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 Crate Training Method

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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?

The Schedule Method

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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

Effective
0 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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Anous
Poodle x boomer
15 Weeks
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Question
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Anous
Poodle x boomer
15 Weeks

Hi, its now the 4th day we have him here, but we don’t really know what to do. We have to sleep in the living room, otherwise he will not constantly bark. But even when we sleep in the living room he will still bark, once or twice, and then stop. We don’t want to put his crate in the bedroom, so we feel like we don’t really have an other option. Can you please give advice for this. I do let him rest in the crate through at day time, and then he only whines and barks if we are in the same room.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Joudia, First, check out the the Surprise method from the article linked below. I suggest following that method during the day to teach quietness in the crate when you aren't so tired. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Only give treats and use the Surprise method during the daytime. At night there are a couple of other things you can try: 1. Put him to bed a bit early (everyone else go to bed and do things like read so the house is quiet but you aren't exhausted and ready to go to sleep yet if he barks for a couple hours - ignore the barking and do NOT go in the den or sleep with him. Only go to him if it has been at least 4 hours since he last pottied when he cries. Get everyone ear plugs for this period. Any potty trips at night or early morning should be super boring, on leash, without play or treats, then straight back to the crate after. Two weeks of being firm about letting him cry it out at night and working on the Surprise method during the day works for most puppies - this approach feels gentler than option #2 but takes longer generally. After the three nights of being firm most puppies will cry for about 30 minutes for the next two weeks before going to sleep for the night, then stop crying in the crate normally after that. Those first three nights can involve long crying spells though and you have to be firm and consistent for th training to work best. #2 The second option is to discipline the barking. Work on the Surprise method during the day so he will understand how to be quiet in the crate and be rewarded for that. When he cries, use a small rolled up towel with rubber bands around it to keep it rolled or a pet convincer to interrupt the barking. You can either tell him "Ah Ah", and bump the towel against the crate to interrupt him, then leave again, or tell him "Ah Ah" and spray a small puff of unscented air through the crate wires at his side (NOT face), then leave. During the daytime when he stays quiet for a few minutes after doing this, then return and sprinkle a few treats through the crate wires as a reward for quietness, then leave again. Repeat correcting whenever he barks and cries, rewarding when he is quiet, and do all of this with a calm attitude and not in anger or excitement. At night only correct - don't give food. Only use unscented air. Don't use citronella - it lingers too long to not be confusing and is too harsh for a dog's sensitive nose. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Luna
Shorkie
4 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Luna
Shorkie
4 Months

My family just gave Luna to me for Christmas-shes a Shih tzu x Yorkie. They have had her for almost 2 months and she's been doing well with training- she's even been sleeping through the night for them, but not for me. I'm guessing its the change in routine (placement of kennel, me being around, its only been 3 days with me around). She's learning her name well, doing well with sit command but even though water/food isn't given a few hours before bed (cut off 7-8, bed at 10), and we play before bed ...she'll go in her kennel fine to GO to bed, not even a bark, but then is up in 3 hours, then every 2 hours all night long..barking like crazy to be let out.

I let her bark 5+ mins before getting up. Take her out, don't play with her and just outside to do her business and back in. She gets a 'good girl' or treat then back in kennel, cover down and bed. Her kennel is 10 ft from me.

Is there something i should be doing differently? I'm trying to disuade attention barking even at her young age, but don't want to miss the "i really need to pee' barking. Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kellie, Congratulations on the new puppy. At her age she should be able to hold her bladder for up to four hours while awake. If she barks before it has been that long since the last potty trip, then I suggest ignoring her. I believe she is barking for attention. Also, when you take her potty at night, I suggest not giving her a treat. During the day treats are great for that, but you want to keep night trips super boring with no extra attention or rewards so that she won't ask to go just to get attention or food. The first three nights you try ignoring her barking before it has been four hours since the last pee trip expect a lot of barking, especially since the barking got her out of the crate before, but if you stay consistent she should start to improve within a week in most cases. Moving her out of your room and using a baby monitor to listen for any true pee related wake ups will probably help too. That is not completely necessary at this point if you want her in your room but it usually makes the process go faster. Many people choose to crate puppies in walk-in closets and bathrooms connected to their bedroom because then the puppy is close-by but can't see them so don't wake up as often. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Atlas
Shepherd/black mouth cur
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Atlas
Shepherd/black mouth cur
6 Months

Dog wakes up everyday at 5 am. I get up then for the gym on week days but weekends I sleep in. Is he conditioned to get up at 5 am? He still gets up

