How To Stop Your Puppy Crying

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

Dealing with a puppy crying can be incredibly stressful and upsetting. And even embarassing if you have close, grumpy neighbors to contend with. But puppies need to communicate their feelings to their family. And crying or whimpering is a small puppy’s way of telling you they are sad or lonely.

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to help new puppies settle in, calm down and stop whining. You’ll need to avoid triggering your puppy’s fear response or accidentally teaching them to cry for attention. And keep them close at first, only increasing periods of alone time very slowly.

In this guide I’ll look at the causes of a puppy howling in their crate, and talk about crate training a puppy who is crying. I’ll share the reasons why puppy crying might start at bedtime or early in the morning, and how long you can leave your puppy to cry for. There will be tips for crate training at night, and help learning how to make your puppy stop crying and get back to having fun.

Why Do Puppies Cry?

Like most baby mammals, puppies cry to get their needs met, and to alert those who care for them that they are in danger. Puppy crying is usually a response to a strong physical or emotional need. Such as pain, hunger, full bladder or bowels, or plain fear.

As puppies grow they may also learn to cry in order to get attention. Learned crying happens when the sound the puppy makes has been regularly rewarded in the past. That comes later, but you need to be aware of it so that you don’t create problems for yourself.

black labrador puppy being cuddled

Why Do New Puppies Cry So Much?

Most well fed puppies rarely cry from pain or hunger. And unless they are trapped in their bed, they don’t usually cry with a full bladder. They just pee where they are standing. So, during the first few days, your puppy crying will usually be from fear. This is not something that he is doing deliberately or that he can control.

Think of it as homesickness. Only worse. Puppy first night ‘blues’ are so common as to be normal. Because your puppy doesn’t know when he is going to go home again, or where his family is. Fortunately very young puppies have short memories and soon get over their sadness but for those first few days your puppy will be a little bit scared, even if he doesn’t show it. And he will be especially scared if he is left alone.

That doesn’t mean that you and your dog must be joined at the hip forever, but it does mean some temporary changes in your own lifestyle. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

puppy crying outside in the garden

Why Do Puppies Cry At Night?

Most small puppies actually sleep quite well at night, if they are close to a grown up! But what if your puppy won’t sleep unless you are there?

Puppy won’t sleep unless next to me!

Much of the night time puppy crying that new puppy parents experience is caused by attempting to get a puppy to sleep alone on their very first night. Sometimes this works out, and the puppy cries a bit and then goes to sleep. Mostly it ends with you lying awake with your fingers in your ears, while your puppy screams the night away in the kitchen.

Letting your puppy sleep next to you for the first few nights or even the first few weeks is not going to cause you long term problems. I’ll explain how you can use this temporary arrangement to your advantage.

Placed in a box or crate by your bed, the vast majority of puppies will sleep for several hours at a time. But most will need to wake and get up once or twice at night to go and pee. So the other cause of night time puppy crying is often due to the puppy needing to answer the call of nature.

Leaving a puppy to sleep alone

If you don’t want to get up at night to be with your puppy and you don’t want the puppy to sleep in your room, it’s important to make sure that the puppy can leave their bed to pee and poop on some puppy pads. You don’t want the puppy to be forced to pee in their bed and most new puppies won’t last all night without emptying their bladder at least once.

How long does it last?

If your puppy has spent the first week or so sleeping next to you, and has now been moved into their permanent night time quarters, you should find that any puppy crying at bedtime will be brief. We’re talking ten or fifteen minutes, for maybe a couple of nights. Some puppy parents like to use an old fashioned ticking alarm clock for puppies, the noise may be soothing to them.

On the other hand, if left alone on the first night, the chances are your puppy will cry very loudly for some time. If you then go and get them up again, they will cry louder and for longer next time. This can last for several nights, even for a week or more. So should you leave your puppy to cry it out?

Should I Leave My Puppy To Cry At Night?

If you leave your puppy to cry at night, there are some problems that can arise, these include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Waking the neighbors
  • Soiling
  • Separation anxiety
  • Puppy screaming in the crate for hours

You may think that the puppy will go off to sleep quite quickly. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Some puppies will cry for most of the night. And unless you live in a soundproofed room or own a mansion, you will be able to hear the noise. Not only will you hear it, your neighbors will hear the puppy too. And they are unlikely to be happy about it.

If you can’t hear the puppy crying, you won’t know when they need to go outside to pee. And puppies left to cry it out at night may become so distressed that they have diarrhea. Which they will then walk in and get in their fur. I can tell you from experience, that shampooing a puppy in the wee small hours of the morning is no fun!

It’s possible that the distress could cause longer term problems such as separation anxiety. All in all, having the puppy by your bed for a few nights, is looking like the more attractive option.

