How to Train a Puppy to Stop Barking at Night

Medium
2-6 Weeks
Behavior

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.

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.

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.

The Schedule Method

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Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Alarm Clock Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
2 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Crate Training Method

ribbon-method-1
Least Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Christina Gunning

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Sky
Siberian Husky
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sky
Siberian Husky
2 Months

She barks in cage and we will be out side and she will go inside just to go to the bathroom

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
941 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michael, Check out the Surprise method for the crate barking, from the article I have linked below for the crate training. You can skip to the part where the crate door is closed if you need to with your schedule. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate For the potty issues, check out the crate training method and tethering method from the article I have linked below. I recommend the crate training method or a combination of the crate training method and tethering method. I would start with just the crate training method though, to help pup adjust to the crate sooner and stop the accidents right now. When you take pup potty outside, take pup on a leash to pup can't go back inside until you take them there. If they go potty, praise and give a treat like the crate training method discusses. If pup doesn't go potty, then bring pup back inside but crate pup for 30-45 minutes, taking pup back outside after that time to try again. Repeat all of this with the crate and trips outside until pup finally goes potty outside. Once pup goes potty outside when pup earns some supervised freedom in the home with an empty bladder. With this method pup only has freedom in the home when their bladder is empty, since potty training works best by preventing accidents through management, so pup will develop a habit of keeping the home clean and start to want to naturally keep it clean themselves too. Crate Training method and Tethering method for potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dexter
Dachshund
10 Weeks
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Question
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Dexter
Dachshund
10 Weeks

We are having a nightmare with sleeping. He was getting good at waking up once in the night for a toilet trip but then waking up again at 5/6am, wide awake and not sleeping. However we have gone backwards, he now has been crying every two hours or so. We take him for a toilet trip (no excitement or interaction with him) and he settles back down. We have tried simply leaving him to cry to self soothe however he doesn’t stop crying (currently at 4 hours of solid crying with no signs of let up). His cries begin as excited attention cries to get out but get more and more distressed as we leave him. He’s chewing at his crate and scratching to get out. We have nowhere in the house we can put him either to ignore his cries so we are completely exhausted and are struggling.

He’s happy in the crate during the day as long as we are around and always takes himself off there for a nap. He just wants our attention but gets himself so worked up in the process. What can we do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
941 Dog owners recommended

Hello Emma, First, I would set up a camera to spy on pup when you leave the home. Two smartphones with skype or zoom or facetime on mute on his end, a baby video monitor, or security monitor, or GoPro with the live App can all be used as camera. If pup does bark when you leave the home, then practice the below from outside your door to get pup used to being alone without being able to see you, like pup is at night. When you leave, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Return and sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, return and spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate or just in his general direction so he hears the noise if he is sensitive, 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. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 2 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Take pup potty when he cries and its been at least two hours. If pup cries after you take them potty when you return them to the crate then calmly and gently correct then. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jack
Cavachon
7 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Jack
Cavachon
7 Months

He previously slept through the night 10 hrs. He not barks all night in crate. He goes down without a problem but no longer stays asleep. After he is taken out in the middle of the night (which is also new) he will not go back in crate. He fights it and then when in he barks. Tonight he has been barking for over 1.5 hrs. He went to the bathroom so I know it’s not that. I feel bad but need sleep!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
941 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anda, It sounds like pup was either testing boundaries by barking in the crate the first time, or perhaps heard something or experienced something that triggered the barking - but now its become a habit. 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. If pup doesn't bark when crated during the day, only at night, then just work on the Quiet method and skip the Surprise method practice during the day, then address nights the way I outline below either way. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. If you go straight to nights and days like this you will probably have about 3 rough nights, with lots of correcting before he gets quiet - don't give in and let him out unless its time for a potty break or this will take much longer! But the overall process will go faster if you can stay strong. You will need to stay very consistent for this to work - expect pup to protest and for you to have to correct a lot the first couple nights. You may want to pretend like you are all going to bed two hours early and read in bed with the lights off - anticipating having to get up a lot the first couple of hours to correct - so that you don't loose as much sleep. If pup is protesting the crate during the day too, don't skip practicing the Surprise method when you are home, some also, but don't give food at night. Ultimately, every ones relationships being healthy and rested is better for pup too. It may also be worth listening out for any noises that are happening in the middle of the night - like an appliance beeping or making a high pitched hum, or neighbor coming and going/dogs barking or howling, ect... that could be bothering pup. If you find that's the case, practice Quiet around that noise often to help desensitize pup to the noise and condition being quiet when they hear it, if it's not something you can simply turn off . Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Cupid
Dachshund
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Cupid
Dachshund
9 Weeks

