How to Train Your Dog to Not Cry at Night

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Ever looked at a litter of puppies with their mom, sleeping in a giant pile, all together? So cute, right? Now you take your new puppy home and put him a bed or crate by himself, expecting him to sleep alone, through the night, quietly. Not going to happen!  

Sometimes having a puppy is just like bringing home a human baby--a lot of sleepless nights while everyone adjusts to the new environment. Because dogs are pack animals, their natural inclination is to sleep with others, in close contact, for safety and comfort. A young dog or puppy is especially geared to sleep closely in a group for safety, and a rescue dog or an anxious or insecure dog that has come from an abusive situation or a situation where they were deprived, may be nervous and anxious and more apt to cry when separated from their caregivers, such as at night when everyone is sleeping. 

Having a dog cry at night and keep you awake is not going to work in the long term, so owners need to find ways to train their dogs to sleep quietly at night in their own space, and for the dog to be comfortable with the arrangement, allowing dog owners to get a good night sleep.

Defining Tasks

There are several methods you can use to help your dog learn not to cry at night and to be comfortable sleeping by himself, quietly. However, before working on stopping your dog from crying at night you will need to take some basic steps to ensure his needs are met and he is not crying for a genuine reason. 

Make sure your dog is well fed, has water, is well exercised, and has had lots of attention throughout the day, including affection and play. A dog that has had lots of activity and had his needs met is more likely to have a restful night than one that is full of energy or bored. Ensure your dog has had a chance to go outside to do his business before bed. And remember, a puppy may cry in the middle of the night when they wake because they legitimately have to go to the bathroom. Puppies do not have large bladders, and it is not uncommon to have to let a young dog out in the middle of the night for a pee break. You should work this into your plans if necessary.

Getting Started

Most owners that want their dogs to sleep separately from them provide their dogs with a bed or crate to sleep in. The crate should be comfortable, with good, clean bedding, and a favorite blanket or toy for comfort. Your dog's bed/crate should be in a warm location so your dog does not wake up from cold. Crates or beds should be the appropriate size for the dog, too big and the dog will not feel secure, too small and they will not be comfortable. You may need to be prepared for a few sleepless nights at first, as you will need to ignore and not respond to your dog's crying. If you do, you will only reinforce the behavior. This might call for a set of ear plugs! 

There are several methods you can use to help your dog become comfortable and learn to sleep by himself without crying for attention at night. These methods may be used in combination to help your dog assimilate to their nighttime routine quicker.

The Crate Training Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Set up crate
Set up a crate with comfortable bedding, and a toy or chew bone. You can introduce your dog to the crate at first by feeding him in the crate, to create a positive association.
Step
2
Introduce crate
Put your dog in the crate for a short period of time, 10-15 minutes. Have the dog approach the crate himself to get a reward, do not carry or lead him there. Stay with your dog while he is in the crate, sit outside the crate or remain in the room. If he is quiet, let him out. If he starts crying, wait until there is a pause in crying, then let him out.
Step
3
Practice quiet in crate
Repeat the procedure several times a day, until your dog happily goes into his crate for short periods of time with you present.
Step
4
Increase time and distance
Gradually increase the length of time your dog remains in the crate, and the distance you are from the crate, moving farther away, leaving the room, then leaving the house, for short periods of time. Gradually increase to longer periods of time.
Step
5
Reinforce quiet
Only let your dog out of the crate when he is quiet and calm. If your dog starts crying, sit near the crate and talk to him, but do not let him out until he stops crying. This teaches your dog to gradually become used to being alone, in a safe place, and that calm quiet behavior with no crying will result in the opportunity to be with you.
Recommend training method?

The Ignore Crying Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Prepare
If you respond in any way to your dog's crying, even negatively, it will only reinforce his bid for attention. Be prepared to ignore your dog's crying at night. You may need to move your dog and his crate to another part of the house where you cannot hear him or use earplugs.
Step
2
Meet needs
Teach your dog to be comfortable a crate. After letting your dog out for a bathroom break, have him go to his crate for bed. Do not carry him or drag him to his crate, which creates a negative association. Instead, reward him for going to his crate with a treat or a chew toy, and provide him praise and affection in his crate.
Step
3
Ignore crying
Leave your dog in his crate and go to bed. When your dog cries, do not yell at him or respond in any way to his crying. Ensure that the entire household is on board.
Step
4
Respond to quiet
If you need to let a puppy out in the middle of the night for a bathroom break, choose a time when he is quiet, not when he is crying, to let him out for a pee. After he has relieved himself, go back to his crate and provide another reward, attention, and praise. Return to bed.
Step
5
Repeat
In the morning, do not let your dog out of his crate until he is quiet. If he is crying, wait until he stops for a moment before releasing him. Repeat this procedure for several nights. Eventually, your dog will learn that crying does not result in your attention or release from the crate.
Recommend training method?

