How long do puppies cry at night? It depends on the puppy. I’ll give my tips on what to do to stop the crying so hopefully you and your puppy will be getting a good night’s sleep sooner rather than later!
I prefer to use an indoor kennel/crate for all puppies. This will keep your puppy safe and out of trouble when you can’t supervise such as while you’re sleeping. I’m not here to convince you to use a crate if you don’t want to, but it can make life easier.
Nearly all puppies will cry, bark, whine and howl the first night home, unfortunately. They will bark that first night or two in their crate, but after that it gets better.
If at all possible, I recommend bringing your puppy home on a Friday or Saturday or on a day when you don’t have to work the next few mornings.
The crying and howling is heartbreaking and stressful to listen to but unfortunately it’s totally normal. It’s rare for a puppy not to cry that first night home!
My 8-week-old weimaraner puppy Remy howled and cried almost non-stop for the entire first night home. I assume the poor guy missed his mom and siblings or just the familiarity and comfort of his original home. He thought his little world was turned upside down, which I guess it was!
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As hard as it was, I ignored Remy the entire night. I did not comfort him, though I wanted to. I did not allow him in my bed. I did not scold him, and I did not let him out for a potty break, although some puppies will need a 2 a.m. potty break (more on this later). My puppy was in his kennel from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
How long do puppies cry at night?
Some puppies cry every night for the first one or two weeks while others only cry the first night or two.
Your puppy might cry the entire night or he might only cry for an hour or so until he passes out. They are all different!
Some puppies whimper softly and some scream and carry on like they’re being harmed!
Remy cried the entire first night (nonstop for 7 hours) and then he didn’t make a peep the second night because he was so tired!
How to decrease a puppy’s crying the first couple nights home
Remember, almost all puppies cry the first few nights so you probably won’t be able to STOP the crying. These ideas should help decrease the crying and help your puppy adjust faster to the new routine.
You should pick and choose what might work well for your situation.
What to do when your new puppy cries in its crate at night – 4 tips
1. Make the puppy’s kennel/crate as comforting as possible.
- Use a crate for your puppies comfy, safe place. You can use a fold-up wire crate or a plastic kennel.
- Consider keeping the kennel in your bedroom next to your bed the first few nights. This is somewhat comforting to some puppies. You can drop your hand next to the crate those first few nights so the puppy can smell you. You can move the crate to another room in a week or so if you choose to.
- When you pick your puppy up from the breeder or shelter, bring a small towel and put it with the puppy and her siblings for a few minutes to get their scent on it. Put that towel in your puppy’s crate.
- Put a soft, comforting puppy blanket in your puppy’s kennel and a soft toy.
- Try a heartbeat toy. Similar to the old trick of a ticking clock in a pillow case to mimic a “heartbeat.” This toy is also heated.
- Put chew toys in the kennel like bully sticks and Kongs.
- Feed your puppy her meals in her kennel.
- Put your puppy in her kennel for at least a few minutes (keep it fun and positive) during the first day home so it’s not a complete shock the first night. We actually put Remy in his kennel right after we first brought him home and he took a quiet nap. Good puppy!
2. Ask your puppy’s breeder, foster home or shelter for their tips.
- Ask your breeder or shelter to introduce your puppy to a crate so she’s somewhat used to it.
- Ask the breeder or shelter for other suggestions – they are likely experienced in this!
3. Stay strong and ignore your puppy’s whining.
- Ignore the crying! Very important.
- Accept that you won’t get much sleep the first night or two.
- Wear ear plugs.
- Don’t feel guilty. Puppies typically adapt quickly.
- Apologize to any neighbors, roommates or whoever else might be bothered by the crying.
- Know that it will get better! The second night will likely be easier than the first night.
4. Plenty of interaction throughout the day for your puppy.
- Limit the time in the kennel during the day but use it for a few minutes to help her get used to it.
- Plenty of interaction, training, exercise, love and play during the day of course.
See our post: How far can I walk my puppy?
Do puppies need a potty break in the middle of the night?
This also depends on the puppy. I would ask your puppy’s breeder for his or her opinion based on the age and breed of your puppy. Breed-specific rescue groups or experienced shelter workers also have a lot of knowledge.
After consulting with my puppy’s breeder and the owners of other larger breeds, I decided my 8-week-old weimaraner puppy could hold it for 7 hours at night. This turned out to be true. He never had an accident in his kennel. I would let him out at about 10 p.m. before I went to bed and then at 5 a.m. when I got up.
Puppies can hold it a little longer at night while they are sleeping
One rule of thumb I hear repeated online is a puppy can hold it a little longer than one hour per month of age. However, most puppies can hold it longer than that at night.