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eric, Dogs have internal clocks like people so his internal clock is likely set to 5am. I suggest crate training him and stuffing hollow chew toys, like large Kong with his breakfast the night before the weekend. When he wakes up at 5am, take him potty, put him into the crate with the food stuffed toys (so that he will work for his breakfast), and go back to bed. Correct or ignore any non-potty related barking in the crate. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Pip
cockapoo
5 Months
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Pip
cockapoo
5 Months

Pip goes to bed in his crate no problem but wakes up and barks twice in the night, usually about an hour after bed and again at around 3am. It starts as a small wood then escalates to full barking. We can’t leave him to bark for long as we have close neighbours. What can we do to stop the barking?? We put the crate in our bedroom for a while which worked for 2 nights and then he went back to bad habits.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Esme, If the wake ups happen at least 5-6 hours since his last potty trip, he probably really needs to go potty once awake. When you take him potty, take him on a leash, keep the trip super boring (no play or treats or affection), give him about five minutes to do his business outside, then bring him back inside and put him into the crate. If he barks before 5-6 hours (like the one hour time after bed, or when you put him back into the crate after taking him potty), then use a Pet Convincer to correct him - A Pet Convincer is a small canister of pressurized unscented air. First, teach him what "Quiet" means by following the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below, practice during the day. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark When you put him back into the crate after taking him potty, or he wakes up and barks before he needs a potty break, tell him "Quiet". If he does not get quiet, spray a small puff of air from the Pet Convincer at his side through the crate holes (Do NOT spray him in the face). The puff of air will not hurt but it should surprise him enough to stop his barking. After you spray him, leave. Repeat this every time that he barks. Also, practice crating him during the day for at least an hour. Tell him "Quiet" if he barks. If he gets quiet and stays quiet for at least three minutes, go over to his crate and sprinkle a couple small treats inside, then leave again. Every 5-10 minutes that he stays quiet in a row sprinkle treats into his crate calmly without letting him out. Whenever he barks, correct him with a puff of air at his side, then leave again. Only use treats during the day because you do not want him to wake up to eat during the night or have to go potty from eating. The rewards during the day for being quiet will help him learn what to do instead of bark - be quiet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Teddy
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
5 Months
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Question
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Teddy
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
5 Months

We have crate trained Teddy since we got him.His crate is in the kitchen. For the past few weeks he is barking constantly at night. We are going to let him out if it's been a few hours since he used the toilet but he often doesn't go. We don't make any fuss or give treats when we go to him in the night. He will bark for an hour then be quiet for a couple of hours then start barking again. Please help, we are all very sleep deprived.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sue, It sounds like he has a history of being fine in the crate - so this isn't a crate introduction need, and the barking might be related to him getting older and less sleepy and simply demanding your attention and wanting to play...If that's the case and there isn't some medical need like needing to potty constantly (which it doesn't sound like is the case), then I suggest correcting the barking at this point. Teach Quiet during the day by following the Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once he understands a bit of what Quiet means, at night when he barks and it's been less than 6 hours since he peed, tell him Quiet. If he gets quiet, great! Go back to bed but don't give treats at night (quiet is just his warning to be quiet so he understands what comes next). If he doesn't get quiet or starts barking again after stopping you can do one of two things: 1. Walk over to his crate, tell him "Ah Ah" and through the crate wires, and spray a small puff of unscented air at his side (not face) through the crate. After correcting, leave again...the entire thing should be done calmly. Repeat the calm corrections whenever he barks until he goes to sleep. 2. Option 2, whenever he barks, tell him "Ah Ah" and use a rolled up dish towel with rubberbands around it to keep it rolled up, bump the rolled up towel against the side of the crate by his side, then leave again. Repeat this calmly each time he barks. During the day when you crate, when he stays quiet for longer periods of time in the crate, return to him and sprinkle treats in to encourage the quietness, and give a food stuffed hollow chew toy (if you stuff one and freeze, freeze it with a straw through it and take the straw out before giving it to him - to create a hole in it to prevent suction when he licks it). Correct barking the same way you did at night in the crate during the day, except you can also give treats if he stays quiet for a few minutes, then calmly walk away again after sprinkling the treats in. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Carbon
Labrador Retriever
4 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Carbon
Labrador Retriever
4 Months

My pup needs my attention at nights and wants me to be with him ! Which I can’t do all times ! My sleep is getting disturbed ! I don’t know how to manage !