The Alternative Comfort Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Prepare sleeping place
You can make your dog learn to accept sleeping in his crate or designated sleep area without crying by making it more attractive to him, much like when he was with his mom and litter mates.
Step
2
Provide warmth
You can provide a heat source, like a heated water bottle, but ensure it is not too hot and that it is not something your dog can chew on and puncture.
Step
3
Provide company
You can provide the company of another pet--another older dog or even a cat--or consider adopting two puppies at a time. Letting your dog sleep with the company of another pet may settle him and ease him into sleeping without his caregiver at night. Another option is to provide similar sized stuffed animals that resemble litter mates, but be careful they do not have loose buttons or parts that your young dog can chew off and choke on.
Step
4
Provide sound
Use an old fashioned clock that ticks wrapped in a blanket in your puppy's bed. Some dogs are lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sound of a clock that resembles their mom's heartbeat. Be sure the dog can not chew on the clock and injure himself.
Step
5
Provide activity
Provide a rawhide chew bone, or puzzle feeder with food to keep your dog entertained while he goes off to sleep.
Step
6
Getting comfortable
All of these steps can help your dog to become acclimated to their sleeping place, feel safe, and teach them there is no need to cry at night.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Buddy
Pug
9 Months
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Question
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Buddy
Pug
9 Months

I want to crate train my puppy at night because he has started stratching door at night and he is staying with friends soon and I dont want him to damage their house in the night. I am working up time during the day (10-15mins and I sit outside it) Hes cries a bit but isnt too bad. But can I crate him overnight now? I keep reading that I should crate him at night and ignore crying until he is used to it. At the same time, I read that you have to work up the time and not leave him longer than he can cope?! Which is it?? Please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gill, How long have you been practicing crate training during the day for? If you have been practicing the crate with Buddy for five to seven days at least, then you should be fine crating him overnight. If he cries, ignore it unless you believe something is truly wrong with him. All the different advice can be confusing. Essentially, you want to avoid crating your puppy for long periods of time during the day before he is used to it because he will be awake most of the time during the day and has not yet learned how to cope with being in the crate by settling down, chewing on chew toys, and relaxing. You are helping him learn those things during the day by practicing. The daytime is a great time to practice because during the day you are awake to give him feedback when he is doing well, so that he will learn what he is supposed to do in the crate. At night he should go to sleep most of the time. The only time that he will have to self-sooth and self-entertain is when you first put him in the crate and if he wakes up at night and needs to put himself back to sleep. This drastically reduces the amount of time he needs to be used to being in the crate for. If he can be calm in the crate for thirty-minutes during the day, then he will probably do well overnight in it too. Continue working up to longer periods of time in the crate during the day to develop his skills there, but you should be fine crating him overnight in the meantime. When you crate him, put a chew toy in there with him so that he can self-sooth with that if he wakes up. Reward him initially for going into the crate without getting him too excited and give him a chew toy that will not keep him up all night but will give him something to do for a few minutes while he gets settled. After he is in, then turn off lights and make sure it is quiet and stays dark where he is so that his body will feel like going to sleep and staying asleep. Either work on getting him used to you walking out of the room while he is crated during the day or put the crate into your room at first to minimize his crying. This is because he is currently used to you being next to the crate and not leaving him. You can crate him in a different room at night right from the start too but that will be a more abrupt approach, and you can expect a few days of crying that way since he will have to learn to be alone suddenly instead of gradually. In the end it should work just fine but it can be hard to stay firm when he cries, and you need to stay firm and not let him out if you choose to crate him overnight. Crate training allows you to travel with your dog, for others to keep him, for you to keep him safe, to prevent destructive chewing habits, to speed up potty training, and when used properly, to prevent many cases of separation anxiety be teaching independence, self-soothing, and self-entertaining. Try to remember the benefits when it is hard to be consistent at times. Even though many puppies protest at some point, if you persist, then he will have more freedom due to his good habits later on. The crate is to keep him safe and eventually give him more freedom and trust. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Calvin
Labrador Husky
10 Weeks
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Calvin
Labrador Husky
10 Weeks

We have had Calvin for just over two weeks and just recently found success a few nights ago with his sleep by waking him to pee every four hours and then using elimination (leaving him to whine)for early morning wakings. We were finally getting silent nights and it was wonderful. HOWEVER, two nights ago, he got horrible diarrhea and went all over his crate all night long. We took him to the vet and they found he had a mild bacteria which we are now treating with a bland diet and anti-diarrheals. Last night we wanted to avoid more mess in the crate, so every time we heard him whine we ran him outside to eliminate. Sometimes there was more diarrhea and sometimes nothing. Needless to say, after having finally getting some sleep lately, we are now once again exhausted. And due to an early morning backyard pee this morning that had previously been eliminated, he is now up and at ‘em for the day FAR too early like he was a week ago before all the training. My question is: when can we start training him again and will it take as long the 2nd time? His barks seem more insistent now than I remember them a week ago. Or will we got lucky and after two nights of horror, will he fall back into the old way we had worked so hard to Achieve?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tiffany, That can be discouraging when you finally make progress on something and have to go backwards again. As soon as his stools become firmer and more of a normal consistency during the day you can safely resume your prior night schedule and letting him cry it out without fear that you are missing something. Unfortunately the frequent potty breaks might be necessary for a bit longer if the diarrhea is still bad. If the antibiotic does not help quickly, then give your vet another call or visit. Many of those conditions take under a week to improve once antibiotics are started. If you have any questions about it ask you vet though, as I am not a licensed Veterinarian. As far as when you start back how long it will take. Since he is older and has been rewarded with potty outings for crying for the last few days he will likely protest for a long time the first couple of nights to go back to letting him cry. The training will likely involve longer protests than before but less nights doing it. Try not to get discouraged if he pitched a huge fit for the first three to five nights. Once you get over that hump it should start to improve drastically. He might surprise you and go right back to his old ways of sleeping better even sooner than three nights too, but mentally prepare for three to five just in case. Many dogs do go back to old sleeping habits just fine right away. By twelve weeks of age start taking him out less frequently during the night if he is doing well with potty training at night time. Let him sleep through the normal four hour wake ups and see when he wakes up on his own to go potty one night. When you discover how many hours he will go on his own, then let that amount of hours minus thirty minutes be his new potty break time. A couple of weeks after that try the same thing again and he may surprise you and sleep through the whole night by then. He may even surprise you at twelve weeks and sleep through the night then. Some puppies can by twelve weeks of age. Others can closer to four months. For early morning wake ups, if you think he needs to go potty, take him outside but keep him on a leash so that he cannot play, keep the whole experience calm and boring, and after he goes potty take him straight back to the crate. It will equal a lot of crying at first but you want him to learn to only wake up at that time if he needs to go potty and not habitually for the fun of getting out of the crate to play. If the trip is boring and end with going back in crate, then he is less likely to wake up and ask to go out if he does not have to. It sounds like this was your strategy before the sickness, so keep it up when he is feeling better. As hard as it is right now, with the level of consistency that it seems like you are giving him, you should start to see some major improvements in potty training and sleep within a month overall. It will get easier in those areas soon. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Max
Dachshund-Beagle Mix
2 Years
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Max
Dachshund-Beagle Mix
2 Years

