What to do When Your Puppy Whines at Night

46 | Posted:

 

Stockxpert.com

Stockxpert.com

QUESTION:

My 8 week old puppy won't sleep in her cage and when ever she is in it she whines even if I'm still beside her and no body can sleep what should we do?

ANSWER:

Brittany, it's a good thing that you're asking now rather than waiting several more months when the behavior is even worse. This is a common problem that many new puppy owners have. And it's made worse when they let the whining puppy out because then the pup quickly learns that whining works and now, can whine for hours on end.

While people might think that just nixing the crate expectations will solve the problem-you're right in pursuing the issue. Your pup gets frustrated and anxious when she can't get to you on her own terms. Right now it's just the crate but down the road you'd probably find the same results if you separate her from you by putting her in another room, on the other side of a babygate or just tethering her by leash on the other side of your backyard.

Crate Training Starts by Feeding the Pup All of Her Meals in Her Crate

The first thing you can do is feed all over your pups meals in her crate. If your dog really dislikes being confined, start by feeding her daily meals just outside the crate. When she's comfortably eating her meals in this new location, move the food just inside the crate so that she has to stick his head in to eat. Within a days or two, you should be able to move the feeding location farther in the crate so that she has to step in with her front feet. In this manner, move the feeding location farther and farther in. Once she easily goes in and out on his own, which usually takes no more than a few days, you can start shutting the door while she's eating or putting her in with a special toy, which can be a Nylabone® Rhino or a tasty bone. As soon as he's finished, or just before, open the door to let him out. You can also randomly place secret food surprises for Fido to find in her crate. Try peanut butter smeared on the back wall of the crate or pieces of hot dog under his blanket. This process sounds like it will take a long time, but in reality it usually takes less than a week, even with adult dogs that don't like the crate.

Put Really Tough Puppies through the Learn to Earn Program

If the above method doesn't work within a week or her behavior gets worse, it's time to teach Fido that they only way she gets your attention is when she sits or lies down away from you. This is part of what is called the Learn to Earn Program where dogs learn to say please by sitting to get whatever they want.

First Teach Her To Say Please By Sitting

This starts first by teaching her to sit automatically to get treats from you. Just hold the bite-sized treats in your hand and stand completely still. When she sits, immediately get the treat to her while she's still sitting. Then give her a few more treats sequentially for remaining seated. For fast training, it's best to have her earn her entire meal for automatically sitting but spread it out a kibble at a time, throughout the day. If she's earning 100-200 kibble for sitting and remaining seated, she'll learn to sit when she wants things from you virtually overnight.

[Watch the MannersMinder DVD chapters on say please by sitting which is soon to appear on the Online Animal Behavior Courses at www.AskDryin.com/elearning]

 

Next Apply the Automatic Sit to Other Situations

Next it's time to apply the sit to other things she wants. One exercise is called the “leave-it game.” Have her on leash and toss a treat out of her range. When she gets to the end of the leash, she'll pull for a few seconds, then when she figures out she can't get the treat she'll come back and sit and look at you. When she does, give her a treat for the polite “say please” behavior and then a few more for continuing to look at you. When she's stable at looking at you then reward the eye contact by letting her get the treat on the floor. The goal of this exercise is to teach her self control. That instead of impulsively demanding what she wants, she controls her excitement and asks politely you by politely sitting and looking at you.

Now Train Her That Sitting or Lying Down Calmly Get Her Your Attention

Ok, now for the real work. She knows to automatically sit for treats and to get an item that's out of her reach. Now we are going to make you the item out of her reach that she must sit or lie down calmly for in order to gain access. Tether her 2-10 feet away from you while you watch T.V. or are engaged in some other activity. Ignore her pulling, whining, pacing to get to you. When she sits politely, give her several treats in a row and/or pet her for 5 seconds at a time if she'll remain seated when you do so. Then toss a treat on the floor so she'll get up and you can repeat the exercise. You may need to wait 20-30 minute for the first sit. But if your timing is good and you pair the reward with her sitting, then next sit will take probably ½ the time. And shortly thereafter she'll be sitting every 30 seconds.

