How Long Should You Let a Puppy Cry in the Crate?

How Long Should You Let a Puppy Cry

You’re the newest puppy parent in town, but the first few days of living with your new pup have been a nightmare! Reason? Your puppy cries every time you leave him in the crate, walk out of at the room, or leave his sight for a second.

How long should you let a puppy cry? You should only let your puppy cry for a few minutes in the crate or at night, especially when the first arrive in your home and are scared. If a puppy cries for too long, it will make them feel anxious and neglected… and upset the neighbors and your own sanity.  

Letting a puppy cry it out – good or bad?

While puppy parenting is undoubtedly an exciting journey, it’s nowhere close to a smooth ride. It has its struggles. One of them — dealing with a puppy that’s constantly crying in their crate or at night.

A pup’s whining can turn from cute to troubling very quickly! You might even start questioning whether you’re truly fit to be your furry friend’s parent (Just so you know, you are).

When your pup starts crying, you might be tempted to let the puppy cry it out. And that’s fine for a few minutes, but not for hours – that will lead to more issues – don’t be tempted to let them start sleeping in your bed.

Crying is perfectly normal in puppies. That’s your pup’s only way of voicing their need, just as human infants do. But if your puppy cries constantly since you brought them home, here are some possible reasons behind the barrage of whining:

  • Separation anxiety is real: When your new fur baby finally becomes part of your family, the place they once called home is gone. Your puppy now must start afresh in a completely new environment. And it’s not easy for them. That’s what separation anxiety is all about. So it’s normal for new puppies to cry as they try to adjust to their new home (which often takes a few days).
  • They can’t get enough of your company: When you bring your pup to live with you, you instantly become the first human best friend they know. They’ll whine if bored, lonely, and want your attention.
  • They need a potty break: Puppies often need to eliminate frequently (even at night). They aren’t mature enough to control their bladder. Whining is your pup’s way of letting you know they can’t hold it any longer.
  • A hungry puppy is a whining puppy: If your pup isn’t well fed or feels thirsty, they’ll cry for food or water.
  • Medical reasons: If your pup is sick, they’ll cry to let you know they aren’t feeling too good. You need to know the common signs indicate a puppy is sick.

How do you stop a puppy crying when you leave the room?

Now that you know why your puppy whines and how long you should let them cry in the crate for, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to resolve the issue. I promise you, it will get easier.

1. Crate training works wonders

Setting up a cozy crate for your puppy is the nicest thing you can ever do for them. You’ll help them get used to your absence, both during the day and at night.

Place a soft blanket and treat-stuffed chew toys (to keep their attention on removing the stuffed goodies) inside the crate to make your pup’s little den comfortable and entertaining.

You can even throw in a t-shirt or anything else that has your scent on just to make the crate experience more memorable for your precious fur baby.

pug crying at night in crate
All puppies cry in their crate, it’s just how long you decide to leave it (Image via https://unsplash.com/photos/aXulM1f-81Q)

Using the crate at night…

Don’t let your new pup sleep alone during the first few nights. Instead, let them sleep with you in the same room — while in their crate, of course, not on your bed.

Your pup will sleep soundly, knowing they’re close to you.  Even if this doesn’t happen during the first few nights and they instead cry, don’t fret. The situation will improve in a few weeks — once your pup gets over the separation anxiety.

As time goes by, they’ll think of the crate as their safe haven. And when that happens, they’ll snore the night away without waking up to cry.

When they get used to napping in the crate, you can move it to your preferred sleeping area.

Handy Hint: Here’s where a puppy should be sleeping on the first night you take them home.

During the day…

Let your puppy spend time in the same room as you. Here’s what I mean.

If you’re in the living room, have the toy-filled crate near the couch where your pup can see you.

Consider rewarding them with a treat every time they enter the crate

Then, take things to the next level.

Start by leaving them in the crate alone for a short period and gradually increase the alone time — For instance, you can first leave them there for five minutes, then ten, and so on.

Soon enough, your pup will think of the crate as their favorite chill spot. They won’t cry every time you leave their sight.

2. Potty break each night

Make sure the very lasting thing your pup does before getting in their crate at night is to take a toilet break. If not, they’ll start whining moments after putting them to bed, all because they want to potty.

3. Try to ignore the crying

Don’t be too quick to soothe your puppy as soon as they start whining. This might probably sound a bit harsh, but it’s necessary sometimes as crate training will be worth it in the long run.

For example, when you put your puppy to bed at night, and they cry the second you step away, ignore them.

If you comfort them immediately, this will only lead to them believing your presence is the reward they get for crying. And that’s how the whining behavior will go on and on. If they’re crying for your attention, it will only be for a short period.

But if the whining extends for a while, you should go over and find out what the problem is. Remember, letting your pup cry for too long isn’t okay.

4. Put your puppy on a consistent routine

As your little furry friend settles in your home, ensure their routine each day is the same. This will save you the headache of experiencing your pup crying endlessly because they suddenly want to feed, take a potty break, or play.

5. Tire your pup before bedtime

Avoid the habit of letting your adorable fur baby nap at your warm feet just a few hours before their scheduled bedtime. Instead, engage them in a few activities, as suggested in this video.

By keeping your puppy active, they’ll be too exhausted to cause chaos once they enter their crate for the night.

6. Don’t be too good at goodbyes

As heartbreaking as this might sound, it’s best if you don’t pamper your pup with so much attention shortly before you leave the house. Be calm about it.

Otherwise, these signals will only make them excited. And once you’re gone, they’ll have the hardest time dealing with your absence. You can already guess what will follow after —  your little furry friend will scream the house down.

Related questions

Should I let my puppy cry it out?

No, you shouldn’t. If your pup’s crying goes on for long, they might be trying to communicate something important — like they are hungry, need to potty, or aren’t feeling well. If you let your puppy cry it out, you’ll only make them anxious as they’ll feel neglected.

Should I leave my puppy to cry at night?

No, you shouldn’t let the crying prolong at night. But if they are crying for your attention — let’s say they start whining seconds after putting them in their crate to sleep — you can ignore the crying until it fades.

What do you do when a new puppy cries at night?

Introduce them to crate training as soon as possible. The nightly whining will slowly fade away when they get the hang of sleeping in the crate, the nightly whining will slowly fade away.

Conclusion

You should not let a puppy cry for too long. It will cause longer term anxiety issues. But you still need to be firm. If the puppy thinks it can summon you simply by crying, the power is with the puppy.

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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-puppy-pet-animals-pretty-3738255/

Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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