Puppy Crying - What To Do

It’s easy to get caught up in young pups' bright eyes and playful demeanours – so much so we can forget they’re still infants. The world is new to them, and while new discoveries can be exciting, your new furry companion can have some difficulty regulating emotions.

In fact, one of the most common challenges new pet parents face is learning how to stop a puppy crying, especially at night. It's a piercing sound that tugs at the heartstrings, a plaintive whimper that stirs a deep urge to comfort and console. But understanding the root of this behaviour is essential if you want to address it.

The reasons behind puppy crying vary and can range from the desire for emotional comfort to expressing the desire to meet basic physiological needs, such as eating or going to the toilet. Much like human babies, puppies are flooded with new sights, sounds, and sensations, and crying is their way of communicating in this big new world. Developing methods to minimise puppies’ crying involves patience, consistent training, and a keen understanding of your furry friend's needs.

In this piece, we will delve into various strategies and tips to help bring peace to your nights and comfort to your puppy. From understanding the importance of routine to the nuances of crate training, we'll explore how you can gently guide your puppy through this development phase, ensuring both a happy puppy and a well-rested household.

Puppy sleeping in blue dog bed.
Puppy sleeping in blue dog bed.

Why Is My Puppy Crying?

Are you feeling a bit exhausted, irritated, and wondering why your puppy is whining and whimpering?

Puppies communicate primarily through vocalisations like crying, whining, or whimpering, especially when they're young and still adapting to their new environment. This could stem from:

  • Separation Anxiety: Puppies often feel anxious and lonely, missing their mother's and littermates' warmth and familiarity. Puppy crying is particularly pronounced during the first night, when the sudden environmental change can be overwhelming.
  • Need for Comfort: In their new home, puppies may feel insecure. The absence of familiar scents and sounds can lead to whimpering as they seek comfort.
  • Physical Needs: Basic needs such as hunger, thirst, or needing to relieve themselves can cause a puppy to cry. You may find this especially relevant for a puppy crying at night in a crate, where they might feel confined and unable to address these needs on their own.

Puppy Crying First Night

The first night with a new puppy is often the most challenging. The sudden change from being with their mother and siblings to being alone in a new place can be distressing due to:

  • New Environment: The unfamiliar surroundings can make the puppy feel lost and scared.
  • Lack of Familiar Scents: The absence of the comforting smell of their mother and siblings can cause distress.
  • Adjusting to Solitude: From constant companionship to sudden solitude, the transition can be hard for a puppy.

Puppy Crying at Night in Crate

Crate training can tap into a puppy’s natural preference for a comfortable, secure, and quiet resting spot, but it can initially lead to some nighttime crying, due to the following:

  • Feeling Trapped: Puppies might initially perceive the crate as a restriction, leading to discomfort and crying.
  • Separation from the Family: Feeling isolated from their new family can cause anxiety and result in crying.
  • Adjustment Period: It takes time for puppies to understand that the crate is a safe and comfortable place.

How to Stop a Puppy Crying

Knowing how to stop a puppy from whining and crying requires a blend of empathy, consistency, and effective training methods, including:

Toilet Training

Puppies only have small bladders, making late-night bathroom trips non-negotiable. A final toilet break right before bed can be the difference between a restful night and a period of endless puppy whining at night, but remember:

  • Maintain a serious demeanour during nighttime bathroom breaks; avoid engaging in playful interaction to prevent your puppy from mistaking it for playtime.
  • Withhold any praise, pets, or treats. Instead, calmly escort your puppy to the designated toilet spot and wait (if necessary).
  • Resist responding to your puppy's crying and appealing behaviour until they have finished their business.
  • Once your puppy is finished, provide calm praise to positively reinforce the behaviour.
  • Gently return your puppy to their sleeping area, leaving quietly and without fuss to maintain a calm nighttime routine.

Introducing this routine not only assists in toilet training but also alleviates discomfort that might cause nighttime crying.

Training Techniques When a Puppy Cries in a Crate

Crate training isn’t for everyone, but for some pups, it can create a small little safe haven in your home. Start by making the crate a positive space filled with treats and beloved toys. Gradually extend their time in it, ensuring the crate is seen as a sanctuary and not a confinement.