I've decided to crate train my two year old Dachshund-Beagle mix, Max. However, every time I leave his sight for even a few seconds, he begins to cry and tries to escape the crate, then when I come back he slowly calms down. I'm not sure what to do, or how to help him get comfortable with the crate enough to let me leave his vicinity for a minute or two.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Samantha, Check out the article that I have linked below. You can utilize all the methods but pay special attention to the "Surprise" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Also, make sure you are not rewarding his barking and crying by returning while he is doing it. Give him a food stuffed chew toy in the crate when you put him inside so that he has something to do, and wait until he is quiet before you return to sprinkle treats in - then leave again. If you return or let him out when he cries, he learns to keep doing it to get what he wants, instead of having the opportunity to learn that he can rest and chew on a fun toy in the crate, and you will come back while he is calm. Crying is normal at first...it's new and he needs an opportunity to realize that he is safe in there. Practicing the training from the article I linked above can help him understand how to be in a crate though, so that there is less crying...and crying once he understands that the crate is normal due to practicing the crate beforehand is just protesting being in there and not due to true distress typically, which needs to be ignored until he calms down. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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archer
Belgian Malinois
1 Year
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Question
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archer
Belgian Malinois
1 Year

so there are multiple things i really need help with. my dog is ok with the crate however he keeps whining at night, and we ignore. we exercise, makes sure he goes to the bathroom before bed, and give him his favorite toy. but given his past since he was a rescue dog we have tried everything to help him associate the crate as a calm peacful place where he can go. now he goes pee and he chews things all the time. we have tried sprays that prevent him from chewing. any suggestions on how to get him to stop chewing, peeing, crate training, and whining at night?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rosalinda, Is he peeing in the crate or when left out of the crate at night? If he is doing it outside the crate, then he needs to be crated at night. To deal with the whining, first I suggest crating him in another room so that he cannot see you while asleep. The whining might be for attention and he may give up and settle down after a week of being crated in a room by himself. Expect it to be worse for the first three days while he is adjusting, then gradually improve as you ignore him and do not go to him. Check out the article that I have linked below and work on those methods, especially the "Surprise" method, to help him like the crate - you may have already done those things and if so great. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If doing the above for two weeks doesn't help or the destructive chewing and peeing is happening while in the crate, there is a more intensive separation anxiety protocol you can do. It is more intense and can seem harsh because it confronts the anxiety and interrupts it so that the dog has an opportunity to learn a different way to be in place of the anxiety. I suggest doing it during the day first and after he understands what to do, then implementing it at night. Work on the above. If you are not seeing progress, then the next step is to interrupt his frantic-ness using an electric collar that has a vibration setting also (he may not respond to the vibration so you need both stimulation and vibration - if he does respond to just vibration then you can use that). When you choose a collar, only get one that has at least thirty-levels. Cheap, poorly made collars can be dangerous and collar without enough levels can be too harsh or not effective enough. E-collar Technologies, Garmin, SportDog, and Dogtra all make decent collars. You can also try using a remote controlled unscented air spray collar (AVOID citronella - only use unscented air or you might make your problem worse). Honestly, many dogs will not respond well enough to the air spray collars though. I highly suggest hiring a trainer who is experienced with separation anxiety and using e-collars to help you. You want to find the lowest level that he can feel on the collar. You want to set a good foundation for him by doing the other training that I mentioned above to at the same time to help him learn independence. You also want to reward him when he is calm. To use the electric collar you would: 1. Get him used to wearing the collar around while it is turned off. 2. Find the lowest level that he responds to - called a "working level". 3. Set up your camera to watch him again. 4. Leave the house, drive down the block so he thinks you are gone, then walk back and hide next to the house - so the collar and remote will be in range. 5. Watch him on the camera and listen for howling, scratching or him getting really worked up whining. 6. Stimulate the collar when he howls, scratches, or starts to get worked up whining (a brief whine is okay but not anxious-continuous whining). 7. When he gets quiet for two minutes, go back inside, ignore him for five minutes (he should be in the crate when you first practice this). When he is calm, then open the crate door, but don't let him come out yet - if he tries to rush out, then close the door quickly again and repeat the opening and closing it exercise until he stays in there while the door is open. 8. When he will stay in the crate while the door is open, then ignore him for another five minutes while the door is open. 9. Tell him "Okay" to let him know he can leave the crate at the end of the five minutes, but act really boring and nonchalant with him when he comes out. 10. Practice the training sessions, correcting him from outside with the collar while watching on the camera, coming back in when he is calm, ignoring him for a total of ten minutes, then acting boring when you let him out. This protocol sounds very harsh I know. It is important to practice him being independent of you through things like "Place", "Stay", and being in the crate. He needs to learn how to cope with independence so that he will be able to handle being alone. When you correct him with the collar, you are correcting him at a more reasonable stimulation level that is high enough for him to feel but not so high that it's any harsher than it needs to be. Right now the anxious response is his go to. He needs an opportunity to choose a different response. When you correct him, you are interrupting his anxious state of mind and expression - which will get more and more anxious as it builds if not interrupted. When you remove that option from him, then he has to find another way to react. By coming back inside, you are essentially rewarding him when he is being calm - showing him that you come back and that it's alright for you to leave. Also, showing him that being calm is how he gets you back, not by getting worked up. He has an opportunity to learn in that situation. Being in the crate simply makes it easier for him to learn because his only other option is to chew on a chew toy and rest. He cannot pace, destroy things, pee on rugs, or try another type of behavior when the scratching, whining, and howling are not options anymore. After he has learned calmness in the crate and that has become a new habit, then it will be easier for him to be calm outside of the crate when you are gone too. When you put him into the crate during the day (not at night), be sure to leave a dog food and liver paste or cheese or peanut butter (NO Xylitol sweetener -it's toxic to dogs!) stuffed- safe- hollow-chew-toy for him in the crate, so that when he calms down he will have that to chew on - he probably won't chew it until he is corrected and learns to calm down though. Dogs typically won't eat when they are anxious. When he learns to be calm and is ready to do something other than get worked up, you will want him to have it though, so that he can learn to enjoy himself in the crate or in your home when you are gone. I suggest that you do all of this under the guidance of a qualified trainer though. You have to be careful to use e-collars correctly. They can be very effective tools when used correctly, but they are powerful and can be severely misused if you don't understand how to use them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
Akita
2 Months
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Question
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Bella
Akita
2 Months

