Trainer Explains Why Your Puppy Whines At Night & 16 Things To Try


When you wake up to puppy whines? It’s not the most fun.

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Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting and heartwarming experience – and you’ve likely been looking forward to this for quite a while! And then the whines… all night.

However, one of the challenges that new pet owners often face is dealing with their puppy’s nighttime whining. It’s essential to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior to help your furry friend feel more comfortable and secure during the night. 

In this post, we’ll explore the various factors that contribute to puppies whining at night, such as hunger, fear, loneliness, and the need for potty breaks. By understanding the root causes and applying appropriate solutions, you’ll be better equipped to ease your puppy’s nighttime distress and ensure a more peaceful sleep for both of you. So, let’s dive in and unravel the mystery behind your puppy’s nighttime whining.

Puppies are known for their adorable and playful demeanor, but they can also be quite vocal, especially at night. It is not uncommon for puppies to whine at night, and there are various reasons why they do so.

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(And yes, you can expect the first night is going to be a little rough, because this is a totally new home and new environment!!)

Change Creates This Common Problem.

Your new puppy has had a lot of change in a short time, suddenly his litter, his human family and his momma changed to this new puppy home, and puppy’s life begins to revolve around a few humans, and maybe another dog or similar – but rarely is it as big! So, suddenly, in this first week or so puppy is home, they’re bundled into a home, and then told “Night night!” and the humans disappear… and seem to have forgotten… did they? 

It’s a big change, but usually how we make puppy stop comes from one of a few common whys. 

why puppy whines at night 6
Puppy leaves a soft, warm, squishy litter of brothers and sisters, and then everything changes.

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Understanding Why Puppy Whines At Night. 

The first thing to do is look at the why. Understanding why your new baby dog whines is a good idea as it can help you to understand young puppies. Puppy sleeps a lot, but focusing that so you can get a good night’s sleep takes time, and in the early days, it can be tough on a young puppy and on you to facilitate this. But, luckily these are the common reasons that your new dog is whining through the night.

New Surroundings

As Puppy faces an unfamiliar environment in which all those they knew (mother and siblings) have disappeared. Therefore, it’s the duty of the owners to help them adapt and overcome the fear they face every night.

Discomfort

One reason why puppies whine at night is discomfort. Puppies may experience discomfort due to a variety of reasons such as being too hot or too cold, having an uncomfortable sleeping arrangement, or experiencing pain. For example, puppies may whine if they get their first vaccine or if their nails are trimmed too short. Additionally, illness may also cause puppies to whine at night, and they may have other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or discharge from their eyes or nose.

Hunger

Hunger is another reason why puppies may whine at night. Puppies have small stomachs and need to eat frequently. If they do not get enough food during the day, they may wake up hungry at night and whine to let their owners know that they need to eat.

Needing to Go Potty

Puppies may also whine at night if they need to go potty. Potty training is an important aspect of raising a puppy, and it can take time for them to learn. Taking puppies out to potty right before bed may reduce the need to whine at night.

why puppy whines at night 4
setting up a comfortable crate is a key part to getting that first night’s sleep conquered! I’m not sure this is the best set up, but it’s not awful!

Overtiredness

Overtiredness can bring on fatigue, slow your puppy’s reaction times, and even affect their ability to learn and retain. A puppy can become overtired from a poor night’s sleep or from missing naps or rests, especially if this is happening repeatedly. A tired puppy may also become restless and whine at night as a result of this fatigue. 

Excitement

Excitement may also cause puppies to whine at night. Puppies are social animals (and don’t tend to thrive on social isolation) and love spending time with their owners. They may whine at night if they hear a family member moving around or if they are excited to see them. 

Worry

This is the most common reason. It is possible for puppies to wake up at night due to anxiety or worry, especially if they are going through a period of adjustment or if they are predisposed to anxious behavior. Puppies may experience separation anxiety when their owners leave them alone at night, which can cause them to whine, bark, or become destructive. Additionally, puppies may feel anxious due to loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or changes in their routine.

If you suspect that your puppy may be experiencing anxiety or worry, it is important to address the underlying causes. If you can, set up your puppy’s crate in your bedroom, and after a few days, increase the distance between puppy’s crate and your bed.

