How to Train a Puppy to Not Cry at Night

Easy
2-5 Days
Behavior

Introduction

A new puppy in the home can really turn things upside down. Between potty training, bonding, and feeding time, it can make an owner’s life a little more than crazy while the pup gets settled in. It’s a new experience for everyone involved and it can be the most jarring for the puppy, who just a few days before was cozy and settled in with his mother and siblings. The transition is understandably scary and usually means that the first few nights in a new home will be full of plenty of puppy whines and howls.

Puppies can cry at night for a few reasons. Whether it’s because of hunger, loneliness, fear, or having to relieve themselves, it can put some strain on a brand new relationship with you. Nobody wants to spend all night listening to whining, so it’s important to establish a method for making the transition to your home as comfortable and pain-free as possible.

Defining Tasks

Being able to settle your puppy down for the night without a fuss is probably one of the more important abilities for a new dog owner, especially when you both just want a decent night of sleep. The younger the puppy, the more crucial these methods can be, and though it might be a rocky first few nights, most puppies can adapt to their new surroundings in two to five days. This adaptation time depends heavily on routine, repetition, and comfort.

You can use one or all of our training methods with your puppy to help adapt to your new home, depending on what method works best. Some puppies may need more support than others, so be prepared to take some time to give your puppy the best foot forward when it comes to living in your home.

Getting Started

To help your puppy sleep at night without crying, you may choose to use one or multiple training devices. This can include items like a properly sized crate, a device to emit white noise like a radio or other speaker system, or a scent diffuser which can emit certain pheromones. Other helpful tools include treats and safe chew toys, comfortable blankets and pillows, and warm spaces for your puppy to stay comfortably. Consider your puppy’s size and personality and choose which items may work best in your situation.

The Crate Method

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Step
1
Select a fitted crate
A properly sized crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
Step
2
Make it comfortable
Your puppy’s crate should be able to fit a soft bit of padding such as a blanket or a light pillow at the bottom for comfort, and should be accessible for your puppy throughout the day. Make it more interesting by offering small chew toys or little treats for him to enjoy while inside.
Step
3
Make it familiar
When first bringing him home, line the crate with a blanket or a pillow that smells like his littermates. Breeders or shelters may sometimes be able to offer these items to you. If not, consider using an item that smells like you instead. An old t-shirt or pillowcase may work well.
Step
4
Take regular breaks
Puppies can only control the urge to use the bathroom for so long. Your puppy may need to go out once or twice throughout the night to relieve himself. Make it a very quick and not very exciting routine. You want your puppy to know that bathroom time is only for bathroom and not play.
Step
5
Repeat nightly
Repeating the process for several nights in a row can bring comfort to your puppy knowing that he will be able to get a small break at the same time and he will be less prone to cry for your attention.
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The Schedule Method

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Step
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Provide exercise
Even puppies need exercise throughout the day. Take some time to play fetch inside or tug-of-war. Work on obedience or play with puzzle toys. Your puppy will need plenty of stimulation to wear her out before bedtime.
Step
2
Routine toilet breaks
Your puppy should initially be going outside for a bathroom break every hour during the day and certainly before bed time. Present her with plenty of opportunities to relieve herself before settling down for the night.
Step
3
Regulate food and water
Free feeding can make it difficult to track your puppy’s need to use the bathroom. Try to stick to a regular feeding schedule and watch how much water she is drinking at a time.
Step
4
Make time for bonding
Spending time with her is probably one of the more important aspects of helping your puppy adapt to your home. Make plenty of time in the first few days for lots of play, affection, and even some training. This can help reinforce attachment.
Step
5
Try not to deviate
Keeping to a routine will make for an easier acclimation more often than not. Your puppy needs a regular schedule in the first week and will often be much more likely to be content at night if she knows what to expect.
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The Calming Method

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Step
1
Offer toys
Place plenty of chew toys or other interesting time-consuming toys in your puppy’s space to help him self soothe when he needs to. This can also help any issues with teething.
Step
2
Use a diffuser
Some diffusers offer scents which can mimic a nursing mother’s pheromones. This can help provide some additional comfort for your puppy. Look into which product may suit your needs the best.
Step
3
Teach self reliance
Leave your puppy on his own for short periods of time throughout the day to help him adjust to being left alone at night. The more he is used to being on his own, the easier it will be for him to be on his own at night.
Step
4
Try white noise
White noise like running water, a TV playing at low volume, or a radio with gentle music can help put your pup at ease. Try a few different sounds to see how he responds to each.
Step
5
Use familiar scents
Use items around your home to keep in his space to help provide comfortable smells near your puppy when he needs them. Pillows, blankets, clothes, or even things like socks can help keep him feeling less alone during the night.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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