The goal is that the lightbulb goes on and she understands that sitting or lying down quietly is what makes you give her your attention. From now on the only way she gets your attention is for sitting and you continue to practice tethering her away from you so you have many opportunities to make it clear that calming sitting or lying down gets her what she wants. Once she's making the association you can walk away and then come back while she's still sitting or lying down. Now you're working on a sit or down-stay.

[Refer to Chapter 22 in How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves or stay tuned for the Online Education portion of AskDrYin.com]. First come back frequently and then wait longer and longer in between. Also practice walking out of the room. She must sit or lie down before you approach her.

Now Transfer the Training to the Crate

Now have her go in her crate and block her from coming right out. You can do this by shoving your hand with a treat right in her face to block her path out. Once she's stopped guide her into a sit with an additional treat. Better yet have her lie down.

[Refer to Chapter 21 in How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves or to the MannersMinder DVD or stay tuned for the Online Education portion of ]http://www.AskDrYin.com]

Once she's sitting or lying down continue with a few more treats every few seconds or a short petting bouts, then stand back and go back and reward her again for remaining in place. Then let her out of the crate. Now she's getting treat and petting rewards for going into her crate and lying down and she gets the added reward of coming out. Repeat this until she acts like she's clearly having fun running into the crate because it predicts that she will earn your attention and get to run out. Now, with the door still open add a down or sit stay. That is, work on being able to be far away or in the other room. I find the easiest way to do this is to practice when I'm watching T.V. or working on menial tasks around the house. And, actually, I'm really lazy, so rather than my going back and forth, I prefer to use a MannersMinder, a remote controlled food-reward dispenser, to automatically dispense food at set intervals or to dispense using the remote control.

Switch to Closing the Crate Door

Next for that all-important final phase. Have the pup go into the crate and lie down, close the door, feed her treats, then open the door while she's still lying down and let her out. So the door should just be closed for a short amount of time. Short enough so she's just thinking about treats and rewards and not how she's locked inside. Then systematically increase the time she's in the crate.

Again, at this stage, I prefer to use the MannersMinder so that I can walk away and reward her with food rewards while I'm far away. The goal is that the treats are coming frequently enough so that she is focused on the food and that I get back before she has a chance to get anxious. So I can increase the interval between treats sequentially from 5 to 7, 10, 15 or more seconds as long as the puppy remains relaxed, lying down, and focused on the food rather than looking like she wants out.

By the beginning of this stage, your problem pup should already be relaxed in the crate because she's learned overall that remaining calm is what gives her access to you. And this final stage should go really fast.

The End Results

For me it would probably just take a day or two to get through this program, but it may take you a bit longer since you aren't being coached through each stage. In any case, if you can get her to understand that being calm and control her emotions is what gives her access to you, you'll have a puppy who can quietly sleep in her closed crate whenever you want! If you're still having problems in a week or two it's time to find professional help for her. Fast!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

46 responses to “What to do When Your Puppy Whines at Night

  1. Here’s a tip from one reader (who could get her wordpress ID to work last night).
    “Susan Garrett actually has a really fantastic method to stop whining at night, which I and several friends have tried with great success. On the first night, you put the pup’s crate on a chair right next to the bed, so you and the puppy are sort of sleeping “together” and can hear each other breathe. She even recommends sticking your fingers through the wire for a few minutes. It worked really well for me! Then on subsequent nights I just moved the chair away from the bed little by little, and then onto the floor. Not a peep! (Of course, this is no substitute for getting the pups to love the crate, as you recommend, but on puppy’s first few nights home most people don’t achieve that level of training, I think! They just want to try and get a little sleep!)
    This tip was on on her blog http://www.susangarrettblog.com and is also in a “training tips” ebook that she published.
    Cheers!

    Lisa B.”
    Sounds like this is a great quick and dirty method for young pups when you first get them! Definitely worth a try! Any other tips from anyone else?
    Sophia
    —–

    1. This was a FANTASTIC suggestion! Our 6 week old puppy cried for at least 20 minutes on her first night, but when I stumbled across your tip it saved the night! When we put the crate next to our bed on a chair She immediately calmed down and fell asleep!

      Thank you for your Tip! I just wish it was easier to find, so more people could try it

      1. This totally saved us last night! She screamed for over an hour the night before and hardly made a peep last night! Than you!!’