Crate Training Failure

Poor crate training can be a reason why a puppy whines overnight. Crate training is an essential part of a puppy’s routine, and it is crucial to execute it correctly. If a puppy has not been properly trained to tolerate being in a crate, they may become anxious or fearful and whine, cry, or bark excessively.

Some common mistakes that owners make during crate training include leaving the puppy in the crate for too long, not making the crate comfortable enough, or not properly introducing the puppy to the crate. If a puppy has negative associations with their crate, they may be reluctant to spend time in it, which can result in whining or other unwanted behaviors.

why puppy whines at night 5
Look at where your puppy naturally falls asleep, it should give you some idea as to how they like to sleep.

Strategies to Reduce Nighttime Whining

There’s a lot of ideas here, because there’s a lot of moving part to why your new dog cries, but this is a pretty comprehensive list of good things and great ideas from dog experts that will help you find the best way for your puppy to sleep well! Just remember, these are just ideas, and it will take a little experimentation and a lot of patience to find the right answer for you and your puppy.

1 – Feeding Puppies Earlier in the Evening

Feeding a puppy too early in the evening may cause them to become hungry at bedtime, leading to restlessness and increased whining overnight. However, if a puppy is fed too late, they may need to go potty in the middle of the night which can also lead to whining. Adjusting a puppy’s feeding schedule may help with late-night whining tied to hunger or a need to potty. Changing the feeding routine can help keep the puppy satiated through the night and avoid midnight bathroom breaks.

2 – Providing a Comfortable Sleeping Arrangement

Providing a comfortable sleeping arrangement for a puppy can decrease how much they whine overnight because it can help them feel more secure and relaxed. Puppies, like humans, need a safe and comfortable place to rest, and if they are uncomfortable or feel unsafe in their sleeping area, they may become anxious or restless, leading to whining or other unwanted behaviors.

A comfortable sleeping arrangement can include a cozy bed or crate with soft bedding, toys, and other items that the puppy enjoys. This can help create a positive association with their sleeping space, making it more likely that they will settle down and sleep through the night without whining or other disturbances.

Additionally, a comfortable sleeping area can help regulate a puppy’s body temperature and reduce any discomfort they may feel from a drafty room or hard surface. This can help them sleep more soundly and reduce the likelihood of whining or other disruptions during the night.

3 – Establishing a Consistent Potty Routine

Establishing a consistent potty routine for a puppy can decrease how much they whine overnight because it can help address any physical discomfort or need to relieve themselves that may be causing the whining. Puppies have small bladders and may need to go potty frequently, especially during the night. If they are not able to relieve themselves when needed, they may become restless, anxious, and whine to signal their discomfort.

Establishing a consistent potty routine can help ensure that the puppy has regular opportunities to go outside and relieve themselves, reducing the likelihood of accidents in the house and minimizing any discomfort that may be causing the whining. By providing the puppy with a clear routine and structure, they will also become more accustomed to the expectation of when they will be taken outside to go potty. This can help reduce their anxiety and stress levels, leading to less whining and a better night’s sleep.

Additionally, establishing a consistent potty routine can also help with crate training, which can be an effective way to reduce whining and help the puppy feel more secure during the night. By taking the puppy outside to go potty right before bedtime and immediately after waking up in the morning, you can help them develop a regular routine and minimize any accidents or whining that may occur during the night.

4 – Spending Quality Time with Your Puppy During the Day

Spending quality time with your puppy during the day can have a positive effect on how much your puppy whines overnight. One reason for this is that puppies, like humans, enjoy companionship and attention. If they receive enough attention and playtime during the day, they are more likely to feel content and tired at night, which can reduce the amount of whining they do while you are trying to sleep. Additionally, spending quality time with your puppy during the day can help them feel more secure and less anxious, which can also reduce their tendency to whine at night.

5 – Getting adequate sleep during the day

Ensuring that a puppy gets enough sleep during the day can reduce the amount of whining they do at night. One of the reasons a puppy may whine at night is because they are tired and restless from not getting enough sleep during the day. Providing a comfortable and quiet place for the puppy to nap during the day can help them get the rest they need and reduce their nighttime whining. It is also important to note that hunger and thirst can also cause whining at night, so it is important to make sure the puppy is well-fed and hydrated during the day as well.