It’s better to stay up a bit later than you’d like and to get up a bit earlier than you would prefer just so you can limit the habit of going to your puppy in the middle of the night. You want to teach him to sleep through the night as quickly as possible.
If you think your puppy needs a potty break in the middle of the night, do your best to go to the puppy when he’s quiet. I recommend setting your alarm for 2:30 or 3. That way you are deciding this, not him. You probably won’t need to do this for more than the first two weeks or so, but every puppy is different.
If your puppy seems to be howling literally nonstop, then try to at least wait for him to be quiet for 5 seconds. Take him directly outside (no playing, no attention) and then back in the crate. He’ll probably cry again, so just be a “mean” dog mom or dad and ignore him.
You don’t want to start the habit of going to him every time he cries/howls. Puppies are little devils and they learn very quickly that barking will get them what they want (attention). So do your best to ignore all crying and only go to your puppy when he’s quiet. Easier said than done, but it’s very important or you’ll create a monster!
So, how long do puppies cry at night? …
How long do puppies cry? Here’s how it went with my 8-week old weimaraner:
Night #1: Remy cried nonstop from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. or so. The crate was in our living room. I think having it in our bedroom might’ve helped.
Night #2: Not a peep! I think he was exhausted!
Night #3: About 2 hours of crying. I think we had moved the crate to our bedroom for a few nights by night #3.
Night #4: No more night crying. Woo hoo!
We moved the crate back to the living room after a few nights because we sleep better in general without our pets in our bedroom. It’s fine if you want your puppy to sleep in your bedroom if that’s what you prefer.
Now, getting our puppy to stop crying at 5 a.m. because he wanted to start his day was another challenge. Remy had a bad habit of crying every morning because wanted to get up and eat! This seems to be a common problem with puppies and young dogs.
For that issue, see my post: How to get your puppy to sleep in.
Why do puppies cry at night?
When your puppy is crying that first night home, it’s typically because he’s lost that comfort of having his mom and littermates right there with him. His routine is off and his whole world is turned upside down!
Your puppy is crying due to a bit of anxiety and confusion, but it does not take long for the puppy to adapt to the new routine if you follow some of the tips in this article. It really is important to just let the puppy work through the change, and you’ll have an adapted, happy little puppy within just a few nights.
Your puppy could also be crying because she has to go potty or she’s hungry or just wants attention or play time. You’ll begin to figure your puppy out and recognize when she truly needs to go potty or when she’s just hoping to get you up for some playtime!
Should I let my puppy sleep in my bed?
This is your choice, however I do not recommend it at least for the first 6 months.
If you train your puppy to sleep in her crate at night, you are building a confident, well-adapted puppy. She will be less likely to develop separation anxiety. You are also helping her with potty training because she is unlikely to go potty in her crate.
I know that many people do want their dogs to sleep on the bed with them. If that is the case with you, I recommend you wait until your puppy is fully potty trained before allowing her to sleep in your bed at night. Think of it as a privilege your young dog will need to earn. Another option is to eventually allow her to sleep out of the crate but on her own dog bed.
See these posts:
Alternatives to a kennel/crate
Using a pet gate
If you do not like the idea of using a crate or kennel for your puppy, there are a few other options to consider. You could put up a simple baby or pet gate in your bathroom or laundry room doorway to keep your puppy to a smaller area. The reason I like a crate better than a gate is because a crate is a smaller area so the puppy is less likely to go potty in a kennel.
Ex-pen or play pen
Some people are more comfortable using an “ex-pen” or play pen for a puppy vs. a crate. While I don’t prefer this option, it’s better than nothing because you’re still keeping your puppy to a confined area.
Have you raised a puppy? What did you do to stop your puppy’s crying at night?
Let me know in the comments! Please share this post with anyone who recently got a puppy.
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Products to help comfort your puppy:
- Heartbeat toy
This stuffed toy features a real-feel, pulsing heartbeat and heat source that works to calm your pup and reduce negative behaviors such as barking and whining. Batteries included.
- Kong toys.
Stuff with your puppies favorite goodies – peanut butter, yogurt, treats. Freeze to make it last longer. Get yours here.
- Fold-up wire crate.
So convenient when you want to travel with your puppy/dog later. Easy to fold up and place in your car or fold-up when not in use.
- Why is my puppy so wild at night?
- Where should my new puppy sleep?
- Your puppy’s first night home (Puppy in Training blog)
- Kennel training to prevent your dog from destroying your stuff
- How to stop your dog from whining for attention
- How to stop your dog from crying all day
Get all of our training tips HERE
If your specific problem was not addressed here, you may be interested in our one-on-one dog training. Ask us unlimited dog training questions by email for just $9.99/mo (cancel anytime). Learn more here or email Lindsay@ThatMutt.com.
Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training and behavior, healthy raw food for pets and running with dogs.