How to Train a Puppy to Stop Barking at Night

How to Train a Puppy to Stop Barking at Night
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

You’re curled up in your bed, peacefully dreaming of the great times you’ll have with your puppy, when suddenly she starts barking her head off. You hurry to her side, thinking she must be hurt or sick. As soon as you get near her, she stops barking and wags happily at you. Your puppy got exactly what she wanted: your attention. Many puppies bark at night because they feel scared or lonely in their crate. By training your puppy to stop barking during the night, you can get a good night’s sleep and stop the worry.

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Defining Tasks

It’s important to remember that very young puppies are rarely able to sleep through the night. They have little bladders and are used to having their mother and litter mates nearby for company. It can take several weeks for your puppy to become accustomed to the new environment and secure enough to sleep through the night. Keep in mind that a new puppy is just like a new baby. You’ll need to be patient with her and expect a few sleepless nights.

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Getting Started

Be prepared to ignore some of your puppy’s barking. Get used to her noises and learn to recognize when she is distressed and when she just wants some attention. Invest in a crate that suits your puppy’s size so she can stretch and turn around, but still be comforted by a space her size. Keeping the crate in your bedroom is a good way to provide your puppy with a comforting environment as well.

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The Schedule Method

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1

Set up a schedule for your pup

If your puppy gets used to doing certain things at certain times, she will be expecting bedtime and be less likely to fuss. In the beginning, try to keep the schedule as consistent as possible for your puppy until she becomes familiar with the routine.

2

Keep your puppy busy in the evening

Puppies love to sleep, but if you let your little one nap the evening away, she'll be awake and ready to play at bedtime. Play with your puppy in the evening, take her for a walk, or give her a stimulating toy to tire her out before bed.

3

Choose designated dinner and bed times

Decide what time you want your puppy to go to bed and then select a dinner time that is a few hours before bedtime. You should also pick up her water after she finishes eating. The last thing before bed should be a trip outside so she can relieve herself.

4

Bed means bed

At bedtime, confine your puppy to her crate. She will likely be most comfortable in your bedroom. However, if you don't want your puppy in the room with you, crate her elsewhere but provide something that makes noise, such as a fan or a white noise machine. Keep in mind that if your puppy is in another room, you will need to be more alert for signals that your puppy needs to go out to the bathroom.

5

Make nighttime trips as calm as possible

Most young puppies can't make it through the night without a trip to the potty. Keep trips outside as calm as possible. The less stimulation your puppy gets, the better the chance she'll go back to sleep without barking or howling. Try not to talk to her or give her attention. As soon as she is back in bed, go back to bed yourself.

6

Be strong and ignore false signals

When you know your puppy doesn't need to go outside to the bathroom, ignore her noises. If you pay attention to her, you will only encourage her to keep barking or howling. It can be incredibly difficult to ignore a little puppy's cries, but be strong and you will teach her to calm herself down and sleep quietly through the night.

The Alarm Clock Method

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Effective

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1

Early morning is still night

Some puppies are able to sleep through most of the night, until the first rays of sun hit their crate. If your puppy is an early riser, you can teach her that early morning is still technically nighttime with the use of an alarm clock.

2

Wake up before your puppy

Set an alarm clock to go off about half an hour before your puppy typically wakes up. It should be loud enough so it wakes both you and your pup.

3

Keep things calm

Stay very quiet as you greet your puppy. Reward her for staying quiet, if she does, and calmly go through your morning routine with her. Let her outside to do her business, get her breakfast, follow a typical routine, just without any excitement.

4

Make her wait

Set the alarm for the same time the next day, but wait for a few seconds before greeting your puppy and letting her out of the crate. Reward her if she stays quiet until you let her out.

5

Sleep in a little longer

On the third day, bring the alarm forward a couple of minutes and make your puppy sleep a little bit longer before waking her up and calmly going about the morning routine.

6

Alternate the changes

Repeat the process every day, either bringing the time forward or making your puppy wait a few additional seconds before letting her out, until you reach an acceptable wake-up time. Through this process, you are teaching your puppy that she doesn't need to make noise to wake you up and that mornings aren't all that exciting anyway. The combination should train her to sleep nicely into the morning.

The Crate Training Method

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Make her crate a soothing environment

You want your puppy to feel comfortable and calm when she is in her crate. Put soft, cozy bedding on the bottom of the crate. You can also use scents, like pheromones or objects from her previous home to make her feel more content.

2

Pick a cozy spot

The location of your puppy's crate will have a lot to do with how comfortable she feels in it. Place her crate in your bedroom. If your nighttime movements disturb her, you can try draping a thin blanket over the top of the crate.