6 – Exercise puppy mentally & physically during the day

Adding in mental and physical exercise during the day can have a significant impact on how much your puppy whines overnight. Puppies have a lot of energy, and if they don’t have an outlet for that energy during the day, they may become restless and agitated at night. By providing your puppy with exercise during the day, you can help them burn off excess energy and feel more relaxed at night. This can reduce their tendency to whine and make it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Additionally, mental exercise, such as puzzle toys and training sessions, can help keep your puppy’s mind engaged and prevent boredom, which can also contribute to nighttime whining.

7 – Take Advantage of Tone.

Puppies are very attuned to human emotions and can pick up on subtle cues in your tone of voice. If you speak to your puppy in a calm and soothing tone, it can help them feel more relaxed and secure, which can reduce their tendency to whine. On the other hand, if you speak to your puppy in an agitated or frustrated tone, it can make them feel more anxious and uncertain, which can contribute to their whining behavior. By paying attention to your tone of voice and making an effort to speak to your puppy in a calm and reassuring manner, you can help create a more peaceful and restful environment for both you and your furry friend.

Remember! Bed time story, not rollercoaster.

8 – Pick A Good Location For Puppy’s Crate

Puppies are social animals and crave interaction with their owners, so it is essential to place their crate in a location where they can still feel connected to the family. By having the crate in a room where the family spends a lot of time, such as the living room or a bedroom, it can help your puppy feel more secure and less isolated. Additionally, the location of the crate can also impact your puppy’s exposure to outside stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights. 

By choosing a quiet and relatively dark location, you can help create a more peaceful and calming environment for your puppy, which can reduce their tendency to whine at night. Finally, it is essential to consider the temperature and airflow in the room where you place the crate. A room that is too hot or stuffy can make your puppy uncomfortable and restless, which can contribute to whining behavior. By selecting a location with good airflow and a comfortable temperature, you can help your puppy feel more relaxed and comfortable throughout the night.

9 – Ease Teething

Teething is a natural process that all puppies go through as their baby teeth are replaced by their adult teeth. During this time, puppies can experience discomfort and pain as their teeth break through their gums. This discomfort can lead to whining, especially at night when your puppy is trying to sleep and doesn’t have a lot of distractions. The pain can be more pronounced when there is pressure on the puppy’s gums, such as when they are chewing or biting down. Make sure to provide a safe chew and chew toys most nights as part of the bedtime routine to your dog’s crate. It’ll not only make the space awesome (which helps with crate training!) but it’ll help the crate training process  for young pups.

It’s important to note that excessive whining may indicate a more severe problem, such as an infection or injury. If your puppy’s whining persists, it’s essential to have them evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

10 – Crate Train

Crate training can make your puppy’s crate more familiar, reducing fear and anxiety surrounding the space. Over time, these fun activities help your puppy view their crate as a safe space where they can hang out to relax. This can be especially helpful at nighttime and when you need quiet, as it signals that their crate means “calm.” Additionally, feeding your puppy their last meal of the day three to four hours before bedtime and giving them a last-chance potty break to help them settle down for the night can be helpful. If your puppy continues to whine at night, it is advised to head over to their crate if the crying doesn’t disappear after a few minutes. Even better, set a potty break alarm so the whining doesn’t catch you off guard.

​Q: Should I Close The Crate Door?

Typically, yes. But ideally, this shouldn’t be the first time puppy has experienced this. Crate training should be a positive experience and hopefully your breeder had your puppy crate so that puppy understand the process before they even come home.

11 – Create A Comfortable Crate (or pen)

To make your puppy’s crate more comfortable and encourage them to sleep, start by choosing the right crate size that allows your puppy to stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Add soft bedding, like a cozy blanket or dog bed, to provide a comfortable sleeping surface. Providing toys can help your puppy feel more at ease and relieve boredom and anxiety.

Important! Puppy should never share a crate or a bed. They need their own space, so if you have young dogs, make sure they have their own safe haven.

12 – Use Scent

You can use an old puppy blanket from their family, or a piece of your clothing to make their new place begin feeling like home. 

However, it’s good to note that there are several calming scents that have been found to work well for dogs. Chamomile and lemongrass are two examples of scents that can be used to calm dogs before bedtime or before car rides. 

Aromatherapy is another option, and an essential oil blend called Canine Calm from Earth Heart Inc. has been developed to help calm anxious, agitated, angry, or depressed dogs. 