Hi Caitlin. Is it okay to leave her in a secure area (laundry room) that's not too far from us? I understand that she is crying a fair bit as it's her first few nights. We don't have a crate as yet. Is it necessary to buy one to use the methods below?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dre, A secure area is the next best thing to a crate because then she should be safe from chewing and swallowing things she shouldn't while you are asleep. It won't help with potty training though so it's not as good as a crate. The crate is needed to teach pup to wake you up when they need to go potty at this age - because they naturally don't want to dirty a small, confined space so will normally cry to get out of the crate and try to hold their bladders until you take them outside - take her immediately though because she won't be able to hold it for long at this age. In a larger space she will probably just wake up, going potty somewhere on the ground in the laundry room, then going back to bed without alerting you that she needs to be taken outside. If a puppy has too many night time potty accidents that can undo day time potty training and make the process a LOT harder. So for one or two nights you can set an alarm to take her potty every 3 hours, but you will need a crate very soon so that she learns to hold it for longer at night and will sleep through the night sooner and potty train sooner (waking her up instead of waiting for her to wake you often means less sleep for you because there will be times when she could have held it for longer but you don't want to chance an accident). Congratulations on the new puppy! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie
Shih Tzu
2 Months
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Question
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Charlie
Shih Tzu
2 Months

I recently got my two month old puppy on Saturday. His crate was placed in the kitchen but it is on the other side of the room. Should I move the crate at night to the living room where he would be closer to me and during the day when I am working, move the bed to the kitchen? Any advice will be great!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karla, Having your puppy sleep in another room can take longer for your puppy to settle in but actually be better for them in the long run because then they learn how to sleep without you there - which is great for traveling, boarding, being vetted, and generally preventing separation anxiety. The important thing to do is make sure you can hear them if they wake up needing to go potty at this age. If you decide to keep him in thr kitchen where you can't hear him, I suggest using an audio baby monitor to listen for him at night until he can sleep through the night without needing to go potty consistently. During the day crating him away from you for at least two hours total is also important for preventing separation anxiety - by teaching independence; however, you do not want him to be away from you all day. If he has frequent breaks outside the crate when you are home to play with you, train, and exercise after going potty, then him being crated away from you at other times is not an issue. If he spends most of his time in the crate while you are home, I suggest moving the crate closer for the majority of the time and just making sure he practices being alone for 1-2 hours a day and is close at other times. Dogs are social so they need to have interaction or be near people, as long as they get some practice being alone to prepare them for being alone when they have to be later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Spotacus
Pit bull
7 Months
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Question
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Spotacus
Pit bull
7 Months

I am wanting to get him trained on everything and get him certified what do I need to do to get that done

