Puppy Crying – Tips For Settling New Puppies At Night Or In A Crate

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Puppy Crying - Tips For Settling New Puppies At Night Or In A Crate

Hearing a puppy crying at night can be very distressing for dog owners. Puppies hate to be alone so, when you leave them alone at bedtime, the whining starts. In this article, I will show you why puppies cry because they don’t feel secure in their new home. With this information, you will be able to train your puppy to stop crying as it learns to feel happy and safe with its new family.

Listening to a puppy crying at night can tug at the heartstrings. Apart from the fact that you feel sorry for the poor thing, losing sleep can disrupt your life. Fortunately, the behavior doesn’t last for long, and there are a few ways you can stop it.

This article will show you why puppies cry, before giving you some tips on how to stop crying by teaching them that it isn’t scary to be alone for a while. With time and a little patience, your puppy will soon know that you haven’t abandoned him.

If you are interested, this is only one of our puppy behavior articles. Trust us, we have many, many more!

She Won’t Stop – I Need Help!

Are you wondering when the crying is going to stop? Of course you are, which is why you are reading this article. Don’t worry, all the help you need is here.

We have included loads of information and if you need help finding your way around, here is a handy guide to take you straight to where you want to be.

We’ll give you useful advice to help you cope with crying at night, crying during the day, whining in the crate, and much more. We’ll also show you what is normal for a new puppy and what is not, and when it is reasonable to expect puppies to stop crying.

More importantly, we’ll help you find the quickest way to stop your puppy crying and help him settle in to his new home.

What Went Wrong?

When you bring a cuddly new puppy into the family, most owners are prepared for a few bumps in the road.

They know to expect some potty training problems, and to have their ankles and fingers bitten.

They’ve heard all about teething trouble and the risk of having their chair legs chewed.

And they even know there will be a few tears at bedtime. It’s all part of the process as your puppy develops her own personality.

But, what can be shocking to many new owners is the extent to which some puppies scream, especially at night.

Why don’t we look at why puppies cry before looking at how to stop it by making them much happier. Once they feel secure and loved, you are halfway there!

Puppy Crying - Tips For Settling New Puppies At Night Or In A Crate

Why Do Puppies Cry?

Just like human babies, puppies cry because they are helpless and want someone to meet their needs. They whine to alert their carers that they are in danger and need protection.

Hold on, we put the puppy in the crate at night to keep her safe. Why does she feel like she is in danger?

From a human perspective, when you put your puppy in her crate, you do it to protect her. We put babies in cribs for the same reason, so it is perfectly normal to us.

However, while you know that your puppy isn’t in danger, she doesn’t! She feels so alone and frightened, so she cries to let everyone know. Now, let’s dig deeper and look at the different types of crying.

Natural and Learned Puppy Crying

All puppies cry, and some puppies cry a lot. But, it is important to understand that there are two different types of puppy crying.

  • Natural crying
  • Learned crying

In short, natural crying is what small puppies do instinctively when they are frightened or feel in danger. It’s just the same as when a human baby cries.

Learned crying happens when puppies find out that crying brings rewards of some sort, whether food, protection, or comfort. It’s similar to some of the positive training techniques we use with adult dogs to reinforce good behavior.

We deal with the two types in different ways when we are trying to settle the puppy in as quickly as possible. You need to be aware of the different reasons for crying, so let’s look at natural crying first.

Why New Puppies Cry so Much

During the first few days, your puppies crying will be natural or instinctive.

His crying isn’t something that he is doing deliberately or that he can control. So there is no point in trying to punish him, however frustrated you feel. There are much better ways to stop him with a little patience and a few gentle techniques.

Natural crying is simply a response to a strong physical or emotional need. These include:

  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Hunger
  • Full bladder/bowels

But, by far the majority of new puppy crying behavior, especially at night, is from fear of being alone.

Many newly adopted puppies do this, so crying can be stopped by making the puppy feel safe. New owners often try to soothe the puppy with homemade treats or by giving toys.

While these may work in the short term, studies suggest a simpler, better answer.

Spending Time With the Puppy

A study published in 1977 look at separation distress in 24 young puppies and found that the most effective way to alleviate separation distress in puppies, was human company.

Simply spending time with puppy works better than putting them with another dog, much better than toys, and even better than food.

In other words, your puppy needs you.

This doesn’t mean your puppy has to have company all the time. On the contrary, she also needs to learn to be alone, but those first few days in your home are a special case.

Before going any further, perhaps it is a good time to look at some puppy psychology. That sounds scary, but it really isn’t! We just have to think about how your puppy’s wild ancestors behaved.

Why do Puppies Cry at Night?

Small puppies in the wild are extremely vulnerable. All sorts of predators will see the puppy as an easy target, so it needs the protection of its parents and older siblings. Dogs are usually pack animals and look after each other.

It is vital for their survival that they are never left alone unless in the safety of their den. They are too small and weak to protect themselves.

To a puppy, a den is the place where the puppy was born and grew up, and it represents complete safety.

Your puppy won’t cry in his den, unless her other needs, such as toileting and thirst, are not met.

That’s because she feels totally safe there, even when her mother is away.

Leaving the Den

But, when you bring a new puppy into your own home, she is leaving her den and her sanctuary far away. And, she feels very frightened and exposed.

Even though you have provided her with a lovely cosy bed or basket, she doesn’t yet feel secure.

If, at any time your small Labrador puppy is left alone outside of his ‘den’, he will cry. If there is no response to that cry, he will make a distinctive and piercing alarm call to alert the ‘grown ups’ to his predicament.

This alarm can be extremely loud, and it may seem as though he is screaming or howling in pain.

In the wild, this alarm could save a puppy’s life. In your home, it is pointless and annoying, but your new puppy doesn’t know that. He just wants to feels safe.

Of course, what happens to many puppies on their first night in a new home, with no familiar den, is that when night falls, they feel abandoned. To them, your dark house is full of hidden dangers and things that want to hurt them.

