Getting a puppy is one of the happiest, most exciting, AND most exhausting times of your life. Puppies are hard work – fact.
But with the right training, care, and attention, your puppy can grow up to be the happy, healthy, well-trained dog it deserves to be. If you’ve recently adopted a puppy, you’re probably considering crate training.
Crate training is one of the best things you can do for your puppy, and without slow introductions and a lot of consistency, the right crate training can serve them well for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, crate training isn’t always easy.
In fact, some puppies will do nothing but howl or bark the house down in the crates, even if you’ve been crate training them correctly. So, what does this mean for your puppy, and how can you stop it?
Why Do Puppies Bark In Their Crates?
When you start crate training, a little barking and whining is common. Your puppy is excited (probably overtired), and has lots of love to give you – so why would it want to be stuck in a crate away from you?
If your puppy is keeping you up all night barking in their crate, you’re not alone! This is INCREDIBLY common (if not normal) to begin with.
Your pup is likely to be experiencing some separation anxiety and a little fear about being in their crate all alone. When you consider it from your pup’s perspective, it’s understandable.
As annoying as it can be to wake up throughout the night to your pup crying, you should NEVER punish them for barking in their crate.
Sure, you’re bound to be a little annoyed, but punishment is not the effective long-term solution you might think it is. For your pup to enjoy their time in the crate, they’ll need to feel safe and secure.
Once they feel like that, they won’t want to bark – they’ll just be happy to settle down and go to sleep.
However, if you start punishing your pup for barking or howling in the crate, you’re building negative associations with it, and giving them more reasons to feel scared. Your pup needs to trust you, so approach this carefully.
How To Stop A Puppy Barking In Their Crate?
Although some barking and whining on the first few nights in the crate is normal, there are a few things you can do to help your pup. If they start whining or barking, see if they need to potty.
Take them out for a potty trip before bed and give them the chance to go. It’s possible your pup is uncomfortable and needs to relieve themselves. Once they’ve been, put them back in the crate and see if they settle.
If they don’t, your pup may simply be lonely. If you can, place your crate close to your bed and place items with your scent on inside the crate. This may help them settle down for a good night’s sleep.
It’s also possible that your pup is simply bored. If they haven’t had enough mental or physical stimulation in the day, they’re more likely to demand your attention at night time.
So, a little extra play time during the day (or a few hours before bed), can be a good way to help them blow off some steam and calm down before bedtime.
If none of the above are working, here are a few extra measures you can take to make your pup feel comfortable:
- Play white noise, or place a ticking clock next to their crate to avoid total silence
- Play soothing music for them to fall asleep to
- Place a heated toy or chew-proof water bottle in the crate to stimulate a litter mate. This may tackle the loneliness and help them settle on their first few nights
- Comfort and reinforce them when they’re quiet
- Put their favorite chew toy in the crate
Get Them Used To The Crate
If you’re planning to crate your puppy on its first night, you’ll need to try and get them used to the crate in the daytime.
Crate training is a slow, gradual process, but you can help build positive associations with the crate during the day. Leave the doors open for them to explore, encourage them inside with treats, and leave toys in the crate.
Should You Ignore A Puppy Barking In A Crate?
Yes and no, depending on your pup. Most pups will stop barking between 15-30 minutes after being in the crate.
However, if you need to let them out, never do it while they’re barking – open the door when they’ve stopped, otherwise, they’ll associate barking with release from the crate.
How Long Does It Take For Puppies To Stop Barking In The Crate?
Nighttimes with a barking pup can be tough, but most pups tend to stop barking between 5-7 days. Some will stop sooner and others may take longer – this will depend on your pup, and the methods you use to calm them.
What Should You Put In A Puppy’s Crate At Night?
You’ll want to keep your puppy feeling calm and happy in their crate, but when it comes to nighttime, you’ll need to be careful what you leave in there with them.
At nighttime, most puppies will only need a few items – usually just a blanket and a toy. We’d recommend giving them a blanket or toy with their mum’s scent, and the scent of their littermates, to prevent anxiety.
You can also add in some items with your own scent on to calm them. However, if your puppy is particularly destructive, you’ll want to be restrictive.
Just one blanket should suffice, and you should avoid putting any extra toys inside the crate.
If their barking or whining is persisting for a few more days, we’d recommend putting something like a Kong or a Bully Stick chew in the crate with them.
Just be careful when introducing these things to the crate, as sometimes, their contents can be a choking hazard. Choose treats for enrichment toys carefully.
Although some barking and whining on the first few nights are common, it can be distressing. However, there are a few things you can do to calm your pup down, and build positive associations with the crate.