my puppy is crying. what do i do? should i pick them up?
It’s a good question. At Paws in Work we’re always aware of the needs of the puppies who come with us to our events and understanding what’s going on when they whimper or cry is important to helping them develop.
Crying is the earliest form of communication that your puppy learns, and you should always respond when there is a genuine reason for the crying. Is your puppy hungry or thirsty? Do they need the toilet? You should never leave a puppy to cry when they are in need of the basics, or this can cause difficulties with training later.
Your puppy may cry when they are left alone, perhaps if you’re elsewhere in the home or asleep. This is where it can be tough not to give in to their little whimpering voices and go and comfort them, as doing so can lead to them crying for attention in future. The Labrador Site mention the two types of crying in puppies, namely learned crying and natural crying. Natural crying is what happens when the puppy is frightened or otherwise distressed, and learned crying is what comes when the puppy starts to associate crying with receiving attention or treats.
Never underestimate the power of the potty!
Not a literal potty, of course, but potty training. Your pup can only hold its bladder for a wee while (see what we did there?), so make sure the very very last thing you do at night is take them outside for a toilet break. In the early days, if your furry friend can only hold its pee for a few hours you may have to make an early-hours trip to the garden each night (find out more in our article about toilet training). If you get woken up by Fido singing the song of his people (i.e. crying and whining), follow these steps to ensure that your pooch gets what he needs without getting the wrong idea.
That’s it, and it sounds a little harsh but it’s important to keep things brief so that your pupper doesn’t start yowling for fuss and cuddles in the middle of the night.
And by this, we mean ‘decide if crate training is right for you and your pup’. You’ll need to do a little research, as crate training isn’t as simple as popping the pupper into a crate and leaving her there. It means building up a strong positive association with the crate, so that she feels safe in there. By properly crate training a puppy, crying soon turns into snoring! You do this by feeding her all meals in the crate, rewarding her for entering the crate, and ensuring that no one bothers her while she’s in there (particularly strangers, other pets or kids!).
When you combine this positivity with a little additional training, you’ll find she settles down in there much more easily and even takes herself off for naps in her crate, too! The additional training includes not opening the door to let her out of the crate unless she is quiet, for the same reason that you don’t pet a crying pupper at night. If she is crying and you need to take her out, get her to do something first; tell her to sit, or lie down, then reward and release!
DON’T let them cry it out for more than a few minutes
There’s a big debate on this with humans as well as canines. How long should you let a baby or puppy cry for before you go to comfort them? You have to consider two things: first, will leaving them alone be negative or positive? And second, how long should you leave them for?
If you’re leaving your dog to cry for 10 minutes or more, they’ll get themselves into such a stressed state it will turn their bed or crate into a negative environment for them. The stress can then potentially bring on scratching, chewing, diarrhoea… and a psychological problem with getting in to a crate even in other contexts.
Leave them for five mins or so, then walk in comfort them with stroking and a calm voice. I’ll then lean down and give them a firm leave command — usually in a reassuring tone, but this will depend on your dog. If it’s a German Shepherd ripping crate to pieces, a firmer tone might be needed!
After that I’ll let them touch and smell me, but then close the door and walk out. I want the dog to think, ‘I’m in a nice place and don’t want to come out; but if I do, dad’s gone and walked away for now but he’s coming back. I’ve definitely not been left.’
How To Stop Puppy Crying At Night
Today we are going to look at several simple ways to stop your puppy crying, and show you how to get a new puppy to sleep through from the very first night. 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. With the information below, you’ll learn how to settle your puppy quickly and help them feel happy and content in their new home.
We’ll look at the causes of a puppy howling in their crate, and talk about crate training a puppy crying. We’ll talk about reasons why puppy crying might start at bedtime. We’ll also share how long you can leave a puppy to cry for, give you tips for crate training at night, and help you learn how to make a puppy stop crying and get back to having fun.
Or you can join our Puppy Games course (see video) and discover lots of ways to keep your puppy amused!