Are we talking minutes, or hours?

Although some puppies give up within half an hour or so, if you leave them to cry, the other issue with leaving a puppy crying, is that some of them have quite amazing stamina, and can literally keep crying all night!

How To Stop A Puppy Crying At Night

You can stop a puppy crying at night by bringing them next to your bed in a box or crate. The puppy can smell and hear you and if they stir or get upset to begin with, you can reassure them with your hand.

Even though your new puppy is far away from their familiar den on the first night in your new home, if they are next to your bed they won’t be scared and you’ll both be able to sleep. This doesn’t have to be a permanent arrangement. You need to spend some time over the next few days preparing your puppy for the transition to their permanent sleeping quarters.

Bonnie sleeping in her crate

When Do Puppies Sleep Through The Night?

Provided they can get out of their bed to pee, your puppy will stop crying when left alone at night, once they have a familiar, safe, ‘den’ in which to sleep. At the moment nothing in your home is familiar.

Small puppies in the wild are extremely vulnerable and it is vital for their survival that they are never left unattended unless in the safety of their den. So puppy crying is an instinctive cry for help if they find themselves alone outside their den. And puppies will rest happily when they are inside it. You need to create that ‘den experience’ in your home. Your puppy doesn’t need a fancy bed or expensive blankets. It’s all to do with familiarity.

Preparing for a happy puppy bedtime

Over the next few days it’s important to keep leaving treats and toys in your puppy’s new crate or basket, so that it gradually becomes your puppy’s place of safety. Their happy place.

This doesn’t take very long if you are persistent and generous. You can use much of your puppy’s food ration up in this way. Your puppy will soon be taking themselves off happily into their crate for daytime naps. And in a few days they will be able to sleep there at night too, without being afraid.

How long do puppies sleep at night?

Most puppies sleep quite well for about ten hours, from mid evening until early morning (about 8pm until 6am) with a bathroom break at your bedtime and for the first two weeks, again during the night.

It’s tempting to encourage a puppy to zoom around during the evening in the hopes of wearing them out, but it’s not usually effective and can make things worse. A sensible bedtime, just as you would for a small child, helps the puppy to relax and sleep deeply. Crating a puppy at night really helps if you want to establish a bedtime for them. Getting your puppy to sleep at around 8pm in their crate, but letting them out for a last pee at 11pm, is a good way to get the night started well.

Should you close a puppy crate at night?

If you crate train your puppy during the day and establish the crate as a lovely den, then when you come to put them to bed at night you should close the door.

How To Stop A Puppy Crying 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 an indicator that your puppy needs more food.

The most common cause of puppy crying during the day is as a result of the puppy being left alone while the grown ups go to another room. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep your puppy with you as much as possible for the first few days, then to teach them to be alone in easy stages. Here’s a quick summary

Teaching A Puppy To Be Alone

There are three stages to this training.

  • Crate Conditioning
  • Crate Nap Training
  • Leaving The Room

Most puppies need to be crated when left alone, to keep them safe. Being left in a crate is actually two new things: being shut in, and being left. If you get the puppy used to being shut in a crate before you leave them alone, you’ll find the whole process easier for both of you.

Crate conditioning

The process of crate conditioning is all about getting the puppy used to being put in the crate. Having the door shut behind them and then being let out again (immediately to start with)

Should my puppy nap in the crate?

This is where you put a sleepy puppy into a crate and wait for them to go to sleep. During crate nap training, you need to stay near your puppy, in the same room. If you want to watch tv bring the crate in with you.

Leaving the room

This is the final stage where you start leaving the room for very short periods of time. Just a few seconds to begin with.

How Long To Let A Puppy Cry In A Crate

How Long To Let A Puppy Cry In A Crate

When you start crate training your puppy may protest at being shut in. But how long should you let a puppy cry in a crate? It’s best if you do not repeatedly leave your puppy to scream. Leaving a puppy to cry it out is a risky strategy. Many puppies will to cry long enough that they need to toilet again. Then you have a crying and a bed wetting problem on your hands.

The answer is to build your puppy’s ability to relax on their own in a crate, in stages. A puppy that yells if you leave the room for five minutes, needs to go back to being left for only a minute or so with plenty of treats fed through the bars at intervals which you can gradually space out. And you also need to avoid teaching your puppy to cry in order to get you to let him out.

Crate Training A Puppy At Night

Crate training a puppy at night is different (and easier) than crate training during the day. And even if your puppy objects to be crated during the day they are likely to sleep happily in a crate at night, provided that the crate is near to you (or another dog) for the first few nights.

Learned Crying In Puppies

Puppies learn through the consequences of their behavior. And they learn very quickly indeed. If a good thing happens when the puppy cries, his crying will be reinforced (ie 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 so on. Even when he does not feel threatened or anxious.