        1. Help! I just got my puppy 4 nights ago and I went from having the create next to me, to putting her on my bed, to now leaving her in the living room all alone. She already cried for an hour, fell asleep, and she’s now up again whining. I’m so tortured and feel awful, should I bring her back to my room? I can’t put the crate on a chair because it’s huge. She ha a divider because she’ll grow into it. To top this off, today will be the first day I’ll leave her alone for about 8 hours, what should I do?

    2. I really want to thank you for this imput, my puppy is 2 months old, & I’ve had him just 3 days.The first night, I got no sleep, for his whining. & following your advice, I put the crate on the bed, I didn’t have a chair, & we both sleep 8 hrs, which was just great. I’ll gradually increase the distance away from me in the bedroom, & hopefully, he’ll get past this separation anxiety behavior gradually thanks Rob.

  2. Hello Sophia and all other dog owners reading this.
    My rescued min pin/ chiuaua mix was already a year and a half old when we got her and I have to admit that for the first month or so nights were agony for us. Having decided the dog would sleep in another room than us and with her wanting to sleep with us in the same bed we had to endure night after night of insistent scratching on the bedroom door, whinning and occasional barking. This would go on on and off for hours and had we had a bigger apartment we would move her to the furthest room, but that was not possible.
    It was hard but we decided not to react in any way to the whinning, figuring that even if we went to her just to yell at her she would partly get what she wanted- our attention. So -at the expense of the bedroom door and our sanity (I literaly wanted to cry several times!) after a while she gave up and would sleep in her own bed in her own room quietly all night.
    After that we started wondering what will happen if she ever stays with our friends overnight (in case we go away abroad for vacation) and we started to worry they would have the same ordeal we did. But would probably give up sooner. Anyway, after some thought we bought a comfortable dog cage and put her bed inside and she immediately went to lie on it. No problems there. But sure enough, as we closed the door for the night, the whinning and the scratching began again. This time we tried a different method -one we read about on the internet- everytime she would whine or bark one of us would go and spray her with a water gun. Just a firm “no” and spray. I know it sounds funny -and I felt like an idiot buyin the water gun in a store- or even mean to the dog, but the fact is that water doesn’t harm her, while it annoys her immensely. As I hear is the case with most dogs. We could try the battle of wills again but this worked like a charm. In a week we had silence again and after two weeks or so she would go in her cage by herself, wait to get the dental stick (she gets one every night before sleep- I admit this started as a buyoff for going in the cage willingly) and then she would sleep untillshe is let out in the morning.
    I hope I didn’t bore you with the details, but as we were having these problems I would give everything to know what I know now.
    Best regards,
    Ina

  3. Sounds like a good idea I have a new mini pin puppy who crys andrew whines so loud even though she can see me. I am sure anyone who heard her must think, she is killing that dog..

  4. I dont have a comment but my puppy whines all the time no matter what time of day or if someone’s right next to him or not…!!! Please help

  5. I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT he barks A LOT. . So, leaving home is always a challenge for us.
    My husband and I were thinking about taking him to ‘doggy school’, but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest ‘doggy school’ is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

  6. I just got my puppy about 5 days ago. He doesn’t sleep in a crate, he sleeps in my room with me. I live with my parents and they have a dog too that sleeps in their room because their dog keeps trying to dominate mine. My puppy will start whining at night and in the morning and the lack of sleep for me is severe. I thought maybe he needed to pee so I let him outside a few minutes and he didn’t do anything. I’m not sure what to do, any advice would be so much appreciated. Thank you.

  7. Hi my pup is 12 weeks old. She sleeps towards the back of the house and it can get cold so have put things in place to keep her warm I.e. Hot water bottle and a jumper (that she loves!). She has wee pads that she is good at using during the night.
    When I put her to bed she goes to sleep. She may wake up a couple of times to wee and may have a little sook still but settles herself again shortly after. My problem is when it hits between 4:30-5:30am she wakes up for a poo and then cries incessantly and it drives us mad.
    I can only get her to stop for until I get up (no affection or proper acknowledgement) tell her to get in her bed (she does) and wait there like a zombie for 15-30 mins until she sleeps again. If I walk away too soon she gets up and follows and cries again. I want to give her tough love and its been working but this last hurdle is making an unhappy household. What else should I try? I’m considering feeding her dinner later than normal i.e. 1-2hours later to think maybe her toilet schedule will push back as well.