Balancing Comfort and Independence

Provide comfort when you hear your puppy crying, but you do not want to reinforce crying as a method to gain attention. Establish a calming sleep environment and work to be present with your pet without responding to every whimper. It helps your puppy feel secure while fostering a sense of independence.

Daily Exercise and Mental Engagement

Dogs of all ages have an inherent need to burn energy. When they can’t, it can lead to some strong emotions. If you are looking at how to stop a puppy crying at night, remember that a well-exercised pup is more likely to sleep soundly. Regular physical activities coupled with mental exercises such as training and puzzle games are key to ensuring your puppy is tired and content at bedtime.

Establishing a Consistent Daily Schedule

Establishing a consistent sleeping schedule and location for your puppy, as well as maintaining a stable environment in terms of lighting and auditory stimuli, can mitigate nighttime tears. Sticking to a regular routine fosters a sense of security and predictability for your pet.

Try to wake up early, ideally before your puppy starts whining. This consistency provides reassurance to your puppy, reinforcing the understanding that you are always there for them, which in turn can help them feel more secure and settled.

Creating a Welcoming Bed Space

Make your puppy's bed or crate inviting with comforting items like your scent or a soft toy. A welcoming bed space encourages your puppy to view it as a place of comfort and security, not a place to fear or even dread.

Ongoing Checks if Your Puppy is Still Crying

If you have tried all the tactics above and your puppy’s crying still, you may need to delve deeper into the potential causes of your puppy's distress. Reassess their sleeping environment for comfort and safety, ensuring there's no exposure to drafts and that they have ample warm bedding. Also, consider the possibility of external disturbances like unusual noises at night that might be affecting your puppy. A careful examination for any signs of injury or illness is also important.

Remember, adapting to new routines or environments can take time. If the situation does not improve, book a visit to your veterinarian to ensure no underlying health issues are disrupting your puppy's restful sleep.


  • How to Stop Puppy Whining When Left Alone

    Dealing with a puppy whining when left alone can be a challenge. Start by leaving them for short periods, slowly increasing the duration as they show signs of settling on their own. Providing them with comfort objects, such as a piece of your clothing, treats, or their favourite toy, can help to ease their anxiety.

  • How Long is It OK for a Puppy to Cry?

    There's no strict time limit to leave your puppy crying, but a prolonged period of whining and whimpering might indicate some distress or unmet needs with your furry companion. If your puppy is crying, assess the situation to determine if they need something, such as a toilet break or if they're feeling anxious. Allowing your puppy some time to self-soothe is part of their learning process.

  • How to Keep Puppy from Crying in Crate

    If a puppy cries in a crate, you need to take steps to create a positive association with the crate. Make the space more inviting with comfortable bedding, safe toys, and even the occasional treats on more difficult nights. Begin crate training by placing your puppy in the crate for short periods while you're at home, and gradually increase the time. Ensure your puppy has plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before being crated, as a tired puppy is more likely to rest peacefully.

  • Should I Ignore My Puppy Crying?

    Deciding whether to ignore your puppy's crying is a matter of balance.

    Avoid reinforcing a puppy crying for attention by responding immediately every time, but don’t neglect their genuine needs, either. Try to understand the reason behind their whimpering and whining. Is it for attention, or is there a specific need that must be addressed? Ignoring your puppy entirely can lead to increased anxiety and stress. 

Learn How to Look After a Puppy

Puppy Care
New Puppy Tips
First Night With a New Puppy

Bringing a puppy home for the first time is one of the most exciting times for any family. That being said, the art of raising a puppy is not a simple one!

Puppy Care
New Puppy Tips
New Puppy Checklist

Wondering what you need for your new puppy? NexGard provides the ultimate new puppy checklist that will give your pup the best start. Learn more with NexGard.

Load More
never miss a dose
never miss a dose

Have reminders sent directly to your phone

Copyright and Trademark Notice

NEXGARD SPECTRA®, NEXGARD®, HEARTGARD30® and PARAGARD® are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group.
©2021-2023 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved. PET-0228-2022 PET-0203-2023