Hence, the howling and yelling. Your puppy is literally screaming for his life. Understanding this is the key to helping them stop.

How to Stop a Puppy Crying at Night

Quite simply, the way to stop the puppy crying and switch off the alarm call is to make her feel safe again.

Really, there are two ways to do this. You can make sure that they are not alone at night, or you can try to ignore them until they learn that they are safe and that nothing is going to hurt them.

Which one you choose is up to you, but both techniques have a downside. First, we’ll look at giving your puppy attention when she cries.

Paying Puppy Attention at Night

As we discussed above, if you put your puppy in a separate room so that he is isolated, this may cause stress and yelling.

The only way to stop a puppy yelling altogether is to let him see a friendly human face, or to leave him in his “safe place” or ‘home den’. Although this is tempting, there can be problems with this.

  • You don’t want to be traipsing around the house to show a puppy your friendly human face at 3am. (In any case, it probably isn’t very friendly face at this hour)
  • You can’t put your puppy in her den when you go to bed because as far as she is concerned it’s miles away in another person’s house
  • You can’t respond too often to a puppy crying at night through isolation because it teaches the puppy that crying is a useful tool (see learned crying).
  • Responding to night crying also means tramping about during the night and losing sleep

Of course, some people are happy to let the puppy sleep next to them in bed, or at least in the same room. If that works for you and you are happy with it, that’s fine, and we will give you a few tips later.

So, while paying attention to your puppy will work and stop the crying, it often means a lot of inconvenience on your part. Rather than pay attention, can you simply ignore the cries?

Ignoring the Puppy

You can try ignoring the puppy, and this will work over time as he becomes used to his surroundings and the bedtime routine.

However, be warned that he may get so upset that he soils himself, and if he is crying in crate at night he will probably cover himself in poop by jumping around in it.

I can tell you from experience, that shampooing a puppy in the small hours of the morning is no fun!

In a few days, your puppy will have readjusted his concept of the home den and see his crate as a place where he feels safe. He will be happy in his own bed and will stop crying.

The problem is – what do you do in the meantime? When will he finally stop crying so that you can get some sleep?

When do Puppies Stop Crying at Night

If you leave a puppy alone and don’t respond to her at night, most puppies will eventually stop crying.

For some puppies this can happen within a day or so. There may be puppies that sleep peacefully from the first night, but I have never managed to own one!

Most puppies take three or four days to adjust.

I have had a puppy that cried every night for over a week, but that is rare, in my experience, and the vast majority of puppies will stop crying at night.

Of course, this assumes that the puppy hasn’t ‘learned’ to cry. I’ll explain how you can avoid that in a minute. Just as a small diversion, some old-school owners think that leaving a puppy to cry makes them tougher. We’ll show you that this is definitely not the case!

My Puppy is a Crybaby: Let’s Make Him Tougher

It’s important to recognize that leaving a puppy to cry alone won’t make him tougher. Some people even think that they should shout at the puppy or punish it. This doesn’t make them tougher at all.

Instead, you risk ending up with a frightened puppy that could grow into a frightened dog.

On the contrary, studies suggest that higher levels of maternal care (and in this case you are now the substitute carer) makes puppies braver and more confident.

This is one of the reasons that I no longer use the ‘crying it out’ option with my pups.

Much the best option is to avoid the night crying and the resulting distress to the puppy, altogether in that first week. This is the method I now recommend because I have seen it work, time after time.

Let’s take a look at how I stop night crying in puppies.

How to Avoid Night Crying in Puppies

The answer to stopping a puppy crying at night is to pre-empt the fear screaming that some puppies do during their first few nights away from home. You can do this by keeping them next to you at night.

That means having the puppy in your room while you sleep. The arrangement doesn’t have to be permanent, but lasts from the first night until the puppy has stopped feeling homesick. It’s all a big change for a small puppy and they need a little time to adjust.

During that time, the best solution is usually to have the puppy in a crate or sturdy box next to your bed.

Fortunately puppies don’t need to see your face with the light on in order to feel safe. They are happy to be able to smell your presence, and hear your voice and even your breathing.

The vast majority of new puppies will settle happily at night in this situation. And after a few nights, you can then move the puppy downstairs to his crate or puppy proof room. He may still cry a little, but it won’t be because he is afraid.

He’ll get over it more quickly and be far less distressed than a puppy who is effectively abandoned on the first night in a strange home. So, what about daytime crying? Some puppies do this.

How to Stop Puppies Crying During the Day

Daytime crying is often learned crying, but there are some other reasons puppies may cry during the day.

Some puppies will cry if they are very hungry, but many will not, so don’t be tempted to use crying as a puppy feeding guide.

Nor should you assume a puppy is well if he isn’t crying. Sick puppies don’t always make a noise.

Some puppies will also cry if they need to empty their bladder or bowels and cannot get away from their ‘den’ in order to do this.

Puppies are naturally clean animals and will try not to wet or soil their beds. It can be difficult to tell if a puppy crying in crate wants attention or if it needs to pee or poop.

Puppy Whining in the Crate

Whining in the crate tends to be because the puppy has learned to whine in order to get the door open. She whines, you open the door, and she is outside.

A puppy crying in crate at night may also need to relieve himself.

It isn’t always possible to tell one reason from the other, which can make life more difficult.

It is essential, if you crate your puppy during the day or at night, to give her a chance to leave the crate often enough to keep herself clean.

And, counterintuitively, you should avoid teaching her to cry so that you let her out.

This is one of the most difficult stages, but we have two in-depth guides to help you house train and crate train puppies.

What you need to do is avoid teaching learned crying where they find out that crying gets attention and what they want. You may well end up with a dog that is too clingy and dependent on you.

Learned Crying In Puppies

Puppies learn through the consequences of their behavior, and they can learn very quickly indeed.

If a good thing happens when the puppy cries, his crying will be reinforced and becomes more likely to occur again in the future.