    Also where she sleeps is in the same room as the fire place. We want to start using it but I think the bright light in her usual darkness affects her. -and it’s the worst night ever. How do I get her used to it?

    1. I have the same problem with my puppy and she sleeps in bed with me. She wants to begin her day at 4 a.m. she was taken from her mother at 5 weeks and I got her from a friend who couldn’t take the lack of sleep, at 5 weeks and 5 days. The vet said that she was taken too early and that being this young, she still gets hungry at 4. So, I heat up some milk and pour over a little bit of puppy food and it works well most of the time. She laps it up and falls back asleep.you might try this depending on how young your puppy is.

  8. I just got a toy Australian Shepard that was sort of mistreated before by her previous owner. She likes to whine and sometimes bark when we lay in our bed and she is in the room (I assume for attention). When I take her outside to go potty she will just stay by my feet and won’t even attempt to go then as soon as I bring her back inside she will pee somewhere on the carpet BUT she will poop on the puppy pads thank goodness. Also I am trying every method I have seen to crate train her but she refuses to even try the crate. I mean I have only done this for one day but I would think she would at least attempt to go in it sometimes. If you have any advice for me I would highly appreciate it! Thank you!

    1. Leave her out side till she goes sit down and relax where ever u can and just wait for her to go my one dog did that and it drove me nuts so I just waiting till she went

    2. make a line of treats to the cage and then sit down on the back side opposite the door after building a barrier so that she can’t get past the cage. this will lead her to the door of the cage and force her to go in to the cage in order to get to you and more treats. it may take a while but she will eventually go into the cage and when she does “jackpot” her by feeding her a bunch of treats one by one through the cage opening. then walk away for a brief time and wait for her to stop whining. when she stopped go in and get her out and Jackpot her again with treat and loves. slowly increase the time you leave her in the creation before going back to her after the winning stops until you are at your desired time length. if you go in and take her out when she whines you will only teach her that if she whines load enough or long enough she can get you to come back.

  9. 9 week old puppy wont sleep even when lying next to me will sleep all day but not at night I have tried crating but in the end he whines , scratches and continues to howl .I’m in dire need of sleep one freaking night of full on sleep .

      1. I have the best one yet I have an eight week old puppy I have the best one yet I have an eight week old puppy who does not have a problem being in her crate as long as I’m in the room. She sleeps next to me on the floor in her crate no problem. The minute I leave the room she starts whining and crying and howling and making all kinds of racket I have ignored her I have not given her any attention when she does that. But I’m am gone 2 or 3 hours at a time and she fuses the whole time Im gone…LOUDLY…desperate for some help… any luck?

  10. We hadn’t bought a puppy enclosure before his arrival, thinking confinement was cruel.
    So from his age of 8wks to 10wks he got used to having full access of the living room at night.
    He is an excessive chewer and despite ample chewtoys, he was chewing the couch apart.
    We purchased a playpen an already trained him to accept it, go inside to play, relax, eat, and he’s making progress in beig left alone in there for short periods up to an hour.
    But he wouldn’t accept a whole night in there. His howling and barking is getting loud, we can’t have it during the night due to neighbours.
    Any ideas? Did we just buy the playpen too late and is he never gonna accept it for the night?

    1. Hello, has anything changed for you since then? I’m asking because I got a new 8 week old puppy 2 days ago and we don’t have a crate for her either and we’ve just been sleeping down stairs with her which is okay for now but I will be going to work tomorrow and so will my husband and when I tried to put a baby gate in the bathroom she wined like crazy. I don’t know what to do

  11. Thanks. Great article.

    I am already over this period. What I learned from it is one rule – first thing in the morning – take the pup outside. No teeth brushing etc. Simply take the puppy out. And praise it when it does its thing outside. This way I managed to teach the puppy to ask to go outside within 2 weeks.

    I also recommend reading this article: http://germanshorthairedpointer.pro/bringing-home-a-puppy-the-complete-guide/ – some actionable tips there as well.