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kimberly, What type of certification were you wanting? Service Dog, Therapy Dog, Canine Good Citizen, or something else? A good place to start with all dogs is basic obedience and socialization. Once he understands basic commands well and is confident and relaxed around all types of people, animals - including other dogs, new environments, and sights and sounds, then work on obedience around distractions, called Intermediate Obedience. An intermediate or advanced obedience class is a great way to do this if you can find one with very knowledgeable trainers who are also experienced with behavioral issues and off leash training - which shows a better general understanding of training. Ask questions and look for reviews and client referrals. Once he can obey commands in the presence of distractions, then a Canine Good Citizen class is a good way to practice manners for future Therapy work and Service Dog work. Finally, if you intend to do Service Dog work, the final step is teaching the specific tasks you want to train for that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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molly
Jack Russell
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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molly
Jack Russell
8 Weeks

crying at night

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michaela, Even though it can be hard you actually need to intentionally give her safe times of being alone without you, either in a crate (what I recommend because it also helps with potty training), or an exercise pen for her to practice being alone during the day for about an hour also. Follow the surprise method from the article linked below during the day to help her learn to cope with being alone at night. Work on her being by herself for about an hour each day (it can be longer if you need to leave her, but at least an hour for training purposes). Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Most young puppies will cry in a crate or when left alone for up to 2 weeks (some adjust within just three days). Most grow out of this if you give them the opportunity to learn to self-sooth and self-entertain by not rescuing them while they are crying when you know that they are safe. If you go to her whenever she cries the training will take much longer though, so try to stay firm and use the Surprise method from the article linked above to help the process go more smoothly. Wait until she is quiet for at least a couple of seconds before you go back to her during the day, so that she associates your return with her being quiet and not crying. At night, if you know that she doesn't have to go potty and is safe, then let her cry. She might pitch quiet a fit the first few nights, but if you remain firm she should learn to settle down at night, especially if you also practice the surprise method during the day to help her learn to self-sooth. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
The colonel
Sprocker Spaniel
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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The colonel
Sprocker Spaniel
5 Months

Hi we are having problems with our puppy waking up at 5 in the morning and whining constantly until we give in and get up too him. He sleeps downstairs in his cage which he likes and we do not lock him in he is comfortable in there and when I go too bed I say bedtime and off he goes happily into it.
He is still going too toilet on puppy pads so I know he does not need the toilet so why is he doing it? He also has an issue with whining if I leave to go into another room to do anything. Is it just that he gets separation anxiety?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello David, Puppies have to learn how to be alone by practicing how to handle being by themselves. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. If he will not stay inside the crate when you leave the room, then you will need to close the crate door and practice this for an hour each day. You can practice for longer, but he will need to be let out while he is being quiet to go potty after an hour, so spacing out when you practice this, with some free time in between crating time since you are pee pad training. You can also practice this in an exercise pen, with the crate with the door open on one end for him to rest in and the pee pad on the opposite end to go potty on as needed. Surprise method for crate training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Do not go to him when he cries, wait until he is quiet for at least a few seconds. If you go to him when he cries he learns that crying is the way to get you back and it becomes a habit. If you wait until he is quiet he learns how to sooth himself and stay quiet for longer. As he improves, wait until he remains quiet for longer before you go to him. In the morning, the same thing applies. Since he has access to the pee pad so you know that he doesn't need to go potty, use an exercise pen with the crate on one end and the pee pad in the opposite end for him to sleep in at night, so that he cannot leave that area and will go back to sleep. Ignore the crying. If he won't settle back down within an hour of crying, then when he wakes up in the morning the next day, go to him, calmly encourage him to pee on the pee pad, then put him back in the crate and close the door so that he will stay in the crate. He is going back to bed after a potty trip essentially - you want to remove other fun activities that will keep him awake if he is free, with the exception of possibly a plain chew toy in his crate, so that he will calm back down and go back to sleep. Once he is in the habit of going back to sleep at that time his body is more likely to sleep through that time also. It is a bit like asking young kids to stay in their beds - you cannot force them to fall asleep but you can facilitate it happening by making the environment calm enough. If he stays awake but stays quiet and doesn't wake you, that is fine also. Also, pay attention to his schedule. When is he going to sleep for the night? Is he napping for most of the evening? If he sleeps for most of the evening then that sleep is going to count as part of his night sleep and he will be fully rested and ready to go by 5 a.m.. Most puppies will sleep 10 hours at night at this age, plus take several naps during the day. Keep evening naps to one hour instead of all evening, and make sure that his bedtime is ten hours before when you want him to wake up the next morning. Also, make sure that the environment is quiet in the morning. If other people or animals are moving around and making noise at 5 a.m. that will wake him up. If you can make the area dark too that should help his body adjust to the new sleep cycle - this will be less important as he gets older but making the area darker by blocking out window sunlight can help his body adjust to sleeping. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisy
Labradoodle
19 Weeks
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Daisy
Labradoodle
19 Weeks

Daisy has been doing really well in her crate at night until recently. She has started not wanting to go in & crying loudly. I will go & take her outside without talking just to see if she needs to pee. I then put her back. Last night she cried & yelled so much my husband couldn’t leave her like it so went down even though I felt we should try to ignore. He wanted to let her on our bed. No ! Can’t start that. She carried on v loudly so I then went down. I decided to check nothing wrong. It ended up that she just wanted to be with my husband & so they spent the night in the spare room with her on the bed with him. No crying once she was with him !! I’m feeling so upset & frustrated as I do everything for her including going to an extremely good puppy training class. I take her on fun walks & play time with other dogs. Bath her groom her & play. She is fixated with my husband & cry’s if he leaves the room. I can’t have her starting to sleep on the bed with him & he can’t stand to hear her cry - I dont like it either ! Husband is out more than me. I really don’t know what to do & am sad , tired & frustrated. Help !

