It all started off so well. English Springer puppy Fern would sleep in the spare room at night time.

She settled well and was taken out once in the night to toilet.

Fern is now 15 weeks old. Over the past couple of weeks she has demanded to go out several times in the night.

They assumed toilet is what she wanted. Anyway, they carried her down. After a couple of weeks of this, they are becoming sleep deprived and tired.

They did leave her crying once. She howled. It was traumatic for puppy and for themselves. Never again.

The problem now has developed to Fern howling in her spare bedroom and scratching at the door.


My first question to them was, why, when their other dog (older Springer Florence) slept in the next bedroom on their bed, was Flora shut alone in the spare room.

The reply was interesting. They felt it would discourage separation problems, that it would get her used to being alone. It was wasn’t because they didn’t want her with them, but because they felt it was the ‘right thing’.

I fear it is would be making anxiety at being alone worse, not better. With her sensitive ears she can hear them next door – and hear Florence also.

When they do have to leave her alone to go out, it won’t be during the night.

My second question was, if they had no worries about separation issues, where would they like her to sleep?

To sleep on their bed with Florence!

So that is what they will now do.

They will work hard on ensuring Fern is independent during the daytime. They work from home, so the first step is to get a gate so she is near, can see them, but can’t actually get to them.

They will build her confidence on being left from there. During the daytime.

Already they walk the dogs separately, so being parted from Florence during the day isn’t an issue. I suspect it has only become an issue at night.

Letting her sleep on their bed with Florence was a slight gamble. Would they get a good nights sleep? Would Florence object? Would she fall off the bed?

The next morning

Well, here is a message I received this morning (we had our online session yesterday):

Fern slept on our bed hardly moved until 6.00am when Florence decided it was time to get up 🙂 She wasn’t up in the night and went to toilet then. Big thank you we’re really happy with her and your advice and hoping she’ll continue to settle with the training‘.

No toilet trips at all in the night? Just sleep! It wasn’t a pee she needed – it was company.

I believe that company when she needs it makes a puppy secure. A secure puppy will handle being left alone a whole lot better than an insecure puppy.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help