    Cheers

  12. My 11 week old puppy loves her cage she’s is in it all day but when I go to sleep and close the cage she seems to whine through the night.how do I stop her from whining?

    1. Perhaps I am taking “all day” too literally, however I am thinking your puppy could use some playtime/exercise before bedtime to help tire out and settle down.

      Try not to respond to your pup while they are whining even if you know they need something. Wait for a short break in the whining- most will calm down even if it’s just a few seconds at a time- and respond while they are settled. It took me some practice to be quick in responding between whines. This way pup associates calmness with gaining your attention versus whining and barking.

  13. My 8 week old lab whined for 3 hours straight before I finally gave in. How long do I let them whine before giving in? I can’t let her win and sleep in my bed, but I’m afraid she’s going to be keeping my neighbors, and myself, from sleep. She eats just fine in her crate, and she will be calm when I am sitting beside it when she is in there. But as soon as I leave the room, the whining, barking and howling begins.

      1. I’m having the same issue.. my 7 week old husky does pretty good until about 3 in the morning.. I take her for her potty break than put her back inside her crate but she thinks for some reason its playtime I’m not sure how to break this habit she whined for an hour and half straight till I finally gave in and played with her till she fell asleep for about an hour than whined again…

    1. I have this same issue! My puppy is fine being in the crate during the day with the door open but at night freaks out. Last night he howled for hours and we’re kind of at a loss for what to do. Have y’all made any improvement in your situation?

      1. We are having the same issue! Our puppy is 10 weeks old. She did great the first two nights home when we had her in our children’s old playpen but the third night was horrid. So we got a crate knowing that would last longer. She will voluntarily go into it during the day and be fine as long as the door is open and she will sleep in it during the day as long as we are around. But at night she will cry and scratch and move the bottom and cry and whine so it sounds like she is dying. I take her out thinking she has to go, sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t so I’m sure she can go more than 3 hours at night by now. What do I do? We can’t keep the crate in our room because our room is too small and I would have to climb over it to get off of my bed.

  14. I just got a 3 month boxer/heeler mix. We’ve had him for 2 days and he likes going in his crate as long as I’m around (and some treats are involved). As soon as I turn around or walk out of the room he starts to whine. I only lyrics aknowledge him once he starts to settle down. We’re working on it but is 2 days too soon to expect him to be ok and quiet in his crate?

  15. I’m sure I stumbled across this blog like others did. I’m a new dog owner of a 10 week old pitbull. This is her first night in her new home. She started to whimper a bit when my wife would walk away from the crate. My wife also left the crate door open. She would leave the crate and follow my wife to the bedroom. She didn’t let the pup in the bedroom each time. So we moved the crate to our bed side. There was still a bit of whimpering when my wife would leave her side. So I just looked down into the crate and gave her a firm and gentle stare for several seconds and she went to sleep. I wanted to let her know her she was going to be ok through eye contact. It seemed to work…or maybe my pup is just awesome lol

  16. we’ve got an 8 week old puppy. Mom is pitbull mix (saw her) and dad is elkhound mix (what the owners told us) and we’ve had him for 2 weeks now. Kennel training him has been truly exhausting. Since day one we have been putting him in a kennel when we go to sleep and when we leave. He whines, barks, salivates excessively, and it is NON STOP throughout the night and when we leave. (Neighbors told us) We have tried treats and praising him when he goes in the kennel by himself, but as soon as the door closes, its a no-go. I’ve researched how to kennel train and what to do if it is not working and we have tried everything. My wife is ready to give up, but I still want him. He’s my baby and he is perfect except for this behavior. Please please please help me!!

    1. Have you found a solution? I’ve had my puppy for only 4 nights and the tortured I feel when she cries is awful. On top, we will be leaving her alone most day today. I get up at 4 for the gym, but because it’s too early, I don’t think I should confuse her. I’m so confuse and tired. I don’t want to give her up as we alresdy love her, and spend so much money on her as well. But the only one to seem tortured to hear her cry is me. Everyone else is sound asleep. How do we get through this?