He will learn to use the crying in order to fulfil his wish for more food, cuddles, attention, company, and other things that puppies love.

He will start to whine even when he does not feel threatened or anxious.

One of the most common reasons for puppies to cry in those first few days, as we have seen, is loneliness and fear of being abandoned.

But, you now need to take the training further. Once the puppy has settled in and accepted your home as his den, which takes just a few days, he needs to learn to be alone from time to time.

Teaching Puppies To Be Alone

As a dog owner, I think it is great to see that some vet puppy packs are including information on teaching puppies to be alone. Crying puppies can be a problem even for experienced dog owners.

If you go out to work, then your puppy will probably be spending some time alone from an early age. But, not all puppies learn this valuable skill.

One of the things that my own vet’s leaflets stress is that puppies who do not learn to be left alone before they are thirteen weeks old are more likely to suffer from separation anxiety later on.

In other words, the experience of being ‘alone’ is one that puppies need to get used to at an early age. This is all part of the socialization ‘package’ that we need to work through with our puppies.

This isn’t an excuse to leave a puppy for long periods of time, or in unfamiliar places. However, within a few days of bringing your puppy home, you should be able to leave her on her own for ten minutes without screaming the house down.

One study showed that the majority of puppies left home alone for up to 60 minutes did not exhibit stress related behaviors, and those that were stressed improved with practice.

It’s important to note that this was for a maximum of one hour. Long periods of isolation are not appropriate for young pups. If this does not fit into your lifestyle, perhaps you could look at adopting an older dog. There is no shortage of well-trained rescue dogs needing a home!

I suggest you start leaving your puppy alone for short periods of a few minutes during the day from the end of his first week. At the same time, you can gently discourage learned crying.

How To Avoid Learned Crying

It is really important that you do not ‘reinforce’ crying. In short, this means don’t do anything that the puppy might perceive as a reward whilst he is crying.

This includes picking him up, entering the room he is in, feeding him, talking to him, or letting him catch sight of you if he cannot see you already.

All of these things are rewarding to a puppy, but many people find this very difficult. It is sometimes part of our instinct, as animal lovers, to respond to a distressed puppy with love.

However, if you can stick to this rule and make sure your family stick to it too, the amount of crying in your house will soon be much lower. This isn’t about ‘toughening up’ your puppy. It’s about setting boundaries, just as adult dogs do in the wild.

Try to pre-empt potential episodes of crying by ensuring that your puppy gets regular periods of company, plenty of opportunity to use the outdoor toilet area, plenty of safe toys to chew, and a safe, familiar place to sleep.

Make sure that you only give treats at certain times or to reward certain behaviors rather than on demand.

At the same time, it is important to reinforce any periods of silence, so that the puppy learns that being quiet is a better way to get his needs met in our illogical and modern world.

We can actually ‘reinforce’ silence by rewarding it.

How To Reward Puppy’s Silence

If your puppy has got himself in a state with yelping and crying, any periods of silence may be quite short.

By the time you have got to the puppy with a reward, he will probably have started howling again and you will end up rewarding the noise instead of the quiet.

So you need a ‘reward marker. For example, you can use a word like ‘good’ or a clicker.

I have a clicker on a lanyard around my neck for the first few days with a puppy in our home.

When the puppy is being quiet, I press the clicker and reward the puppy with a treat or a cuddle.

This is especially useful if a puppy has started yelling when you leave the room. Wait for a pause in the crying, then click for quiet, and return. Just keep trying and she will eventually get there. You can start leaving her for longer and longer periods.

Building Up Time Alone

With a puppy that cries when left, over the space of a few days I wait for longer periods of quiet before I press the click. Two or three seconds, then five, then ten, before working my way up to a minute or so.

Puppies learn really fast, usually within a day or two, that ‘quiet’ is rewarding. If you get this right, by the time you get up to waiting one minute, most crying will have stopped and the puppy will be silent most of the time.

One final approach to reducing the amount your puppy cries in those early days is restricting his space a little to encourage the development of a ‘den’ area. While there are many ways of doing this, crate training is a method I often use.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

Crate Training Your Puppy

Many people give the puppy the run of the whole house when he arrives, and I feel this can delay the establishment of the ‘home den‘.

Restricting puppies to one or two rooms initially helps them feel safe and secure, as well as giving other family members a refuge away from biting teeth!

The sooner your puppy feels safe in her ‘new den’, the sooner she will be happy to be left there. When she is happy, she will stop crying much more quickly.

How to keep crying to a minimum, and help your puppy settle in happily
Remember, when your home begins to feel like home, your Labrador puppy will stop crying provided she has not learned to cry in order to get a reward.

Giving a puppy the freedom and access that you would to a human guest might seem only fair, but puppies don’t need this freedom. They need security, routines, and boundaries to help them grow into a well-behaved, well-adjusted adult dog.

The Use of Dog Appeasing Pheromone for New Puppies

Mother dogs give off a pheromone when they suckle their puppies, which helps the puppies relax.

It’s called Dog Appeasing Pheromone, or DAP for short, and in recent years it has been possible to purchase DAP for use in the home.

A study published in 2008 found that DAP reduced the vocalizations of newly adopted puppies, and if you want to give DAP a try, you can purchase it online or in pet stores
Adaptil
It comes as a spray or a diffuser. Reviews are mixed but it might be worth a try if you have a very homesick puppy.

While pheromones can be one solution, don’t forget that puppies need to feel safe. If you get this right, and avoid learned crying, the whining will stop.

Summary

So, I gave you a lot of information in this article. It might be useful to give you a quick recap to help you remember what to do!

