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 a kennel/crate for all puppies. By that, I mean an indoor crate to keep your puppy safe and out of trouble when you can’t supervise such as while you’re sleeping.
Nearly all puppies will cry, bark, whine and howl the first night home, unfortunately.
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!
As hard as it was, I ignored Remy the entire night. I did not comfort him, though I wanted to. I did not scold him, and I did not let him out for a potty break. He was in his kennel from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (More on night-time potty breaks below.)
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 few nights.
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! Haha!
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.
Make the kennel/crate as comforting as possible.
- 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 soft, comforting blankets in your puppy’s kennel and a soft toy.
- Try a heartbeat toy (I haven’t tried this, have you?). Similar to the old trick of a ticking clock in a pillow case to mimic a “heartbeat.”
- Put chew toys in the kennel like bully sticks.
- 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.
- Keep the kennel in your bedroom next to your bed the first few nights. This is somewhat comforting to some puppies.
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.
- Ignore the crying! Very important.
- Accept that you won’t get much sleep the first night.
- Wear ear plugs.
- Don’t feel guilty.
- 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.
Plenty of interaction throughout the day.
- 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.
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.
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.
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? …
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.
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.
Your puppy’s first night home (Puppy in Training blog)
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