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kavya, If he doesn't have to go potty (it's been less than 5 hours while awake or 8 while asleep), then he doesn't actually need your attention at night - he needs to sleep too. Try to keep that in mind to help you stay consistent with the following. You need to let him cry when you know he doesn't have to go potty. He needs to practice learning to self-sooth and settle down and go to sleep. Whenever he cries and you go to him, he learns that crying gets him attention and fun so he cries even more. He is likely waking and crying because it has been rewarded with fun and affection and when you are a puppy, why sleep when you could be having fun...But sleep is what he needs as much as you do. Ignore the crying when he doesn't truly need to pee. Crate him at night so he will learn to settle down and sleep, and correct the crying with a Pet Conviner - which is a small canister of pressurized unscented air blown at his side quickly through the crate holes when he cries, if he continues to cry for more than a week even though you are ignoring the cries. It may sound very harsh and be hard to ignore his cries but he needs sleep for his proper development too, and you will do a better job of taking care of him and you if you get the sleep you need also - this may be a hard thing but he needs to learn it, and he is capable of learning. Know that most puppies will cry while adjust to the crate and sleeping alone, and if not crated many puppies will wake you up at night - so crating is an important part of raising a puppy to be healthy and happy and well trained so they can enjoy life with you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucy
Labrador Retriever
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Lucy
Labrador Retriever
8 Weeks

We got the puppy on Monday. We are having trouble getting her to settle at night and she doesn't like been by herself. She goes outside for wees and poops. The only thing we need help with is at night time. She has her own little area under the stairs with her bed and some soft toys. Any help would be appreciated

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Miss Lynda, First, barking while crate training the first two weeks is completely normal. She needs to be given time to learn to self-sooth and learn to self-entertain. Don't let her out while barking unless she needs to go potty, and when you do let her out if you can try to wait until she is quiet for 1-2 seconds so her freedom is associated with being quiet and you are not encouraging more barking. Second, check out the article linked below. You can practice all of the methods but pay special attention to the Surprise method. Do this method whenever you can. If you don't have time to ease her into crate training most puppies will still adjust in two weeks (many only take three days), but doing the surprise method whenever you can should speed things up. In that method it talks about giving a food-stuffed Kong, I highly suggest doing that during the day to give her something to do while in the crate - you can even feed all of her meals that way and as treats at this age to keep her entertained. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Don't give food at night. She will likely wake up 2 times to go potty at night at this age. When you take her potty, take her on a leash, keep the trip very boring - no treats, play, food, or excitement, then calmly put her right back into the crate after she goes potty to go back to bed. Following this routine usually helps puppies sleep through the night sooner because they don't wake up for reasons other than needing to go potty - which they should outgrow and their bladders grow. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ellie
Shih Tzu
14 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Ellie
Shih Tzu
14 Weeks

We work all day so Ellie is in a fenced in area with a pee pad that she uses very well, an eating section and then a play and bed section. She gets tons of toys that only are used in there. We do a little kong with peanut butter. Turn on tv and a fan. We come home and let her out for about an hour at lunchtime. She barks all day. She will bark for 15 min then lay down for 5. And continues the process. Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rhonda, First, if you are less than 2 weeks into this, she may just need more time to adjust. If it is past the initial two weeks, work on teaching things that help develop impulse control: 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/ Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Next, correct the barking early before she gets overly worked up. If she barks while you are home in another room, then you can use a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of unscented, pressurized air. Tell her "Ah Ah", then spray a small puff of air at her side and leave again. If the barking only happens when you leave the house, then use a vibration collar - the smallest model you can find for her side, and with multiple vibration intensity settings if you can find it. Set up a camera to spy on her using something like two smart phones, tablets, or computers with Skype or Facetime on mute on her end, Go Pro camera with Live app, baby video monitor, or security camera. Every time she barks, vibrate the collar to interrupt her. When she stops for five seconds, then return to her, sprinkle a couple treats into the pen, then ignore her in the pen for 10 minutes while you pretend to get things done around the house - you don't want your entrance to be super exciting and always mean immediate freedom. Correct with the vibration if she barks at you. When she is quiet and it has been 10 minutes, then let her out of the pen, but when you do so, open the door slowly and when she tries to rush out, close it again. Practice opening and closing the door until you can open it all the way and she will stay inside the pen and wait. When she will wait, then tell her "Okay" and let her come all the way out - you want her to calm down in relation to the pen, and going in and out of it more slowly can help with that. Next, for longer term maintenance and entertainment you can also look into something like Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer - which will periodically reward her by releasing a treat for staying quiet if you set it that way. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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