Being removed from mom and siblings is undoubtedly a stressful experience for a young puppy and this is a factor in crying, whining and barking in pups left alone for even short periods of time. To help them cope and stop crying:

  • Try to avoid triggering the puppy’s fear response or teaching him to cry for attention
  • Have the puppy by your bed at night for the first four or five nights
  • Teach your puppy to be alone during the day for short periods from the second week
  • Build up alone time duration gradually
  • Provide the puppy with plenty of company, and interaction

Of course, this article laid out the methods I use for my puppies, but there are many other ways. Did pheromones work for you, or did you find another way? Leave a comment with your experiences and together we can learn some great ways to stop puppies crying.

We updated this article in May 2019, and will do so again once we have some great comments and feedback from our readers.

References and Further Reading

120 COMMENTS

  1. Hi I have a 30 days old lab puppy. When I leave him alone he will start crying and wont stop until we get back to him at night this is a big problem we keep outside the house and he cries very loudly also tell me what I should feed him now

  2. I know we don’t have a lab but I have found your website helpful with all the techniques and I am at a loss with whom to ask for help. We are concerned that even though our 14 month toller puppy will sleep perfectly all night in her crate, in the day when we leave the house she will cry and howl until we come back, even if we go upstairs she will cry or if I open the front door she goes crazy. I work from home so I am around a lot of the time and I feel she is not alone enough and I feel I have done this all wrong. We crate her when we leave the house to go out, but during the day when we are in we have an area in the kitchen which gives her more room that we leave her when cleaning etc and she accepts that better with crying in between silent moments. We have a stairgate to stop her going up stairs so if I go upstairs to get anything I don’t want to put her in the crate or pen for a couple of seconds but she will scream the place down. I don’t know if she would be better in her pen area instead of the crate when we leave the house? I’m just at a loss and feel I am failing her. We attend puppy class and try to get her to like her crate in the day but she just doesn’t and is viewing the kitchen area as being shut in. She isn’t motivated by food much either. So sometimes we click and she then doesn’t take the reward. Any advice would be great as I am so worried we have created separation anxiety.

  3. My 13 week old choc lab has decided to start crying at 4am and wont stop until i get up and feed her. I have tried leaving and ignoring her but i have a baby in the house also. If i leave the puppy for to long she then starts barking. Once i have got up and fed her she is quiet for half hour then starts crying again. What do i do? She is in a pen that has access to outdoors so she doesnt need to go potty.

  4. hi pippa, i am thinking to buy a lab . And i love dogs very much. I want that my lab would b good obeying dog of me should b very freindly .should listen to my words. How should i train him ? Can i keep my lab in open home istead of putting him in crate !! I just want my lab to b wid me always . Plzz give me some steps

  5. HI there i have a labrador puppy she is now 6 and a half weeks old. On 3 weeks the mother did not want to give them milk any more adn yesterday she bite one of th puppies very hard now we took one puppy and seperated her from there mother but now she crys most of the time at night but in the day she is a little bit better. Can you give me any advice please.

  6. I have a 9 week old golden retreiver named JOY. Since last 2 days he has started crying looking at the bathroom doors. We tried showing him whats there inside but invain. We try to divert his attention but it didn’t help. We are a bit worried about this behavioural change. Can you please help?

  7. I have a 4 month old puppy that has been crate trained from Day 1. He is walked twice and played with during the day as I’m a stay at home mom and we live in a house with a big yard. We also have a 2 year old lab that is crate trained and trained very easily. The puppy goes in his crate happily during the day (when I leave or for a couple hours at a time during the day when I working in the house) and at night. Bedtime is between 10 -11 pm. He starts periodically whining and scratching at his door almost every morning around 5 am. We leave him in his kennel until 6 am regardless. Early on, I would get up to let him out to pee and then back to kennel but now I know it is not his bladder that is the issue because he just wants to play and is in no hurry to go pee when I let him out at 6. I never let him out when he is whining and he is quiet when I come into the room. He does not whine to get out of his crate during the day. When we do let him out, things are calm and I go about my morning work but pet him a little as say good morning. No playing and no food until later. I really don’t know what I need to do differently. The family needs more sleep! Help!

  8. Hi,
    I got a Labrador Pup only yesterday and I am a first time owner. He is just 30 days old and very very young.
    1) He did not cry even once in the last 18 hours.
    2) He bites incessantly when he is on my lap. even otherwise he keeps biting things that he can found around him.
    3) He seems to be too hungry when he eats and finishes his meal in no time. I give only the quantity advised by my vet. I feel he wants more. But I relent.
    4) He doesnt like his crate and gets away, and sleeps on the bare floor. (Room temp is around 28 DegC, which is very comfortable for us.)

    Do you think all the above are normal?
    Do i start training him right away with a clicker? (To train not to bite or bite softly as per your other article)?
    Do I start potty training right away?

    Any help and advise will be appreciated.

    Regards
    Soumen

    • Hello soumen,
      Firstly dogs seperation from their mother should be done only after 45 days.

      This breed tend to sleep on bare floor. 28°C is a bit high for these breed. So dont worry.

      Do feed him as prescribed by vet, donot overfeed him it will only cause indigestion.

      Puppy bites as they are teething so get him toy for nibbling which will eventually stop human bites.

      Its a good time to start potty training for him. Training pads are easily available online.

      Btw whats his/her name

  9. I got a Labrador Pul only yesterday and I am a first time owner. He is just 30 days old and very very young.
    1) He did not cry even once in the last 18 hours.
    2) He bites incessantly when he is on my lap. even otherwise he keeps biting things that he can found around him.
    3) He seems to be too hungry when he eats and finishes his meal in no time. I give only the quality advised by my vet. I feel he wants more. But I relent.
    4) He doesnt like his crate and gets away, and sleeps on the bare floor. (Room temp is around 28 DegC, which is very comfortable for us.)

    Do you think all the above are normal?
    Do i start training him right away with a clicker? (To train not to bite or bite softly as per your other article)?
    Do I start potty training right away?

    Any help and advise will be appreciated.

    Regards
    Soumen

  10. Hi we have a 12 week old springer spaniel crossed with a choclate lab and while we are all at work and school he is out in his kennel with about 10 toys and a toy with food in it and he cries all day. We were wondering if you could give us some advice on how to stop the crying.