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christine, You are correct that the crying should be ignored. Unless something traumatic happened this is likely just related to her entering adolescence and pushing boundaries more at this age. She is actually more likely to protest your husband leaving if she respects him less. Since he is not willing to let her cry it out and you are not comfortable having her sleep in your room, I suggest taking a firmer approach and correcting the crying. Teach her the Quiet command using the Quiet command from the article linked below. Work on this command during the day so that she will understand what Quiet means: Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, purchase a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of pressurized air. When she barks at night and you feel confident that she does not need to go potty, tell her Quiet then leave again - If it has been less than 5.5 hours since she last peed, she should be able to hold it. If she stays asleep she will be able to hold it for longer, once awake her bladder control will decrease. If you think she might really need to pee, then take her outside and then put her back in the crate. When she cries after being taken outside, then you will know that needing to go potty is not the reason and can proceed with what I am about to tell you to do. After telling her Quiet, if she stays quiet, great!! Celebrate and continue practicing quiet during the day too to reinforce that lesson. If she continues barking (which she probably will at first), then tell her "Ah Ah" in a calm tone of voice, and spray a spray of unscented air from the Pet Convincer at her side through the crate wires (Do NOT spray her in the face - just the side near her shoulder or ribs). After spraying her, leave again. Repeat your Quiet command, followed by a correction for barking if she doesn't get quiet, whenever she barks. During the day when you practice this also return after 5-10 minutes of her staying quiet and sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her quietness - only give treats during the day though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Pork butt
Boston Terrier
12 Weeks
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Pork butt
Boston Terrier
12 Weeks

I am struggling to get my puppy to not wake up and continuesly cry at night. We moved into a complex with upstairs and downstairs. We sleep up stairs an I provide him with the freedom of the entire living room down stairs. I have a soft crate that he goes himself to sleep in, a doggy bed, 4 chew toys and water if he gets thirsty at night. Iv left a pee mat, newspaper down on the floor in certain areas and a sand box recently which I see he peed in once! The problem I am having is that he is going to the loo most times everywhere else but the places allocated. Please give me some guidance

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lisa, It sounds like he is being given too much freedom. Puppies do not instinctively know to pee on pads or in boxes - it looks no different to them than your rug or floor. They need to be carefully confined and taught when you are awake to show them how before being given freedom at night - I actually recommend confining a pup at night for the entire first year because there are several destructive chewing phases they will go through at late as 9 months of age, that can be very dangerous if they swallow something they chewed once their jaws get stronger or they find something small now. If you don't plan to use a litter box or pee pads long term, I highly suggest getting rid of them and using a crate at night instead, and just waking up with your pup to take them outside when they cry at night for a little while. Use an audio baby monitor by their crate downstairs so that you will hear him when he wakes up and cries to go potty. The loss of sleep can be tiring but if potty training is done right, night wakings pass quickly and potty training is so much easier in the long run if you start with the method you intend to use long term - otherwise you may spend months trying to change your puppies peeing habits once they are set. Outside Potty training - the Crate Training method and the Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you plan to use a litter box or pads inside for the rest of your puppies life since they are small enough that is an option, then check out the article linked below. Follow the Exercise Pen method during the day. At first, follow the Crate Training method found in the same article below, at night and use an audio baby monitor to listen out for when your puppy needs to go potty to prevent accidents from happening at night while he is learning - frequent accidents can really slow down potty training. Once he will consistently use the litter box in the exercise pen during the day, then you can put your puppy's crate inside the exercise pen, leave the door open, and have the litter box on the opposite end of the exercise pen for pup to use during the night so you can sleep. Doing the training this way helps pup learn to use the litter box faster by minimizing accidents that inhibit his potty training progress, but it also allows you to get more sleep because pup should start to understand to go in the litter box during the day within a few days if it is close by while he is in the exercise pen, at which point you will no longer have to wake up with him at night. With indoor potty training it is just as important to prevent accidents during the learning process as it is with outside pottying training. Exercise Pen method and Crate Training method for indoor potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rebelle
Pomeranian
1 Year
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Rebelle
Pomeranian
1 Year

Every night my dog cries and it really annoys my family. I go down and let her out to go potty,i give her water and I comfort her but she still cries when I leave. She also scratches at the door. And when we bring her up to sleep in my room,in the middle of the morning she scratches at the door again and wants to go down. Please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Beibhinn, Have her sleep in a crate at night. During the day practice leaving her in the crate while you are home for at least an hour. Leave the room. If she cries, return to her, tell her "Ah Ah" and spray a small puff of unscented air from a pet convincer at her side through the crate wires (A Pet Convincer is a small canister of pressurized unscented air - Don't use Citronella spray). Do NOT spray her in the face, just on the side near her ribs. After you spray her briefly with the air, leave again. If she stays quiet for five minutes, return and sprinkle a few treats into the crate without letting her out, then leave again. Return and correct her with the Pet Convincer whenever she cries, and return and sprinkle treats whenever she stays quiet for a few minutes. As she improves, wait until she stays quiet a few minutes longer before you sprinkle the treats. Gradually space your treats further and further apart until she doesn't need the treats to stay calm. You can also give her a safe chew toy stuffed with dog food during the day, and a safe chew toy without food in it at night. Practice this during the day with the Pet Convincer and treats. At night, correct the crying with the pet convincer but don't give food because you don't want her to have to go to the bathroom or to stay awake waiting for food - that is why you need to practice this during the day too, because the food helps her learn what to do when in a crate - which is be calm and quiet. Practice the crate manners exercise from the video linked below to increase calmness in the crate even more. https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Chloe
Shih Tzu
11 Years
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Chloe
Shih Tzu
11 Years

