What To Do When Your Puppy Won’t Stop Whining In His Crate

Puppy laying in a crate.

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A new puppy is a wonderful addition to any family, but it can also be a daunting experience.

One of the most common complaints from new puppy owners is whining. Puppies will often whine when put into their crate, or whenever they are left alone.

The good news is, with the right approach and consistency, you can teach your puppy to stop whining in no time!

Let’s look at some of the things you can do to help your puppy feel more secure in his crate. And less inclined to whine. 

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Understand That Whining Is Natural 

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that whining is a normal behavior for puppies. It is their way of expressing discomfort or fear.

If your puppy has been separated from their littermates and mother, then they may feel scared and lonely in their new home.

The best approach you can take is patience – give your puppy time to adjust to their new environment. And get used to being on their own without constant companionship from their family members.

This should go a long way toward reducing whining behaviors. 

Why do puppies whine in their crates?

A beagle dog laying in a crate.

Puppies whine in their crates for multiple reasons. It’s important to figure out the cause of the whining in order to get it to stop.

They could be whining because they are lonely. Or bored. They could also be scared, especially if it’s their first night in their new home. Or their first time in a crate.

Another common reason is that they need to go potty. Young puppies can’t hold it very long and will whine if they are in their crate when they need to go. Be thankful for this as the other option is having an accident in the crate.

How to stop your puppy from whining in their crate

There are several things you can do to stop your puppy from whining in their crate. You can start with proper crate training and positive reinforcement. And make sure your puppy doesn’t need to go potty.

Make sure to give your puppy plenty of exercise as well. And finally, don’t respond immediately when your puppy whines. Unless they may need a trip outside to potty, ignoring it for a short period of time might be enough to get them to stop.

Keep reading for more information on each of these.

Get your puppy comfortable with their new crate

Properly crate training your puppy is an important step in getting them to not whine while in their crate.

Start by giving them treats and praise every time they go in the crate – this will help them make positive associations with being in the crate.

Then close the crate door while they are in the crate. Give them a treat and then open the door again. After doing this a few times you can start leaving your puppy in the crate for short periods of time.

Then, gradually increase the length of time that they spend in the crate until they’re comfortable being in there for longer periods of time.

Provide positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement works wonders with puppies! While you are crate training your puppy, give them treats when they are in the crate and quiet.

Along with this, reward your puppy if you hear them start to whine but then quiet down by themselves. This shows them that you like what they did and helps to encourage the behavior in the future.

With consistent rewards like this, your puppy will soon learn how to self-soothe without needing treats every time he needs to calm down. 

Make His Crate Comfy 

A dog sleeping in a crate.

Another thing you can do is make sure that your puppy’s crate is as comfortable as possible. After all, it’s where they will be spending much of their time while they adjust to life in your home!

Put a soft blanket or towel inside the crate for them to snuggle up in, along with some chew toys or interactive toys, like a kong toy, that they can play with while they are alone.

This will help keep them occupied and reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety while they wait for you. 

You can also try putting a blanket over the crate. This helps create a den-like environment that puppies often feel safe and secure in.

One thing to keep in mind when deciding what to place in the crate. Not all puppies or dogs can have things in their crate with them.

For Luna, I couldn’t put any blankets or towels in the crate for her. If I did she would potty on them. If there was nothing in the kennel with her, she could hold the potty overnight, but put a blanket in there, she went potty.

Now that Luna’s older, that isn’t an issue. Unfortunately, she still can’t have anything in her crate with her.

She recently developed separation anxiety after several major changes in our household (two adult children moved out this year and our 14 year old cat passed away). I’m sure she’s just worried the rest of us won’t be coming home again and she stresses. This causes her to destroy anything left in or near her kennel.

So, please consider what to put in the crate with your puppy and be willing to have the crate empty if that is safer for your puppy.

Have a routine

Another important factor is consistency; establishing a routine helps puppies understand what is expected of them throughout the day so they know when it’s time for bed.

Start by feeding him at roughly the same times every day and taking him outside right after meals.

Then set aside some quality playtime before bed so he gets one last burst of energy before settling down for the evening.