  11. Hi I’m after some advice,I have a 8 week old beagle whom I’m trying to crate train.she is very good at going into the crate and sleeping around 4 hours during the night,however when I get up to let her out of her crate so that she can go to the toilet outside,once she come back in and is placed back in the crate she constantly cries,howls,barks and wants to get up during the early hours of the morning.i have small children and neighbours whom have recently had a major operation so obviously I’m very conscious of the noise levels! How can I get her to go back to sleep after a toilet break and not waking the whole street up at 4am

    Many thanks

  12. Hey Pippa!

    I stumbled upon your website last night while googling some puppy info and find it very helpful! My boyfriend and I welcomed our new family member ( 8 week old lab/golden retriever mix) into our home two nights ago. He seems to be doing okay, only has one accident so far while we were at work which is amazing. We get his crate today so for the past two nights he’s been in an empty bedroom all to himself. I’m concerned that he may have a hard time adjusting to the crate since he had room to himself the first two nights he was here. I’m hoping that since he is still so young and so new, it will be fine? Also he does cry a lot during the day, no barks unless he’s playing, just whimpers. He’s on a strict food schedule of four times per day and I usually grab him and put him outside at any signs of him needing to go outside. We don’t acknowledge the whining, just give him time to settle down and the end result is usually a nap. I just want to make sure we’re off to a good start with our puppy! ( I’ve had many dogs but always adopted around the 3 month age and didn’t have as many crying pooches)

    Thanks !!

  13. Hi Pippa,
    Your site has been so wonderful for us so far so, firstly, thank you. Secondary, we picked up our 8 week old Lab pup on Saturday. She had been in a crate/run at the breeders. On the first night, she cried a little on putting her in her crate from midnight but soon stopped and didn’t cry until 5am when I took her out for a wee, which she did, but the wouldn’t stop crying when I put her back. I waited 30 minutes or so then waited until she was quiet and went in and was up all day. Sunday we moved the crate to the living room rather than kitchen and she seems more comfortable. She spent a lot of time in her crate with the door open and we even closed the crate door Sunday evening for an hour at a time and she was fine and slept. When I put her down to sleep and left, no crying, which is good, and she awoke at 5am as planned for a wee. But again she wailed and cried. I left her. She soon calmed down completely around 6.30ish with quiet intervals in between and then she was quiet until 8am when we got up. How does all this sound? Are we doing the right thing and on the right track?
    Also, she doesn’t eat much and wails when she eats and jumps around… tooth ache?
    Many thanks!
    Richard

    • It sounds as though you have got off to a good start Richard. And I am glad you have found the site helpful. Why not join the forum, lots of other puppy owners there so much advice and support. Puppies do not normally cry whilst eating, so a trip to the vet would be a good idea. Get her mouth checked etc.

  14. We have a 10 month old puppy that we had since he was 8 weeks old. He is a shepard,american bulldog mix. But looks more like shepard . Anyway he just started crying a lot in the last couple of months. Especially when we are just sitting and relaxing. It is driving us nutz. He isn’t hungry,doesn’t have to go out ?

  15. I’ve gotten a lot of great information from your site and have found it really helpful. I realise you’re not generally a proponent of aversives, but I’d like ask your thoughts on bark collars for labs that tend to get loud and disturb neighbours when left home alone.

  16. Hi Pippa, thank you for the website. We have a 5 month old chocolate lab. She is so smart! We crate her at night and whenever we leave the house. She loves to get in her crate. When we come home after she has been in her crate, she patiently waits to be let out. However, in the mornings, as soon as she hears our alarm go off, she starts howling. This is really the only time she barks and gets out of hand. The problem is that I get up at 5:30am and I don’t even have time to brush my teeth before she is barking. Is there a way to help her understand that we are coming to take her out?

  17. Hi Pippa, I’m about to buy my first Lab puppy. She is 6weeks at current and her owner is wanted her to rehouse now but I’m trying to delay it till 7.5/8 weeks old. I’m wondering about keeping her inside and moving her to outside when she is older as she will need to be an outside dog. What is the best age to move her outside? There are 2 other dog out there already and I’m concerned about her welfare if she is so much smaller then them? Also her making her den inside then moving it outside just going to confuse her?

    Should I introduce her to the other dogs when she is young (soon after we get her) or wait? How long?

    Her den will be my bedroom at first so i have control of her crying/behaviour and my house mates don’t unintentionally mess that up, then I’m hoping to move her to the yard the other dogs. Please let me know where to look or any advice you have! Thanks

    • Where abouts in the world are you located, and what breed, age, and temperament are your other dogs. What kind of accommodation do you have for her outside?

      • I’m in Australia/outback, it’s very hot during summer (which is now). One dog is fully grown australian cattle dog and the other is a Great Dane x Bull Arab (15 weeks) pup, both boys.

        They are lovely dogs but they are still young so they are very rough players often getting carried away. They are in the stage of destroying everything we have in the yard, which often get them in a lot of trouble.

        I’m going to be fencing up under the house as I don’t like them going under there because of dirt and ticks. Other then that there is a shaded area but its cemented and the grass area is open (no shade) it will be hot. We have a puppy bath/pool for them to cool off in and we put ice in it to keep it cool when we can.

        Inside accommodation would be crated but I’m unsure weather it’s best to place her in the lounge/kitch area or my bedroom then just stay in there with her. I’m worried that my house mates might pay her attention if she cries in the lounge. I don’t want them to give her bad habits. We have very different opinions on training our dogs :/

  18. Thanks for the great information. We have just had a 7-week labrador puppy for a week. He’s a good boy most of the time. However, there’s a problem of him stepping on his poop and making a mess by walking around in his crate-pen complex. We had to finally run some errands outside while the puppy was sleeping.When we came back, we found the mess I mentioned early. Any tips?