Many puppies fall asleep quite quickly in their crates to begin with and the family gets on with life, relying on the puppy to let them know when they are awake and ready for more fun. But the puppy’s only way of letting them know he wants to get up again is by whining. And this can quickly become a habit.

Whining In The Crate

Whining in the crate tends to happen because the puppy has learned to whine in order to get the door open. And whining to be let out of the crate is really common. And the best way to avoid it, is to get your puppy up before they start whining. So that the habit never becomes established.

When you are crate nap training, wake your puppy after 15 minutes or so of sleep. Play a little while, then put the puppy back in the crate for another nap. Don’t wait until the puppy cries before you get them up, and if they do cry, don’t open the door until they stop. It is essential if you crate your puppy during the day or at night, that you give him chance to leave the crate often enough to keep himself clean.

Teaching Puppies To Be Alone

Teaching Puppies To Be Alone

It is nice to see that some veterinarian puppy packs are including information on teaching puppies to be alone. 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 veterinarian’s leaflets stress is that puppies that 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’ sometimes, is one that puppies need to get used to at an early age. This is a 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. But within a couple of weeks of bringing your puppy home, he should be capable of being left on his 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 at being alone. Note that this was a maximum of one hour. Long periods of isolation are not appropriate for young pups.

Tips To Help You Stop Your Puppy Whimpering At Night In The Crate

Puppies don’t just cry when crated or left alone. Some puppies are very vocal for much of the time and quickly learn to cry for attention throughout the day. So it is really important that you do not ‘reinforce’ this kind of crying.

This means not doing anything that the puppy might perceive as rewarding whilst he is crying. Including picking him up, entering the room he is in if you are not there already, feeding him, talking to him, letting him catch sight of you if he cannot see you already. All these things are rewarding to a puppy, so it’s important to do them when your puppy is doing something you want to encourage

Many people find this quite difficult. But 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 very minimal indeed. 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

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 ‘reinforce’ silence by rewarding it.

How To Crate Train A Puppy At Night By Rewarding Silence Tn The Day

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 an ‘event marker’ You can use a word like ‘good’ or a click from 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. You can give the puppy a treat as a reward.

Building up time alone

With a puppy that cries when left, over the space of a few days you can ask for longer periods of quiet before you press the click. Two or three seconds, then five, then ten, and so on. Working your way up to a minute or so.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson(paid link)

Puppies learn really fast (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.

Crate Training Your Puppy

Many people give the puppy the run of the whole house when he arrives in their home. 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 his ‘new den’, the sooner he will be happy to be left there, and the sooner he is happy, the sooner he will stop crying.

How to keep crying to a minimum, and help your puppy settle in happily

Remember, when your home begins to feel like their home, your Labrador puppy will stop crying provided he 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 freedom. They need company and a little time to adjust to their new life

How To Stop Your Puppy Crying In A Nice Way

People sometimes worry that this gentle and gradual approach to raising puppies and teaching them to be alone will spoil them. But it’s important to recognize that leaving a puppy to cry alone won’t make him tougher. 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.

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. Better than 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, he also needs to learn to be alone, but those first few days in your home are a special case. Don’t be afraid to spend time with your puppy especially in these early days. Puppies need to feel safe. And if you get this right, the crying will stop.

How To Stop Your Puppy Crying

‘Stop Your Puppy Crying’ was written by our founder, best-selling author Pippa Mattinson. To get Pippa’s free training tips just drop your email into the box below or follow this link to learn more about her puppy parenting course

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The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. I had a crying Labrador puppy, the obvious thing I thought was pick him up, take him to bed with me, to the shops with me to work with me. Guess what I got a totally velcro dog. His is nearly 12 years old now and sat at my feet as I type. I am now retired so not really a problem, also I love him to bits. But it is what happens and only do it if you it is what you want.

    • HI Elizabeth…I’m with you. If he is happier being with you then so be it…So what if he does a few accidents when he is a pup…they grow out of it.
      If I could take my dog to work i would…lucky thing.:) If it right for you and your dog is a happy animal as result..then just do it.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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!

  9. 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.


    • 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

  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!

    • 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

  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?

  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.

  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.


          • 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


    • 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.


  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


  33. 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?

  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?

  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……..

    • All puppies have to learn to toilet outdoors and this takes time, but a one month old puppy is far too young to leave his mother.

  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

  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?


    • 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?


  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.

  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. 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?


    • Hi, it is important for your puppy to be socialised, but you also need to balance that against the risk of infection and aggression from other dogs. Most experienced breeders recommend that you allow your puppy to play for short periods with fully vaccinated and very friendly dogs.

  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?
    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.