Finally, make sure you’re sticking with a strict nap/bedtime schedule so your pup knows exactly when it’s time for sleep each night (even on weekends).  

Pick the right size crate

It’s also important to make sure you have the right size dog crate for your puppy. Your puppy needs enough space to stand up, turn around, and lay down.

If you get a crate that is too big, they can create a separate area that’s just for sleeping in one corner and then use the rest of the space as a toilet.

On the other hand, if it’s too small they may feel cramped and uncomfortable, which can contribute to whining.

Some wire crates come with a removable divider. This allows you to get the size your puppy will need as an adult but still limit the size for what they need now.

Tire your puppy out before bedtime

A German Shepherd sleeping in a wire crate.

A tired puppy is a good puppy.

Make sure your puppy has enough exercise throughout the day so they are tired at night. Puppies need both physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day.

Take them on a short walk, play a game of fetch, or do some puppy training in the afternoon and evening. This will help to tire them out before they are put in their crate for the night.

A tired puppy should have an easier time settling down without whining at bedtime than a puppy that isn’t tired.

Make sure they’ve had plenty of potty breaks

Needing to go potty is one of the main reasons a puppy that is crate trained will whine. Your puppy needs a trip outside to go potty right before going to bed. This will help reduce the times your puppy needs to potty at night.

Unfortunately, young puppies can’t hold it all night. No matter how good they are doing with their potty training, if you have a young puppy, expect at least one if not two trips outside to potty at night.

Thankfully, if this is the reason your puppy is whining, they should settle quickly once they’ve had a chance to relieve themselves.

Pick the right place for the crate

Location, location, location!

Pick a spot in your home where your puppy can be near you but still have some peace. A quiet corner of the living room or bedroom are both good options.

The key is to make sure it’s not somewhere that gets too much traffic from other family members and pets. This will help reduce the chances of your puppy becoming overstimulated and will make it easier for them to settle down at night.

Some people insist the only place for the crate is in the bedroom. And that having it in the bedroom will help reduce their whining.

But they aren’t being realistic. Sometimes putting the crate in the bedroom just isn’t an option. Not everyone has a large enough bedroom to put a crate in there as well.

Luna, even as a puppy, had too big of a crate to put it in my room. It had to go in the living room. But if she whined, we could hear her.

The most important thing is to choose a location where you can still hear your puppy at night.

Ignore the behavior

If your puppy is whining in their crate and you are sure they don’t need to go to the bathroom, you can try to ignore the whining.

Puppies don’t understand why they are being put into the crate and will whine to try to get out. If you respond to every whine, it could reinforce the behavior.

This is why it’s important to try to ignore the behavior and wait until your puppy has calmed down. They don’t need to be quiet for a long time, just a brief amount of time quiet is enough to let them out of their crate.

This helps teach them that the only way to get out of the crate is by being calm and quiet.

Just remember, if they are whining and may need a potty break, let them out and take them potty. Only ignore them if you are positive all their needs are met and they are just whining to get out of the crate.

How long to let your puppy cry in his crate

It can be hard to listen to your puppy cry in the crate. But it’s important you don’t give in too quickly or else this could reinforce their whining behavior.

If you can, try to wait at least 5 to 10 minutes before letting them out of the crate. This is a good way to teach them that whining won’t get them out of the crate.

If your puppy is crying for longer than that, it could be a sign they may need to go potty. Or maybe they are too scared or anxious. Take them out of the crate and try to figure out what’s wrong and help calm them down.

If they consistently cry or whine for more than 5 to 10 minutes, you may need to take a step back in the crate training process and work on desensitization again.

Be consistent

Be sure to follow the same routine every day so your puppy can start to expect what’s coming and begin to settle down.

For example, if you take them outside for a potty break before putting them in their crate, make sure you do it at the same time every day. If they whine in the crate after that, wait the same amount of time before letting them out.

Being consistent will help your puppy understand the routine and not expect to be let out for every little whine.

What about whining at night?

It’s normal for puppies to whine or bark at night, especially if they are crated in a different room from their owners.

If your puppy is whining at night, you can use the same techniques as during the day. Make sure all of their basic needs are met before putting them into their crate and wait for 5 to 10 minutes before letting them out.