Additionally, a new study found that vanilla, coconut, ginger, or valerian-scented essential oils can also help relax dogs when dabbed onto a bandana and tied around their necks – but you can use this as a general scent in the room, or even on their crate cover. 

If you want to be an extra good puppy parent, you can let your puppy choose which scent is the nicest for them, open each bottle and let puppy gravitate to them – they will choose a scent, and there’s a good chance that’ll be the scent that helps them settle the most.

13 – Take advantage of soothing chews

Calming chews are designed to reduce stress and anxiety in dogs, which can help them relax and sleep more easily. One example of a calming chew for puppies is the Sentry Calming Chews for Dogs, which contain pheromones that can help prevent unwanted behaviors such as barking and jumping. However, it’s important to note that while calming chews are generally safe for dogs, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian before giving them to your puppy to ensure that they are appropriate for your specific dog’s needs.

14 – Relaxing music

music can help your puppy sleep. According to a review of studies on the therapeutic effects of music on dogs, music can have a calming effect on dogs, reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Additionally, music can mask scary noises like thunder and fireworks, or upsetting sounds like a trespassing mail deliverer that put your puppy’s tail in a twist. It is important to note that not all dogs respond positively to music, so it is recommended to observe your puppy’s behavior and reactions to determine whether music is helping them sleep.

Personally? I’d recommend the Relaxopet! It’s a really wonderful little tool and works on a subliminal wavelength, so it won’t even keep you away.

15 – Manage Light

Yes, light can wake up your puppy, just like it can wake up humans. Puppies, like adult dogs and humans, have sleep-wake cycles that are influenced by melatonin, a hormone that is affected by the amount and duration of light in their environment. 

Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone, and its production goes up when the lights go down. Therefore, if there is too much light in your puppy’s sleeping environment, it can interfere with their sleep and wake them up. Additionally, leaving a light on can cause your puppy to think it is daytime, which can disrupt their sleep-wake cycle and lead to agitation or misbehavior during the night.

You can elect to close curtains, or use a crate cover (I vote the other one because it makes the crate look prettier too!)

16 – Address Pain

If you honestly think your puppy is in pain (other than teething, something like joint pain or similar) it might be time for a vet visit.

Should I let Puppy Cry It Out?

It is not recommended to let your puppy cry it out, as it can lead to negative consequences. Puppy crying in their crate happens because they are not used to them and being confined in that way is not natural for them. 

Additionally, it is important to address a puppy’s crying in the crate or at night because it can quickly become a troubling behavior – because puppy rarely cries for no reason. 

It is suggested that if your puppy starts crying, you should respond and take action. I mean, what if it’s an upset stomach? And we really do want puppy to have positive associations with their new space.

There are many reasons why a puppy may cry, including being scared, lonely, bored, or uncomfortable, needing to potty, or wanting attention. It is important to address the root cause of the crying rather than letting the puppy cry it out. One way to prevent your puppy from crying when you are not with them is to gradually get them used to being alone. You can start by leaving them alone for short periods of time, like 5 minutes, and gradually increase the amount of time as they adjust to being alone.

Should I Wake Puppy Up For A Bathroom Break?

There’s debate amongst pet parents on this, but in the long run, you controlling this is probably going to be best for toilet training and for routine. I, personally, wouldn’t rely on puppy pads for this, as it’s really important that we give them the structure and the reward they need to understand where their toilet break should be – even if this is pretty rubbish! 

In the early weeks, as a dog trainer, I would. 

Good Sleep Takes Practice

There’s a reason with kids it’s often referred to as sleep training. Sleepless nights take a while to overcome, but practice will help. Bank on the first couple of weeks being kind of rubbish, but it shouldn’t be a real long time before new puppies get relaxed. 

Understanding why puppies whine at night is essential for both their well-being and your peace of mind. Recognizing the reasons behind their nighttime cries, such as hunger, needing to go potty, fear, anxiety, or loneliness, can help you address their needs accordingly. Implementing strategies like crate training, using calming scents, and setting up a consistent routine can alleviate your puppy’s nighttime distress and create a more comfortable environment for them. 

As you invest time and effort into understanding your puppy’s behavior and needs, you’ll foster a stronger bond with your furry companion and ensure more restful nights for both of you.





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