vacant) cottage where he could be in his crate downstairs and we could sleep in the loft upstairs. We added a crate cover, which he seems fine with (before he wakes up barking, at least). Everyone said to give it three or four nights and he'd soon learn that barking doesn't equal attention and settle down. We stayed for four, and because we couldn't hear him, his crate was unsoiled and he seemed more willing to go in there during the days and hang out/nap, we thought we might have had some success.
No such luck. We then came down to our holiday cottage on the coast (he has been here before) - after 7 nights, we're still here and officially losing our minds. We had one or two nights where he woke up, barked for 15-20 minutes then went back to sleep (so again, we thought success - he's self-settling and will keep improving) but the last handful of nights, he's been willingly going into the crate at 10.30pm, curling up and going to sleep, then waking up at midnight and hysterically barking for hours and hours solid. How he doesn't pass out from the relentless barking is beyond me - he barely takes a breath and can go for three hours at a time (usually this is our limit - despite trying to be strong, we've ended up getting up again and trying to settle him).
We knew crate training would require effort and a sleepless week or two, but six weeks seems insane. What are we doing wrong? He seems to love the crate otherwise - he happily has chews in there, he goes in there for naps, and he'll even take himself off to bed in there (only to wake up an hour later going nuts). He has loads of physical and mental stimulation (puppy school once a week, gundog training once a week, games/brain training daily, romps around the beach/fields off lead, playtime with other dogs - the only thing we're restrictive on is too many on-lead pavement walks, as we're conscious of growing bones/joints). He gets plenty of interaction and attention. I work from home almost all the time (at most I am in the office two days a week once or twice a month) and my husband is home based as well. We've practiced leaving him for short spells at home alone in the crate every day (with mixed results) to help build up his tolerance. We'd try the crate back in the bedroom, but it made no difference last time. We'd try a bed in the bedroom, but we're concerned he'll roam and just try and get onto our bed all night (the sofas are fine, but our bed is strictly off limits). We just feel completely hopeless and lost. We're exhausted, work is suffering and being this tired makes the normal puppy stuff (sharkies, etc) so much harder to deal with.
Apologies for the long winded post - has anyone had experiences with Vs that just won't settle at night? Anything else we could try?
Thanks so much.