My puppy barks when we leave his sight… at night when it’s bed time And put him in his crate he barks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
941 Dog owners recommended

Hello Denise, At 9 weeks of age I am guessing that you recently brought pup home within the last couple of weeks? If that's the case, then know that what you are experiencing is completely normal. Pup is getting used to sleeping alone and that's an adjustment. It typically takes about two weeks for most pups to adjust completely, with the first five usually being the worst; however, you can help that adjustment be as smooth as possible by doing the following. 1. When pup cries but doesn't have to go potty (like after you return them to the crate when they just went potty outside) be consistent about ignoring the crying until they go back to sleep. The more consistent you are the quicker the overall process tends to take even if it's hard to do for the first couple weeks. 2. When pup does truly need to go potty (when it's been at least 2 hours since pup last peed), take pup to go potty outside on a leash to keep pup focused and things calmer. Don't give treats, food, play, or much attention during these trips - boring and sleepy is the goal, then right back to bed after. This helps pup learn to only wake when they truly need to go potty and be able to put themselves back to sleep - helping them start sleeping longer stretches sooner and not ask to go out unless they actually need to potty. Pup will generally need 1-2 potty trips at night even after trained for a couple months though due to a small bladder. 3. Wait until pup asks to go potty by crying in the crate at night before you take them - opposed to setting an alarm clock, unless pup is having accidents in the crate and not asking to go out. This gives pup the chance to learn to start falling back to sleep when they wake in light sleep if they don't really need to go potty, instead of being woken up all the way when they could have held it a bit longer. 4. Practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below to help pup get used to crate time during the day too - so that there is less crying at night due to pup adjusting to being alone. Surprise method - only give treats during daytime practice, not at night though: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Leroy
Australian Shepherd
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Leroy
Australian Shepherd
5 Months

I got Leroy at 4 months old and he was almost fully crate trained. Crate training at night came easily with 1-2 nighttime bathroom breaks and he would usually go back to bed with very little fuss. Now at 5 months he has started barking at night more frequently, sometimes its all night. I always take him for a long walk and have play time after dinner to make sure he is tired out. I have also kept his regular night time bathroom breaks the same to make sure he gets out at night, but for some reason he will not stop barking at night now. I follow most of the recommended guidelines for crate training: stay calm, don’t engage, cozy crate space, meal times and treats in crate, etc. I really can’t think of anything we have changed to cause this to start happening all of a sudden. Should we just keep letting him bark all night until it stops? I did move his crate to a different room last night so I could shut the door because I’m not getting any sleep.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
941 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chelsea, A lot of puppies will start testing boundaries around this age. You can either ignore the barking until pup decides you are being consistent and goes back to sleeping normally, or at five months, pup is just old enough to correct the barking. If you choose to correct rather than wait it out, 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. When he cries at night (in the crate - where he needs to be sleeping for now) before it has been 5 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. I would also listen out for any strange noises that may be waking pup, like buzzing or beeping from electronics, neighbors or animals outside making noises, or anything new like that. If you discover something, either fix the noise if you can, or you can desensitize pup to a similar noise during the daytime using treats and play to distract while the noise is in the background (you may need a recording of a similar noise if it only happens at night). How is pup's peeing and pooping? If you notice pup needing to pee a lot more often than normal during the day, or their poop being runny or more than three times a day, I would also check with your vet. A medical issue could also cause lots of night wakeups if pup is truly having to go potty more often at night. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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