      • Hi pippa i have 3 months young labrador he is having ticks from the time we got him vet recommend a bath after 3 months so we did a bath a week before n applied neem based shampoo a week back but no relief from ticks n flea we sit n remove ticks every day and night wht else you will recommend some kind of oil or powder to be applied n is it safe to bath our lab in such young age
        Regards
        Ankit

  19. hello,
    this is sourav here…my lab puppy is around 8 weeks old…i am trying to manifest all the possible good behaviors that within her so that problems are less during future…however the only problem is that she barks a lot whenever left alone and gets over excited whenever she smells food or watches somebody eating something…and she never drinks water on her own wish..i need to force her to drink water…how can these be solved..??

  20. José Trucios
    My yellow lab is 9 weeks old, he’s been home for the last two weeks.. Overall he is a good boy but it’s hard for me to leave him for. 8 hours to go to work and come back he sleep in his cage and I leave him inside of it when I’m at work .. The only issues are probably the howling. At 5 am in the morning and the biting to anything and everyone .. I don’t use any specific techniques I just try to listen and understand him to whatever he wants to do .. I’m trying to. Teach him to walk on lead but refuses to

    • Hi Jose, it really is not appropriate to leave a dog in a cage for 8 hours. Puppies need company and regular opportunities to go to the toilet. A nine week old puppy is just a baby, and not a suitable pet for someone out at work all day. You really need to find someone to look after him whilst you are at work, or to come and let him out. Pippa

      • Thank you for replying well as now he is not staying by himself there’s always someone at home the most he is left alone is 4 hours I’d say but I’m moving in 3 months and leaving by myself I have been thinking about the quality of life he needs and I don’t know if we match right now.. He was a gift and me as being a dog lover love him since day one. Some people tell me he is gonna get use to the routine but I really don’tknow …

  21. Hi
    very useful and informative website. thanks, We have a 6 month old male lab. He has been very good since we had him and was potty trained within 3-4 weeks. We both work so have to leave him between 8-3 each day, although we have people check in on him mon-wed and have some come round for most of thursday and friday. i put up a child gate to keep him in kitchen and he was fine at first but is now able to jump it and has also started scratching at door and cupboards. is there anything you suggest?

    • Providing stuffed kongs can help prevent destructive behaviour that is triggered by boredom. Providing more company is an even better solution. But crating is the only really effective way to avoid damage to your property when you leave a young dog alone. It would take a few days to get him used to it, and he would need to be let out by someone at regular intervals throughout the day. Also, you can actually buy dog gates, that are like baby gates but higher. Pippa

  22. Hi Pippa,

    We have a 4 month old charcoal lab puppy. Lately we have been taking him to an off leash area for walks as we find this is the best way to burn off energy. Sometimes he whines and barks off and on the entire time during the walk. It’s like an excitement/anxiety bark. Any tips on how we can settle him down to enjoy a quiet walk!?

  23. Hi Pippa
    We are thinking about getting a chocolate labrador and have been reading your site to get more of a sense of what to expect, and what helps a new puppy feel secure. We are worried about the anxiety that puppies seem to go through at night when they first leave their mum. We would like to have two dogs eventually, and wonder if it is a good idea to get two puppies to start with? Your site is so helpful, thank you.

  24. Hi I’ve recently got a new puppy and whenever I try leaving him in his crate for a couple of minutes to get him used to being on his own he cries which means I can’t get in to let him out and build up the time so should I just leave him till he quiets down or do I go in. Also I have a 2 yr old dog who is good with him but if he try’s to get too close to her she growls what can I do to help her accept him?

    • Hi Tanja, see the ‘click for quiet’ article currently on the front page of this website. You need to give your older dog her own space and plenty of opportunity to get away from the puppy so that she does not feel trapped and threatened by him. It will take her a while to get used to him. Pippa

    • It took 2 weeks for our older dog to be fully ok with the younger one, no growling now, just ensure they have plenty of equal attention. Keep an eye on them and don’t interfere too much when they are getting used to each other. The older dog is just letting pup know who’s boss, 3 and 1/2 weeks in ours are playing together, just wish the pup would stop crying at night:(

  25. Hi, we have a 9 week old golden lab and we are crate training him. He is left alone in the crate during the day for 2 x 4hour periods whilst i work and he stays dry throughout each period and is allowed out of his crate whilst we are home. However at night, he is put in crate at bedtime and sleeps for approx 5 hours then starts to whine which turns into barking. One breeder says leave him and ignore it until morning as he will adopt a habit of wanting attention in the middle of the night and other experts say we must go to him midway through the night to let him outside to eliminate. We left him last night and his bed was damp this morning. I’m confused with which method we should be using as we dont want to make rod for our own backs but at same time, want to do the right thing for our Jake. Please can you advise me as feeling a bit frustrated at the minute? Thank you so much.

      • Hi Pippa, thanks, that makes perfect sense to me now. So i need to tend to him immediately if he whines as he is more than likely telling us he needs to go. How long do i do this for? I have heard that they tend to be around 12 – 13 weeks old before they can go through the night completely. Is that right?
        Louise

  26. My 13 week old chocolate lab has been with us for 3weeks, initially he slept with my son for a week as we have a 9 yr old lab and didn’t want to leave them together during the night until we were sure they were ok. Our problem is that some nights pup will cry and scream even though he is with the older dog! After 40 mins I have come down and quietly soothed him as he is in such a state, he goes to sleep then, but is awake before 6am and barks until I get up. They both have dog beds in the kitchen and a dog flap to get out to toilet during the night. Apart from us the older dog is tired too! Any suggestions?