We just moved into a new house & want to keep our dog, Chloe down stairs. Our 11 year old shih tzu is very accident prone if allowed on carpet. You can take her out, come in leave the room & she will use the bathroom. She has pretty bad anxiety as well. So far I have came down & slept on the couch every night at some point to stop her whining & even barking. {She never barks ... like maybe once a month literally.}
We also tried crating her in our room at night but she would not stop crying. I know it is a lot of change for her. I started introducing the crate about a month before we moved, I worked up to her being ok in it while I ran to the store. But since the move she is hesitant to even get a treat out of it.
It just breaks my heart for her to feel abandoned & confused being left downstairs at night in the dark after 11 years. Any advice? I eventually need to be able to sleep in my bed again.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jennifer, The solution to this is going to feel hard but she needs to sleep at much as you do, and the sooner its dealt with the sooner her anxiety will decrease. The anxious state of mind actually needs to be corrected. This can be done with a Pet Convincer or a remote collar on a working level (which is the lowest level a dog will respond to). I suggest confining her down stairs for a couple of hours during the day and practicing this during the daytime first. First, purchase a high quality e-collar with at least thirty stimulation levels and vibration. Look for a high quality brand such as E-collar technologies (mini educator), Dogtra, Garmin, or Sportdog. Pay attention to weight ranges on these when choosing one. High quality e-collars can give much smaller/gentler corrections and are far safer than random unknown brands bought overseas. A good collar has 60-125 simulation levels, letting you find the gentlest level your dog responds to just well enough to "snap" them out of being so worked up, to help them learn to calm themselves back down after. Have her wear the collar around for a bit to get used to the feel of it. Next, find the correct level of stimulation to use for her training, called her working level. To find this level, wait until she is simply standing around acting boring and not distracted. Without saying anything, push the stimulation button for a second. Watch her to see if she responds. This response might be subtle like scratching, acting like a bug is on her, shaking her head, looking around, moving away from where she is, or something else. She might yelp out of surprise, but if you are using the lowest level she responds to and a high quality e-collar a yelp is typically due to surprise. If she seems overly sensitive to the collar you can use the vibration setting instead but vibration tends to be harsher than low stimulation for many dogs. Repeat pushing the button three times at the lowest level and watching for a response. If she does not respond, increase the level by one and watch for a response again while you test that level out three times. Continue increasing the level by one and watching for a response, until you reach a level that she responds too - If the collar you are using has a lot of levels, like the Mini Educators' one hundred levels, then many dogs won't even feel it until around level ten. It all depends on their own sensitivity level, which is why you find each dog's individual level. Check out the video linked below, demonstrating finding the correct level for a dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Next, set up a camera to spy on her while she is in her crate. You could use a GoPro with the Live app on your phone, two smart phones or tablets with Skype or Facetime with her end on mute so she won't hear you but you can hear her, a video baby monitor, security camera, or any other camera you have that you could watch her from outside on. Once you have the correct collar stimulation level and she is calm and relaxed again, start your leaving routine, put her into the crate, and go outside. Drive down the block and walk back if she isn't convinced you really left. From outside, watch her on the camera. When she barks or tries to escape from the crate, push the stimulation button on the remote for one second. Repeat the correction every time she barks. This will probably take a few repetitions before she starts to connect the stimulation on the collar with her barking. If it doesn't improve after seven corrections, increase the collar level by one, and again by one if she still doesn't respond. When she pauses barking for four seconds, while she is quiet, go back inside, sprinkle a few tiny treats into her crate without letting her out or talking to her, then leave again. Repeat correcting her when she barks from outside, going inside and sprinkling treats when she is quiet then leaving again; do this for 30 to 45 minutes each session. After about 45 minutes, while she is quiet, go back inside for good. Leave her in the crate and ignore her for ten minutes. Correcting with the e-collar without acknowledging her if she barks at you from the crate. After ten minutes, while she is calm, go to her and let her out of the crate using the method from the article linked below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 You generally want to encourage calmness around the crate - being overly excited, anxious, or worked up can make separation anxiety worse because of the chemicals released into the body. Expect to need to repeat the crate collar training several times for 45 minute sessions for her to realize that the results are always the same and she needs to be calm and quiet in the crate. You can do this more than one time each day to speed up the process, just make sure she has breaks in between each session to unwind. When she is quieter in the crate, then when you leave, give her a food stuffed chew toy, like a Kong, to help with boredom and to automatically reward her for staying quiet. You can also go to her and spray a small puff of air at her side while saying "Ah Ah", then leave again right after, returning to her and sprinkling treats near her if she stays quiet for five minutes. A remote collar tends to work better though because you don't have to give any form of attention with it - the correction is just associated with what she is doing and not you. The correct working level also shouldn't be more adverse than the puff of air if done correctly. You can either do this protocol with her in the crate in your room or with her in the pen area or crate downstairs where you want her to sleep at night - as long as she is alone while you practice this so the whining is the same. A crate will be quicker to learn usually - at least at first. Choose where you want her to learn to sleep long-term either way, so that you don't have to do this twice though. While still anxious and learning this, she likely will not take food during training. That's alright. Once she is calmer after training she should take food better again while in the crate or pen. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ruby
Maltipoo
18 Months
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Question
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Ruby
Maltipoo
18 Months