3

Get your puppy used to the crate

In the beginning, your puppy may react to the crate like you are putting her in puppy jail and abandoning her to sleep or leave the house. Choose small portions of the day to put your puppy into the crate while you are still in the house, so she doesn't associate the crate with being abandoned.

4

Make the crate a place where good things happen

Supply your puppy with things she likes while she is in the crate. Give her attention, treats, or toys to play with. You can even make the crate part of her routine by feeding her meals while she is inside.

5

Reinforce the crate as the sleeping spot

If your puppy falls asleep somewhere, gently carry her to her crate and shut the door with her inside. This process will make her associate the crate with sleeping.

6

Reward your puppy for using the crate

If your puppy goes into the crate on her own, give her big rewards, such as extra special training treats or gentle affection. You want to stay calm though, so she doesn't connect her crate to play time.

7

Be patient

Over time, crate training will make your puppy feel comforted by her crate, rather than punished. After a couple of weeks, she will associate the crate with pleasant feelings and stop crying for your attention during the night.

By Christina Gunning

Published: 03/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Natalie

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Maltipoo

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Two Months

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Question

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Hi, We’ve had our puppy for 3 weeks now. We have been crate training in a room away from us due to renovations. He has been great getting to sleep around 9:30/10pm and we have been waking him to go to the toilet around 4/4:30 am. However when we return him to his crate that has a blanket, heat pack, plush toy with a heart beat, chew toys and my own personal jumper he just keeps barking and won’t settle. This is becoming an issue as we work and have school. Help!!

July 16, 2022

Natalie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the surprise method from the article I have linked below. I recommend practicing rewarding quietness during the daytime (early evenings and weekends if you are gone during the daytime. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate I would also make sure pup isn't starting his nighttime routine too early. If pup is napping for more than an hour at a time in the evening, pup will be ready to start their day super early. If that's the case, then provide pup with interactive toys like a dog food stuffed kong, kong wobble, easy puzzle toy, or play or train pup some in the evening - a flirt pole can be fun while you are sitting down. I wouldn't try this just yet, but if things don't improve, try using an audio baby monitor and listening out for pup barking when they need to go potty, rather than waking them up, to see if pup will sleep past that 4:30 wake up. Pup likely won't be able to go longer than that until they are closer to three months though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 18, 2022

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Hyde

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Rottweiler

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14 Weeks

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He’s been with us since 6 weeks and still can’t sleep throughout night without screaming his head off around 1 am, (9pm is bedtime) my boyfriend from early on has been giving into him and won’t be quite without one of us literally sleeping on the floor next to us. If we don’t he will and has legit barked and whines for about an hour straight, we know he still needs a potty break so we do take him out when he whines around that time and that’s when he will not stop screaming. Then since we cant take it we will usually put him in his playpen in the living room but is up around 5 & continuously will bark and scream even after being let out and fed. I know he’s just screaming for attention but it’s been over 2 months and still no signs of stopping, we’re both so tired

June 29, 2022

Hyde's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashlyn, Some puppies are a lot more persistent than others, and that's probably part of what's going on. It also sounds like pup has been rewarded with attention for barking over the past months, so what started as something pretty normal (An hour of barking is pretty normal at first for the more persistent pups), has now become a pretty strong habit because pup has learned that if they are loud and persistent they get what they want (attention). For this to improve, with the exception of potty breaks, pup needs to stop getting attention for it - even when that means an hour of barking. Since pup is young, I would commit to one really consistent week and not give in no matter how long the barking is, as long as you know pup has been potty recently enough. I would start by practicing confining pup away from you during the day, and practicing the Surprise method - where you will reward any quietness, to help pup learn that quietness is the way to get good things, not barking. You can go ahead and skip to the section in the method where the crate door is closed with pup inside. Surprise method: After a week, you should start to see some improvement. Because the barking has been going on so long and pup has gotten used to someone sleeping by the crate, it probably won't be resolved completely in one week, but it should be a noticeable improvement in how long pup cries before getting quiet, and that amount of time barking should decrease more and more, until you are looking at a brief protest or no protest when you crate. Continue practicing the Surprise method during the day over the next month though. If after a week, you see zero improvement and pup is barking for hours every night, I would correct the barking with an interrupter like a pet convincer, in addition to teaching Quiet and practicing the Surprise method during the day. I don't recommend going straight to this approach. It's likely that if you will just practice the Surprise method during the day and put up with a few very long nights, pup's barking will decrease that way, but some pups need that interrupter. Either way it's good to practice ignoring that barking and the surprise method for a week, so that even if you do end up needing to correct, pup will respond to it better after the previous week's training. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. At this point, only ignore or correct when he barks (after attending to any potty needs and putting pup back into the crate); don't give any treat during the middle of the night, only practice with treats during the day - but don't skip the daytime practice because that will help pup respond well during the night. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 30, 2022


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