  27. hi, i have a black lab who is 18mts old. i and my son have to leave to work at 07.30am, not being able to return to 16.30 the earliest. I have been informed that the dog cries from the moment we leave for a good few hours. Any advise would be appreciated.thankyou

    • Hi Paula,
      I’m afraid my personal view is that it really is not appropriate to leave a dog alone for nine hours a day. Labradors are very social dogs, but quite apart from that, many dogs would struggle to last nine hours without a wee on a regular basis. I recommend you arrange for a friend or neighbour to care for your dog while you are at work, or pay a dog walker to come in and provide him with company and a chance to go to the toilet.
      Pippa

  28. Hi pippa.
    I have a 10 week old puppy. Hes great through the days but it all kicks off at night. I have to get up with him 4-5 times a night. Hes been crated from day 1 and if we leave the house hes mostly quiet. We have tried the rewarding quiet technique with no luck. He howls most of the night and the neighbours are complaining. What do i do?

      • I have given him treats and made a fuss of him for being quiet for short periods of time. Slowly increasing the time gap. Iv tried doing the same in the nights as well but he just doesn’t get any better. The second i leave the room he starts again. But its only during the nights

        • Hi, if you are going to use the ‘click for quiet’ method, it is best if you leave the room. Leaving the room is often what triggers the whining. So, leave the room and close the door. Hold a clicker in your hand. Click when the whining pauses, and go back into the room. Just your presence is rewarding but you can use food too. Start this first thing in the morning, don’t wait till bedtime. Don’t open the door until you have had a chance to ‘mark’ a piece of silence. Then start asking for longer silences. There is no way for this not to work. The dog has no control, you have it all. 🙂 If you want to use aversives you can. Some people use a spray bottle with water in. You still need a marker, but this time you mark the noise, not the absence of the noise. Then go into the room and squirt the dog with water. Leave the room immediately so the dog is not getting attention.

          Marking and rewarding silence is much faster and more effective than marking and punishing noise. This is because punishment involves you giving the dog attention, which is very rewarding for a dog that is whining for attention! He is effectively getting a reward alongside the punishment.

          Hope that makes sense. I’ll put an article up on this shortly.

          Pippa

          • I have a very young puppy that loves to sleep on my lap and play with me during the day. At night when I crate her she whines relentlessly. I am wondering what else I can do, I tried making a loud noise and staying quiet in a very stern voice but it doesn’t work she only cries louder. If I let her out of the crate she quiet C mediately. My husband is self employed and I will be going back to school shortly so we will need her to be quiet during the day especially if we need to crate her for any time during the day. I’m not sure what else to do do you think that using a spray bottle when she is crying and then walking away will work?

  29. Hi Pippa,

    Great website – and a godsend!

    We have a lovely male Lab who is 8 1/2 weeks old, at night I gate off a small area with access to his cage, with the door never shut allowing himto go in and out as he pleases – he tends to just stay in the outer area between cage and gate though to be honest, anyway, I too have experienced the whining and crying but think this is improving, my concern is with him injuring himself, as he tries to jump over the gate and stands on his hind legs a lot, which I understand can be bad for his hips in future years, when he jumps, he tends to land quite clumsily. Am I just been soft, or is there a danger that he could be hurting himself?

    Many thanks

    Carl

    • Hi Carl, thanks for your kind comments. I don’t know of any studies relating to puppies standing on their hind legs. I recommend crating the puppy at night and using puppy pens, or gates between rooms, that have vertical bars so the puppy cannot use them for climbing practice. 🙂 Pippa

      • Thanks Pippa, seems I spoke to soon about the whining, he hates been away from us at the moment and cries all the time, and gets quite hysterical. I’ve tried rewarding at the odd moment where he stops and goes quiet, but these moments are rare – is it really just best to ignore the crying, and if so, how long is normal before he stops and accepts the situation?

  30. I have a 4 month old lab trying to train him in a pen.
    When I leave him all he does is cry and he totally destroyed his bed
    I do not know what to do.

  31. Hi pippa. I have a 47 days old labrador puppy n from the day we got him home he found a suitable place to sleep(we dont crate him) away from our bedroom, tbroughout the day he’s fine but at night around 1-2am he starts making sounds, scratching the bedroom door and tries to get in. I feel very bad n don’t want to be cruel.
    Shall i go immidiately n check or should i just let him be? Cuz if i go n check immidiately then it would evoke learned crying.
    Please help

    • I don’t think you have many options really. You could try making the room darker. You could try coming downstairs and reprimanding her without letting her out. Or you could try letting her sleep in your room. The best chance of success probably lies in completely ignoring her, but I appreciate that is difficult.

      Pippa

  32. Hi Pippa, thanks for your reply. Indie started off in a crate but she had sickness and squits and she was unable to ‘hold’ it. Once she had soiled in the crate, she was reluctant to sleep in there again and I felt it cruel to force her, especially whilst she was poorly. She now sleeps in the kitchen in a plastic kidney shaped bed lined with vetbed.

    As I now don’t get up till our alarm sounds, when I go downstairs I open the door and go outside without acknowledging her at all. After she has been to the loo, we come back in she jumps back into her bed and just watches while I make a brew etc. I will then give her a fuss and we have a play. She is feed at 0700.

    We live in a semi and the neighbours are fantastic about my attempts for a quieter morning, but I would love to get a hold on it before their patience runs out, lol

    Heather

  33. Hi Pippa, well done on the website, it’s just brilliant, I also have Total Recall and find it a great read.

    I have an adorable choccie Lab bitch, Indie (20 weeks), who is a delight to live with apart from one point. Her morning alarm clock is set to 0430 and I am at a loss as to how to change it. I am sure its a company issue rather than a toileting one as she has an area to relieve herself if needed and has been happy with this from the off. I have tried to ignore her (with the aid of ear plugs for the last 2 weeks) but when the alarm sounds at 0545 she is still going strong. I am sure she hears me get up then as the noise stops so am I not ‘rewarding’ her for her efforts just by getting up?

