Why has my puppy suddenly started crying at night?
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It’s a question that countless dog owners and new puppy dog owners encounter regularly. It can be easily explained as the new dog is frightened or scared of being alone for the first time in their lives.
Puppies are like babies and they miss their real mum and after being with them for a few weeks they suddenly find themselves living in a home with a new human family, namely you, then all of a sudden this is a huge shift for them.
They deal with it really well to be fair and they play with you and go for walks and want to be near you all the time and then all of a sudden, it’s night time and you go to bed.
Leaving them all alone, likely in a room, possibly in a crate and the fun and interaction with you have abruptly stopped.
Until the next day of course…but you wonderful new bundle of fur doesn’t know that yet, let alone understand that you will be coming back in a few hours, so they get scared, they get worried and they whine.
Whining like this is like a baby crying and if you have ever experienced that you know how hard it can be on your ears!
That said, we should think about the puppy in all of this. They are scared and worried and this is where behaviors we don’t want to see in our dogs sometimes find their origin.
You see, dogs don’t intuitively understand our schedules. And if you’ve got a new dog, there’s a really good chance that they’re really thrown off by their new circumstances and surroundings. This can cause anxiety, which can cause many dogs to feel uneasy and cry or whine.
This adjustment period is the single biggest reason that dogs cry at night and when babies cry, we ask ourselves have all their needs been met and then we act accordingly.
This is basically what we should do with our dogs to remember that if you’ve got a young puppy, you’re actually not even entitled to be able to sleep all the way through the night.
I mean, you should still be taking them outside to do their business a couple of times in the middle of the night.
That may well have surprised a few of you but it is reality. Puppies have small bladders and they need to pee a lot.
Getting into a routine with them from the start is the best way and if you stick to it, eventually it will all click into place.
Should I leave my puppy to cry at night?
To be honest, I would never advise this for a couple of reasons. Dogs can whine for ages and ages and they simply won’t give up and all that will happen is you will get more stressed and tired and if you have neighbors they will certainly let you know about it.
If you are absolutely certain you want your dog to be in a separate area of the home at night like a kitchen or utility room, then getting a decent-sized crate for them may well be a good idea.
Does putting a blanket over a dog crate help?
It can do. It can make it cozier for the dog and also reduce stimulation but we have to stop them crying firstly or they simply won’t like being in that crate.
Ideally, a nice crate with some soft blankets, an old t-shirt of yours for the purposes of scent, and some safe chew toys will make your new pup feel somewhat reassured, but it won’t completely solve your problem. They are still missing YOU!
Should I ignore puppy whining in the crate?
Again, it’s not advisable so we need to be asking deeper questions and also finding ways to reduce this anxiety.
How long does it take for a puppy to stop crying at night?
The key here is what you are doing with your dog during the day. These are the times when you should be training and exercising your new little guy to the point where they will be actually looking forward to resting at night.
And make sure to get them some exercise just before putting them to bed to discourage excessive napping throughout the day as well.
A good long walk should do the trick. But for older higher energy dogs, you should be working on teaching them a polished game of fetch every opportunity you get, which can take many weeks of training, working on obedience and other training is a great way to mentally challenge your dog.
And this can help them sleep through the night to you know the feeling when you’ve been studying or learning things all day and you just feel totally tired out.
That’s what we’re going for here.
And when you do put them to bed consider giving them a safe chew toy so that they have something to do and are less likely to be bored.
Can a puppy cry itself to sleep?
They can do, but it is unlikely and if anything they will still be going to sleep scared and anxious and this will have a bearing on any future training that you do with your dog.
It’s all about building a bond and building trust.
How can you do this if your new dog feels like you are abandoning them every night?
Moving on from the early days of having your puppy, they are obviously going to grow and their behavior changes too.
If you have followed the format above then hopefully you will be over the worst of it all, but we are not out of the woods just yet!
Sorry about that!
Once your dog is about three to four months old, they ought to be physically able to make it through the entire night.
Over time, you’ll learn the difference between all of your dog’s different whines and cries one of them might mean hey, I’ve got to be taken outside right now, while another one could mean I’m hungry, it’s dinner time.
And then there’s the classic. I’m so bored and I’m going to wine.
The boredom wine is actually pretty common, but it’s pretty easy to overcome in most cases for immediate relief, give them lots of age-appropriate physical and mental exercise throughout the day.
Some dogs, my own included love being with you all the time and although sometimes it can’t be hugely practical, in the case of the early days of a puppy it can be hugely beneficial.
So consider something like a puppy playpen or a crate or a big soft dog bed near your bed so that your dog can feel more comfortable and closer to you as they go through this adjustment period.
I have done this with all my dogs and it has worked as I love having them near me so it’s a win-win.
I have made special areas in my home for my dog to be able to chill out with me at night and they can then choose either their lounge area or the dog bed area that I have made for them and more often than not, this has actually made them choose their own area instead!
I keep my bedroom door open so that my boy Wilson can wander in anytime to check that I am still sleeping….and he does as well!
We are all different and some people don’t or won’t want their dogs in their bedrooms. I get that and fully understand it.
You need to find your own way…it really is a system that you will need to adapt to your own unique experience and relationship.
This may not be a very quick process, so you need to be prepared to be very patient and tolerant as you work through this period.
But don’t worry, it’s all going to be worth it.
Here are a few recap tips to follow that you can tweak around with
Step one, give them a good timeout.
Give your puppy alone time during the day, not just that bedtime, try putting her in her own space with a pen or a crate, and give her a fun chew toy.
This actually helps with their confidence and it gets them used to not seeing you for a short burst of time.
Try it at 5 or 10-minute intervals during the day and gradually build it up over time.
This is a long haul approach so try 5 minutes a couple of times a day for a few days and then the following week try 10 minutes and so on. Building trust like this is actually really good for your dog and their confidence.
You want her to think of being alone as a good thing, day or night.
You can also leave her with something that smells like cute such as a T-shirt or blanket.
The familiar scent will help soothe your pup and give her something to cuddle with as she drifts into dreamland.
Step two. Don’t make it a big deal.
It can be really tough to hear your puppy cry at night. But if you want to make a difference, you’ve got to be indifferent.
Resist the urge to run back to your furbaby cuddler cute face and tell her everything is going to be okay.
Giving your puppy attention when she cries teaches her that this behavior will get her a reward.
And that’s the opposite of what you want.
Step three, play some soothing sounds.
Your puppy might cry a lot. And that’s okay. Remember to stay strong and just wait it out.
But if you need some backup, try playing a calm TV show or some soothing music to help them fall asleep.
Step Four. wait for the right moment.
If you absolutely need to give your puppy attention while she’s crying.
Wait. For instance, if you know your puppy is crying because she needs to go to the toilet.
Don’t let her out of the crate until she’s silent for at least a second.
Remember, you don’t want your puppy thinking that crying will always get her results!
You can see here that we have methods that you can try that are both possible ways of making it work for you and your new puppy, but I will be honest with you here, both approaches work but your dog is individual to YOU.
You need to find a way that works for you both and trial and error are the best way forward as with all training.
The blueprint is a good one, but ultimately it is YOU and your new best friend that will find the best way for both of you.
Work at it and don’t give up!