Dogs have been selectively bred for thousands of years to be sociable around humans, we have created a species that can look to humans for safety and security. In the wild, more than 60% of dogs choose to stay in their family unit, the desire and the need, to feel security from their family units is undeniable.
It has been noted that in the wild, pups all sleep together for a minimum of 5 months of age, lying on, or at least touching another family member for comfort and safety.
Social sleeping is a necessity for facilitating feeling safe and protected, thus getting good quality sleep.
So now let's look at what happens when we remove our pups (and rescue dogs) from their current life. They often lose everything they have known, for puppies, they lose their mother and siblings, their home, the humans they have learnt to trust, the familiar smells, sounds and sights, it must be so scary! We know we want to love and protect them, but they have no idea of this, for many dogs it is not uncommon to go to households where they are the only dog there, or maybe a resident dog that currently may not be too happy about this new bundles arrival, it can be such a worrying time for our newborn canines. Imagine how scary all this must be, however, this is usually just the tip of the iceberg, night time has yet to come!! Now, remember the sentence above, DOG ARE SOCIAL SLEEPERS, but yet we as humans believe it is best to start as we mean to go on with our new arrivals, and often these scared little bundles are left alone, often in the dark, often contained in crates, and often the crying begins, personally I not at all surprised when looking at it from this infants point of view.
The old and outdated information about leaving them to cry it out is sadly still in circulation, despite science-backed evidence now showing the HUGE longterm mental damage, this can have on the brain.
Separation issues, isolation issues and confinement issues, to name but a few, have been linked to the huge amount of stress it causes when leaving a puppy or dog to cry out it.
Some people will have you believe that comforting a crying/scared dog will reinforce their behaviour, please may I politely request you ignore this advice. Being scared is an emotion, not a choice, you can't reinforce fear, and I find it upsetting that such misinformed advice is still dished out by so many 'professionals' who work with canines. One of our most important responsibilities as a canine caregiver is to provide safety, we must be prepared to change our lifestyles to accommodate our dog's needs, we cannot simply expect them to constantly do all the adapting.
I have always taken my puppies up to bed with me, I have offered them safety and in return, they have normally slept like little logs throughout the night.
As adults, my dogs can go wherever they so wish at night but they choose to stay downstairs on the comfy warm sofa. My choice to provide them with safety as puppies has led to them feeling safe and comfortable enough at night to stay where they are snuggled.
Of course, you can choose to stay downstairs with them for however long it takes for them to feel safe but for the love of dog, don't let them cry!
If you have a dog that struggles with you leaving them, I would suggest you seek the help of a reputable Trainer or Behaviourist to help support you and your new addition, a reputable and qualified dog professional will not advise you to let them cry it out!