Ruby used to sleep on my bed but is getting very territorial about my room and my space. She will bark and snarl at my daughters if they attempted to take her to their room for the night. I decided that upstairs should be out of bounds for her. We have never crated her and I wasn’t keen to do this option after 18 months. We made her bed up on the settee after 3 nights whining she slept. She has done this for 3 weeks. For some reason she has reverted back to the crying and now it’s worse than ever. She’s scratching at the door and floors. Barking whining, I’m shattered. I’ve had intermittent sleep for 5 days and working it’s taking a toll on me. I tried locking her in the kitchen but this was worse. She settles the minute she sees me. Help ... I need to sleep and so does she. We had 3 blissful weeks before and now we have a dog who is a nightmare at nighttime.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karen, First, you will need to crate train. The issue you have described is not an anxiety issue but a respect issue. Pup is resource guarding you, the room, and the bed. Pup's crying and scratching behavior is probably more a result of a demanding, pushy attitude than anxiety. As such a lot more boundaries and structure are needed to address the root cause. First, I suggest crate training and crating pup at night so that they cannot scratch the door and destroy things as protest - this will actually make the night time transition go faster in most cases. During the day crate pup to help her adjust. When she cries, use a Pet Convincer to spray a small puff of unscented air through the wires of the crate, aimed at her side (not face and use unscented air canisters NOT citonella - it's too harsh). Calmly tell her "Ah ah" while you spray a brief puff of air, then leave again. If she stays quiet for a few minutes, return and sprinkle a few treats through the wires of the crate without letting her out, while calmly telling her she did good, then leave again. Practice these two things when she cries or tries to get out and when she is quiet and calm. Practice crating her for 1-3 hours during the day, starting with less time at first. At night crate her downstairs. Go to bed an hour before you need to go to sleep so that the house is quiet but you won't be exhausted doing the following. When she cries, return, tell her "Ah Ah" and correct with a puff of air, then leave again. Do not give treats at night - only correct at night. You have hopefully practiced this during the day first with the corrections and treats so that pup will understand that quiet is what she is supposed to be doing instead of crying. Repeat the corrections whenever she cries until she goes to sleep. To reestablish respect in general you can also work on the following methods and commands in life: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Consistency method - and Working method for more extreme issues; https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Out command - which means leave the area. There is a section on using Out to deal with pushiness: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Winston
Dachshund
13 Weeks
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Winston
Dachshund
13 Weeks

I have been keeping Winston in the laundry with a puppy pad and his bed along with a few of his favourite toys at night for the past week. He usually cries for about an hour and it quiets down, but he wakes us up with more crying and banging through out the night. I’ve woken up to check on him and take him out for a bathroom break just in case and found the door chewed etc. it sometimes sounds as though he is trying to burrow himself out. I want him to get used to sleeping in there, am I right to ignore him and let him adjust to being in there alone at night?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
425 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kristian, First, teaching a pup how to sleep by themselves is a great thing. It can actually prevent severe separation anxiety later. I strongly encourage you to continue teaching pup how to adjust to being alone, and know that the crying is normal at this point and should improve with time. With that said, you may need to crate him at first and take him potty during the night when he wakes up crying to go. This accomplishes a few things. 1. It prevents him from learning a bad and dangerous destructive chewing habit that is hard to unlearn later on. 2. It helps him learn to settle down sooner and go to sleep. 3. It helps with potty training. If your end goal is to teach him to pee on pee pads, then you can also use an exercise pen with a pee pad instead of a crate - removing access to walls and everything besides the floor and metal pen walls to prevent chewing. You can also work on pee pad training during the day and teaching him to sleep alone at night - taking him potty during the night for a bit, until he has adjusted to the crate and isn't destructive chewing and knows how to pee on the provided pads - at which point you can leave the crate door open in the laundry room so that he has access to the pee pad to use (it may seem obvious but you do have to teach pup's to use pee pads just like training a dog to go potty outside. Many people assume they will just use the pads if you provide them). If your end goal is training pup to go potty outside and your schedule allows you to take him potty frequently enough to start that process, I suggest getting rid of the pee pad, crating at night, using an inexpensive audio baby monitor to listen for him crying when he needs to pee at night, and taking him potty outside on a leash as needed. At this age he should only need to go potty outside once halfway into the night most nights if you crate him and remove all food and water two hours before bed. Wait until he wakes up asking to go if you can - opposed to waking him. He will learn to sleep through the night sooner if you wait until he wakes up. Within another month or two most puppies can hold it throughout the entire night if crated and being properly potty trained during the day. Pee Pad/indoor potty training - check out the exercise pen method and crate training method from this article. This article mentions litter box training - which you can try, but you can also use these methods with pee pads and real grass pads. Real grass pads are my favorite thing to train on because they tend to lead to less confusion with carpeting and rugs and if you need to teach pup to use a pad now but your goal later is outdoor potty training, they transition the easiest to outdoor training. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Outside potty training - Tethering method and crate training methods are what I recommend for your pup from this article if your end goal is outside potty training. As pup gets older and learns the times in the schedule will also increase, making it easier. At night a puppy's capacity is different during the day while asleep. During the day most pups can hold it for the number they are in age plus one if crated. Meaning your pup cannot hold it for longer than 4 hours in the crate during the day. Ideally he would be taken out every 1.5 hours when first learning though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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