At first, puppy crying can be cute.
You want to comfort that sweet little fluff and hold them tight.
You want to let them know mama is here and everything is going to be fine.
But when you can’t sleep because your puppy is crying, the cuteness wears off real fast.
If you’re currently going through this, just know that it’s a phase and one day you’re going to wish your adult dog was a sweet little puppy again.
But that’s not much help, is it?
In this article, we’re going to dive into all the reasons why puppies cry, and how to stop each one of them.
How To Get Your Puppy To Stop Crying
Puppies cry for different reasons, so the ways to get your puppy to stop varies.
We’ll cover each of the reasons, but there’s one important thing to remember…
Do not punish your puppy for crying.
At this stage in life, it’s one of the few ways they know how to communicate, it’s a natural instinct that’s helped their ancestors survive in the wild for many years, and they won’t understand why you’re punishing them.
Plus, according to this article at K9OfMine.com, punishment can be a form of attention for bored dogs, and we don’t want to give them what they want when they’re crying in the crate (more on this later).
The good news is this: with proper training and understanding on your part, your puppy will stop crying.
There are lots of ways to attack this problem, but let’s start with the most common issue…
My Puppy Won’t Stop Crying In The Crate
Crying in the crate is the most common issue when it comes to puppy crying.
Your puppy may cry in the crate for several reasons, including being:
- Scared or lonely
- Not tired
- Needs to potty
- Wanting Attention
We’ll get into identifying each reason and it’s solution below, but here’s the big rule for crying in the crate:
Do Not Positively Reinforce Crying In The Crate.
Puppies are smart, and if every time they cry you let them out, they will continue to cry.
Instead, positively reinforce their good behavior.
If you’re taking them out of the crate, wait until they’ve settled down before taking them out.
If you positively reinforce their good behavior, puppies can learn to quit crying in the crate in just a few short days (although some do take longer than that).
Is Your Puppy Crying Because She’s Scared or Lonely?
Your puppy may be crying in the crate because she’s scared and lonely.
She’s in a new house full of unknown monsters that could be trying to eat her.
She’s lost her pack and is all alone in her new crate.
In the wild, when puppies find themselves alone, they cry to let other members of the pack know where they are.
So crying in the crate is natural.
What your puppy needs to know is that you’ll come back, and the crate is safe.
The shortcut to teaching her this is to actually not leave her at night, but put her crate in your room.
She’ll be able to smell and hear you, which will appease the loneliness.
What we did with our dog was instead of putting the crate in our room, we slept out in the living room (where the crate was) for the first three nights we brought him home.
The fourth night we left him alone, and of course, he didn’t like it, but within a few days, the crying stopped.
To help your pup realize that the crate is safe, put a toy or two in there with her, play games involving the crate, and feed her in the crate.
Eventually, she will get comfortable and stop crying because she’s scared or lonely.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because She’s Not Tired?
If your puppy is not getting enough exercise and burning off that crazy puppy energy, her reaction when you put her in the crate might be to cry and whine.
Putting a puppy, especially a very young puppy, full of energy in a crate is setting them up for failure.
Games of tug and fetch, and training to mentally tire out your pup, are great ways to burn off some of that puppy energy.
Playing with toys is another great way to wear them out.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because He’s Uncomfortable?
Does your puppy have a nice, comfy bed?
Is there enough room in the crate?
If your puppy is uncomfortable in his crate, then he might let you know by crying.
Check to make sure they have a comfortable bed with enough room.
Of course, you don’t want them to have too much room that they pee on one side, but they do need enough room to lay down and be comfortable.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because She Needs To Potty?
If your puppy is crying because they need to potty, that’s great news!
That means that your puppy is starting to be potty trained.
But obviously, they can’t tell you that they need to potty, so you’ll have to figure that out yourself.
Has she gone in the past hour?
Did she just drink a lot?
Did she just eat?
Did she just play or chew a lot?
All of these activities could cause your pup to have to go potty.
Make sure not to put your puppy in the crate with a full bladder.
This will set them up for failure in your crate training efforts, and cause the process to be slow.
Take them out to potty!
Give them some time outside to make sure they’ve completely done all of their business.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because He’s Bored?
Hey, nobody likes to be bored.
And since puppies have the attention span of about two seconds, they’re easily bored, and crying can be their way of expressing that.
Usually, a bored puppy is a bad puppy.
This is when they’ll start chewing on things they’re not supposed to, like shoes, furniture, or their bed.
Tire them out or keep them entertained.
You achieve both of those by giving them fun, exciting toys to play with, taking them out for walks, or playing with them before putting them in the crate.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because He’s Hurt?
Puppies, like kids, may cry because they’re hurt.
If your puppy is crying and you’re not sure why, give them the old rub down.
Play with all of his limbs and joints, and if he yelps when you come to a certain part of his body, that may be why he is crying.
Another giveaway may be a limp.
Carefully watch your pup walk to see if there’s anything out of the normal in how they move.
Of course, the solution he’s crying because he’s hurt is to call the vet.
They can help properly diagnose what is wrong and implement a treatment to get him better.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because She’s Sick?
Just like if they’re hurt, puppies may cry because they’re sick.
Is your puppy lethargic?
Or avoiding you, when she’s normally following you?
Is she vomiting?
Does she have diarrhea?
Has she not gone in a few days? (A sign she may be constipated.)
Is she excessively licking or biting an area? (This may be a sign of infection, allergies, parasites, ticks or fleas.)
These may be signs that she’s sick, which may cause her to cry.
Of course, the solution to a sick, crying puppy is to call the vet.
They will help diagnose what’s wrong and come up with a solution to get her feeling like the spring chicken she is.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because She’s Hungry?
Most people get crabby when they’re hungry, and puppies are no different.
Most puppies act like they haven’t had a meal in weeks when you bust out the food bag, but you can usually tell that they’re not getting enough food by how they act between meals.
Are they full of energy, like a normal pup?
Or are they lethargic?
If they’re lethargic, it may be a sign that they’re not getting enough food.
Check with your vet to see how much food you should be feeding your puppy, and make sure she’s getting enough.
Is Your Puppy Crying Because She Wants Attention?
When puppies are between 8-12 weeks old they go through the bonding stage.
This is when they learn who their new parents are and establishes a strong connection with them.
If they feel like they’re not getting enough attention, they may cry to let you know.
If they cry because they want attention, and you give it to them every time, they may learn that they get attention every time they cry, which can lead to continued crying.
Give your puppy lots of attention and love when you’re playing with them.
Let them know that you’re their parent and that you love them, but if they’re crying because they want even more attention, do not reward their crying.
Your puppy may cry for many reasons, including being:
- Scared or lonely
- Not tired
- Needs to potty
- Wanting Attention
Go through each of these possible reasons for crying, and unless your puppy is sick or hurt, remember to not reinforce crying.
If you positively reinforce good behavior, puppy crying can stop in as quick as a few short days.
Have any questions about puppy crying?
Let us know in the comments below!