    Help, lol

    Heather

    • Hi Heather, thank you for your kind comments. Is your puppy sleeping in a crate? And what do you do when you get up? Do you let her out? Make a fuss of her? Or ignore her for a while?
      Pippa

  34. Hi Pippa,

    I have a 7 week old white-yellow lab; he is adorable most of the time, but he is teething and he loves my hands more than his toys. He does not clamp down however and I understand it’s playful but sometimes he goes a bit overboard; perhaps thinking that my hand is prey. I have been trying to distract him for a while with his toys now but he seems to get bored of they toys pretty quickly. However, he does not tire of my hands at all!
    It’s not too frustrating, he sleeps through the night and is otherwise healthy. Since I live in a high rise apartment (it’s big) I was wondering if he needs any more exercise than what he gets at home? I play with him few times a day as I try to teach him to fetch with some success so far. He bites his leash and walks a few paces before just sitting down unless lured with a treat.
    What should I do to reduce his play-biting bouts? And should I exercise him any more for his age?
    Thanks!

  35. hi pippa

    i just got 1 month old lab …..but he doing his toilet and all thing in house although i have a parking area and lawn then what should i do……..

  36. Hi,
    We have two 14 week old male labs who won’t stop
    Barking through the night or day. What can I do to stop
    This?
    Thanks

  37. Hi Pippa,

    I have a 7 week old lab puppy. We have had her for a week. She sleeps in the laundry at night and does not cry. However while we are at work during the day she cries most of the day. She has a kennel that is under cover, 6-7 toys outside to play with. I also give her a kong with food in it and a bone to keep her occupied during the day. Is there anything i can do to stop her crying before our neighbours start to complain?

    Lauren

    • Hi Lauren,
      Your new puppy is very young to be alone all day, and is probably very lonely. I don’t normally kennel puppies under six months old myself, but those that do often say that a radio left on in the kennel helps. Presumably you have someone coming in to feed her, could you persuade them to stay and amuse her for a while?

      Pippa

  38. Hi pippa, we have just recently got a 12 week old lab puppy, he’s lovely but he cries whenever I Leave him. We have an small conservatory that I’m trying to get him to sleep in, whenever I leave him in there night or day he cries and barks whenever he can’t see me, don’t know what to do as I don’t want to reward his crying by going to him but is it healthy for him to cry all night ?

    • Hi Zak
      Some puppies do take a week or two to learn to cope with sleeping alone. One option is to have the puppy sleep in a crate in your room at night until he has settled in to his new home. Check out this post which explains how to teach a puppy to be quiet during the day.
      Pippa

  39. Hi Pippa,

    I have a 13 week old black lab-we have had him since 8wks old. He has been crated from day 1 and appears quite happy in it-day or night. However, he wakes at 5am every day whining, then barking! Unfortunately, the neighbours can hear him, so I can’t ignore him.How do I stop this behaviour?

      • Hi Pippa,
        We also have a labrador puppy, he is 9 weeks old and we have had him for 5 days. He has been crated from day 1 and is happy in it day and night. However, he has also woken every morning at 5am and whined/barked, we have ignored it, but the behavior is not stopping. We usually crate him about 10.30/11pm, he starts to fall asleep from 9pm even when we try to keep him awake. How do I stop him crying at 5am every morning please?
        Thanks, we think your book is great.

  40. hi pippa,
    i have an 11 week old lab, i have had him for 3 weeks, house trained him in the first week, he as done brilliant dry day and night, he as slept in the cage from day one, how ever he ass suddenly over the last couple of days as started to cry both at night and during the day if i leave the room, i am in the house at most times only leaving one half day a week, please help

  41. Thank you, Pippa.. Had my sister and her two dogs to stay and pup slept through 8 hours and was dry and no sound….hope it happens again tonight.
    Will persevere with cage in the day. Find your site very good and helpful.

  42. My 10 week lab puppy is still crying most of the night in his crate. We have had him for 8 days now. The crate is big so I make one side for his bed and newspaper on the other half…..he usually does a little wee in the night. He goes to bed at 11pm and up at six…..he is pretty happy in the day but the nights are grim….shall I persevere with the crate….he does not like going into the crate much at all now so I dare not start daytime periods in the crate,,,Help!

    • Hi Cherry, I think it is a mistake to use the crate for night times only. The crate should be a familiar and happy place that he is used to and comfortable with on a regular basis, not just somewhere that he is left at night. Have a look at this article crate training your labrador Once you have got him used to the crate in the daytime, he should settle quickly at night. Pippa

  43. Hi Pippa,

    I got a lab puppy which is about 8 weeks and 4 days old, is it okay if I can allow the puppy to socialise with other big dogs?

    Srivatsan

  44. We recently acquired an 8 week old chocolate lab. She only cries at night in her den. She was born and raised for her first 8 weeks in a horse stall. We do let her out once in the middle of the night for a potty break. Could she need more room as her sleep space?

    • Hi Charlene,
      If your puppy is in an appropriately sized crate she does not need more space. She is missing her brothers and sisters and feeling a bit homesick. It will pass. Use the tips in the article, and hang on in there. It gets better 🙂 Pippa

  45. Hi
    We have a wonderful puppy, Pax, who is now 14 weeks old.
    Naturally he’s hard work at times. We are trying to train him to do all the “right” things and generally he’s pretty good for his age.
    A major problem is barking at an older Labrador who lives with my partners parents. He just doesn’t stop. Ever. We have to take him away from her. She is 7. We are trying to socialise Pax with people and other dogs when we can. The only other thing he barks consistently at is a pack of shrink wrapped bottled water!
    Any ideas please?
    Thanks.
    Mike Murray

    • Hi Mike, you can use the reward system outlined here for any kind of noise including barking. The principle is to reward him when he stops and ignore him when he barks.
      But you should try and work out what is causing or exacerbating the barking first. Dogs bark when they are nervous but also when they are frustrated or over excited. There are lots of possibilities. Is the pup scared of the older dog or is he wanting to play? How does the older dog respond? What do you and other members of the family do when he barks? Do you give him any attention?

      If the pup is just getting over-excited I would separate them for a while.

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