If your puppy is still whining after that time, try a soothing toy or blanket that can help calm them down and give them something to focus on other than the crate.

If they start whining during the middle of the night it’s probably due to needing to go potty. Take them potty and put them back in the crate. Minimize any interaction to try to show your puppy that it isn’t play time yet.

Make sure you are patient and consistent with your training and soon enough your puppy should be able to sleep through the night.

Should you close a puppy crate at night?

I’m a firm believer in having a puppy sleep in their crate at night. This helps them learn to hold their bladder overnight (at least to the limit that they physically can hold it based on their age).

It also helps keep them safe while you sleep. Puppies are naturally inquisitive and tend to get into things they shouldn’t while unsupervised.

Crating them limits how much trouble they can get into while you sleep. Plus it helps to teach them that nighttime is sleep time.

Once your puppy is older, then you can decide if you want them loose at night or not.

Both Luna and Morgan spent the night in their crates for at least the first year or so. Now they both sleep in my room.

Luna still occasionally sleeps in her crate at night, but she is well-behaved enough to have the choice.

When to move the puppy crate out of your bedroom

If you have the crate in your room you may be wondering when is a good time to move it to a different room.

You can start transitioning your puppy to a different room once they are comfortable in the crate and don’t need to be let out for potty breaks at night.

To transition to a different room, start by moving the crate gradually closer to the door of your bedroom and then just outside the door.

This way your puppy is still nearby but not actually in your room. Have some treats ready so that they can associate the new location with something positive.

Once you feel comfortable that they won’t be crying or whining all night, then move them to another room in your house.

Make sure you don’t do this too quickly though; give your puppy time to adjust and get used to the new setup.

Why you shouldn’t punish a dog that’s crying in the crate

Crate training can be a difficult process but it’s important to remember that your puppy cries only because they are scared or need something (like a potty break).

Punishing them for this behavior won’t actually address the underlying issue and could make the problem worse.

Instead of punishing, try to reward your puppy when they are quiet in their crate. And reward them for going in it as well.

This will help them learn to associate the crate with positive experiences. You want the crate to be a happy place for your puppy so they want to be in it.

Crate training can be stressful for both you and your puppy, but with patience and persistence, it will get better.

Your puppy will soon get used to their crate – they just need to learn that it’s a safe and comfortable space.

And once your puppy is used to the crate, you’ll know that they have a safe space to sleep and stay while you’re away.

Finally, remember that every puppy is different so make sure to adjust your training methods as needed. Good luck!

FAQ about dogs crying in the crate

Should I ignore a dog whining in their crate?

That depends. Does your dog need a potty break? If they do, then no, you shouldn’t ignore it.

Has your dog had all their needs met and they recently went potty? Then yes, try to ignore it for a while. If it doesn’t stop, verify that they don’t need to go potty and try to figure out why they are continuing to whine.

How long should you let a puppy cry in their crate?

That really depends on the individual puppy, but in general try not to let them cry for more than five to ten minutes. If they are still crying after that, it’s best to take a break and figure out why they’re so upset.

Should I let my puppy cry in their crate at night?

Again, that depends. Did you just put them in their crate after having them go potty? If yes, then you can let them cry for 5 to 10 minutes to see if they will calm themselves down.

If it’s been a few hours since they went in their crate for bed, then no, don’t let them cry it out. It’s very likely that a puppy crying in the middle of the night, especially after being quiet for a few hours, has to go potty.

Take them potty and put them back in the crate. If that’s all the problem was, they should go back to sleep.

Should I let my puppy cry it out?

If all your puppy’s needs have been met you can let them cry it out for a little while. But if they are still crying after 5 to 10 minutes, it’s time to check on them and help them calm down.

If you aren’t sure whether your puppy needs to go potty, or it’s been a while since they went, take them out just in case. It’s always better to err on the side of extra bathroom breaks than making your puppy wait too long. Too long of a wait tends to end in a potty accident.

Related posts

How To Potty Train Your New Puppy

How To Crate Train Your New Puppy

How To Choose The Right Crate For Your Dog

Pin image for what to do when your puppy whines in the crate with a Beagle laying in a wire crate.

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