  17. We have an 8 week old puppy and he constantly crys if he isn’t on the couch with us or in our bed. We will push him away from the couch and tell him thats enough to go play but he comes back over and over again even if we let him on the couch he will still cry. We try to keep him quiet because we have a 2 year old who needs sleep. If we don’t let him in our bed he will go wake up our son and sometimes even when he is sleeping with us he still crys. I don’t know what to do

  18. I amn going through the same Ive had my chihuahua five days he ant slept without whining I gave in to I’m last nite got up at 2.30 sat in the room with I’m and he got in is crate asoon as I move to go bac to bed he got out tried everything I’m just worrying about lady in apartment underneath me I’m at my wits end

  19. Help! I just got my puppy 4 nights ago and I went from having the create next to me, to putting her on my bed, to now leaving her in the living room all alone. She already cried for an hour, fell asleep, and she’s now up again whining. I’m so tortured and feel awful, should I bring her back to my room? I can’t put the crate on a chair because it’s huge. She ha a divider because she’ll grow into it. To top this off, today will be the first day I’ll leave her alone for about 8 hours, what should I do? However, I already bought everything I needed, but I know she’ll cry most of the day. How long would it take for her to get use to this? I’m doubting myself about having a pup. Did I make the right choice. I’m desperate and can’t sleep. It’s 1:46 a.m.

  20. Hello everybody. I have a 5 w.o. franchement bulldog and she likes being very cozy at night or whenever sleeping. First she slept with us on the bed between me and my spouse. She peed on the bed twice with us not even noticing… so I had the crate on the side of my bed for the next night without closing it. I’m new to crate train a dog the last one a pug slept with us and did everything she wanted to do, eat and else.. (we had her for 8 years) but not wanting to repeat the spoiliness the crate seemed the best idea. The first night she went to sleep inside. We today left her in the living room so that our two cats don’t feel jealous since they like to sleep, literally on top of me and when the crate was in the bedroom they wouldn’t come inside. Anyways, the pup, cocó, started winning so I put a warm bottled wrapped with a used t-shirt… she stopped winning and now is sleeping.. hopefully it works. My main concern is how to potty training her…?? Are pads the best idea?? I took her outside to the balcony but is too windy and cold… so she doesn’t poop nor pee any suggestions? THANKS!

  21. I’m just glad to see I’m not alone in being frustrated! I have a 7 week old Chow Chow, have had her for 3 days now and I’m at a loss. I was under the impression she was pee pad trained but has yet to look at them much less touch or go on them. The crate hasn’t come until today so I had her in the bathroom the last 2 nights because she is a super fast pee’er and keeps peeing on the carpet (she hasn’t pooped once in the house though). The first night she went into the bathroom like a champ, but woke the house up at 4:45 with crying and whining so I took her out. There was a few more crys when I put her back in there but she tired herself until later in the morning. Last night though was hell. She cried going into the bathroom (for what felt like forever), again woke at 4:45 so I took her out. More crying when she went back in the bathroom and it was LOUD. I feel bad about my downstairs neighbors but I don’t want to give into the crying. I went and stood in the bathroom, she picked up her bone and settled down almost immediately. After a few minutes I left, back to the crying. She finally stopped after about 15-20 min until about 7:30.
    In addition to the crate, I have a pen as well because she will be alone while I have to work and I don’t want her locked in a crate during the day and sleep in it at night. She seems to just want to know someone is there, does it ever end?! 😂 I’m gonna try the crate next to my bed but it will be a large crate with a divider for her to grow into so I dont believe I can put it on a chair…
    If anyone has any suggestions, I’ll try anything!

  22. My dog is 8 and all of a sudden he is whining at night . I let him out and he tries to poop but he only passes air . Then it’s repeated again maybe half hour later . All in all he has been unsettled for about a week now from about midnight onwards . Help !

  23. I was dying listening to my pup scream for 30 min like he was dying in the crate and found this forum. I skeptically put the crate on my bed right by my body and talked to him stuck my fingers in and let him cry. 5 minutes later he stopped and was quiet the whole night. The day after he has been going in there for naps. Even though his little sister is staying here with him tonight he went voluntarily into the crate which is now back on the floor but in sight to sleep quietly alone! The door is even open. It is a miracle after unsuccessful tries to put him in there where he can see me before the bed trick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *