How To Stop A Puppy From Barking In His Crate At Night

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Crate training a puppy is an exercise in patience (with Stetson it certainly was).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a guide dog puppy raiser it’s how to crate train a puppy.

More importantly, I learned how to stop a puppy from barking in his crate at night!

I’ve been raising puppies now for over fifteen years and I’ve now raised seventeen total puppies.

Puppy resting in his crate - how to stop a puppy from barking in his crate at night
Do you want to know to stop your puppy from barking in his crate? Read on…

Stetson, my first guide dog puppy was very stubborn and hated his crate.

Needless to say, Stetson almost ended my guide dog puppy raising career just as it was getting started.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you already know that it took Stetson over four weeks to get used to his crate.

In fact, he did not let me sleep more than two hours in a row during those four weeks. 🙁

The good news is he prepared me for parenthood. My three daughters have all been better sleepers than Stetson! 🙂

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: There are many different types and styles of dog crates. If you haven’t decided on a crate then check out our article on which crate is best for your puppy.

How To Crate Train A Puppy

QUICK ACCESS: If you’re having puppy training problems then you should join our Puppy Training Tips email list and get instant access to our New Puppy Owner Checklist PDF. To get started CLICK HERE.

Yellow Lab puppy waits in plastic crate with door open.
Dublin during one of his first puppy crate training sessions.

When it comes to crate training puppies every puppy is different.

Stetson was an extreme case and after those four weeks of pure torture, much to my joy he went totally silent and would sleep in the crate all morning without a peep.

Dublin was on the other end of the spectrum and only had a couple of nights whimpering before he began sleeping through the night.

Over the years I’ve learned many tips and tricks for crate training puppies.

Today we’re going to first share with you the basics of how to crate train a puppy and second, give you our best tips and tricks for those of you who have a stubborn puppy who doesn’t want to adjust to his crate.

QUICK TIP: We prefer the wire crates over the molded plastic crates for several reasons.

  1. Our wire crate is collapsible making it easier to store and travel with.
  2. The wire-style crate circulates air better and gives us an option of either leaving it open or covering it with a blanket to make it more like a den.
  3. Longevity! We’re still using the same MidWest Life Stages Double Door Crate w/ Divider that we had when we brought home, Linus, over 17 years ago.

As a guide dog puppy raiser, we are given exact steps on how to crate train our puppies.

Here’s what we learned from Guide Dogs of America about crate training puppies:

A crate is a wire or molded plastic kennel that simulates a nest or den environment. A crate can become a puppy’s safe place, not to mention a house saver.

When properly used, the crate becomes a security blanket, a place where the puppy can retreat to escape the household confusion and to feel secure.

Never use the crate as a form of punishment!

Golden Retriever puppy blur as he jumps out of wire crate.
Zoom Zoom! Crate Training your Golden Retriever puppy.

The dog crate should offer a positive, secure environment, and a calming zone.

The crate can be effective for in-house training.

Confined to a crate, an unattended puppy cannot destroy or soil anything.

Do not crate the puppy during the day for more than 3 hours.

Start crate training your puppy on his first night.

Place the crate in your bedroom where the puppy can still see and hear what is going on.

Put a blanket or towel in the crate for bedding.

QUICK TIP: We’ve been using the Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Pack to help our puppies get used to their crate. It worked great with our most recent golden retriever puppy, Charlie. 

A pup will rarely soil the crate, however, if he does, try removing the bedding.

A crate should not be too big, but large enough for the puppy to stand stretch, and turn around.

When placing the puppy in the crate, use the word “kennel” or “kennel up”.

If he should happen to fall asleep somewhere else, pick him up and place him inside, and quietly shut the door.

Do not hesitate to periodically use the crate, even while you are home.

You may feed the puppy in his crate and give him some favorite toys, to keep the experience positive.”

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: From day 1 we start feeding all meals in the crate. We feed all of our pups Wellness Core Puppy Food.

Working on crate training - Puppy Paws!
Working on crate training – Puppy Paws!

How To Stop A Puppy From Barking In His Crate At Night

Now that we have the basics of crate training down. Let’s talk about the reason why we’re all here…a barking puppy and tips to remedy said barker…

Over the past 10 years we’ve learned quite a bit about crate training starting with:

  1. Crate training our first puppy, Linus who we rescued from the animal shelter
  2. Crate training litters of puppies as foster parents
  3. And finally, crate training over a dozen service dog puppies

As you might have guessed over those 10 years we’ve learned many crate training tips and tricks.

In Episode 1 of Puppy In Training TV we talked about some of the first things we do when bringing home a puppy.

We also talked a little bit about how to crate train a puppy and Dublin’s first night in his crate.

Lucky for us there weren’t too many nights of Dublin howling in his crate although we did catch a little bit of whining on video – see below.

Take a look at some of the basics in our first episode of Puppy In Training TV:

21 Tips To Stop Puppy Barking In Crate

Here’s our comprehensive list for those of you with a stubborn pup who whines, whimpers, barks, yelps, cries, and pretty much any other disturbing noise a pup can make in his crate:

1. Get The Scent Of Your Puppy’s Littermates

If you get to meet your puppy’s litter mates then bring a plush toy (our new favorite plush toy for puppies is the Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Pack) or blanket to rub all over his littermates.

When it comes time to put your pup in his crate leave the toy or blanket in the crate with the scent of his litter mates this may help your pup sleep better at night. This worked well with Dublin.

2. Take Your Puppy Out For A Potty Break

If your pup wakes up crying in the middle of the night take him straight to his potty spot to relieve himself.  As soon as he finishes up his business take him straight back to his crate without any playtime or other distractions.

3. Feed Your Puppy Early

Make sure you feed him at least an hour and a half before bedtime. Also, it’s been suggested to cut off water an hour and a half before bedtime so he won’t have to pee in the middle of the night.

We don’t cut off water for our puppy because it’s so important to keep your puppy hydrated.

4. Play With Your Puppy Before Bedtime

Play with your puppy for an extended period of time just before bedtime to tire him out. A good game of fetch always works well with our pups.

5. Cover Your Wire Crate With A Bedsheet

If you have a wire crate try putting a sheet over it to make him feel more cozy and enclosed. Be careful because I’ve had pups pull and chew on the bedsheet over the crate.

6. Put Your Crate Next To Your Bed

Put your crate near the bed (we swapped out our nightstands for crates) where your puppy can see you and if he starts crying hang your arm down so he can smell your scent. and if that doesn’t work then…

7. Sleep On The Floor Next To The Crate

You can try sleeping on the floor next to the crate. This worked with my rescue puppy, Linus. I slept on the floor next to the crate in my sleeping bag and Linus stopped barking.

8. Feed Your Puppy’s Meals In The Crate

We recommend feeding meals in the create from day 1. This will make your puppy more comfortable when he enters the crate.

9. Give Your Puppy Different Textured Toys In The Crate

Put different textured toys in the crate to keep him company. Be careful. I’ve had pups chew, destroy and swallow plush toys when unsupervised. Super durable toys like the Nylabone DuraChew have worked well for us in the past.

10. Get Your Puppy Used To The Crate Before Nighttime

If he takes a nap during the day move him from the floor into the crate. Try doing this with the door open and closed.

11. Lie Next To The Crate With The Door Open

Try leaving the door open but lying down across the doorway of the crate as if to nap with him, to make him feel more comfortable in the crate, and at the same time make your body block the doorway.

12. Praise Your Puppy When He’s Good

When he’s in the crate and being quiet make sure to give him lots of praise.

13. Put A Heartbeat Toy In Your Puppy’s Crate

Try the heartbeat toy. I’ve heard of a toy that simulates the mom’s heartbeat that helps the puppy sleep. We haven’t tried this one yet, but if we have another stubborn pup it will be on our wish list.

UPDATE: We used the Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Pack with Charlie and his first night in his crate…not a peep!

14. Put A Ticking Clock In Your Puppy’s Crate

Do you have a ticking clock lying around the house? You might try that instead of purchasing a Calmeroos Puppy. It may help soothe your puppy to sleep and save you a few bucks.

15. Put A Stuffed KONG In Your Puppy’s Crate

Try putting a stuffed KONG (we like the KONG Extreme which is better for heavy chewers like our Lab puppies) in the crate with your puppy.

We’ve tried peanut butter (make sure the PB is safe for dogs), but you can try adding other treats like bananas, rice, chicken, and yogurt to help get your puppy accustomed to being in the crate.

16. Put Your Puppy’s Favorite Chew Toy In The Crate

You can also help your puppy get accustomed to the crate (and stop the barking) by giving him his favorite chew toy, one of our favorites is Bully Sticks. Just make sure you monitor your pup if you give him a chew he can consume like a Bully Stick.

17. Comfort Your Puppy When He’s Quiet

This one that worked for me and Stetson – I was a wreck and I thought Stetson would never get used to his crate.

The only way I was able to get him to sleep was to talk to him for 5-10 minutes, telling him what a “good boy” he was when he wasn’t crying (if he did cry I would keep silent until he stopped). To try and quiet him down I’d either say “quiet” or “Shhh”.

18. Put A Heated Toy In The Crate To Simulate A Littermate

Try a heated toy. There are many different toys that are designed to help your puppy get used to the crate.

We’ve seen one that you can heat up in the microwave before putting it with your puppy in the crate. This makes your puppy feel like he’s with one of his littermates.

The  Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat we mentioned earlier comes with both a heartbeat and three heat packs to last you through the first few nights.

19. Use A Warm Water Bottle To Simulate A Littermate

You’ll have to purchase extra heat pads for the Calmeroos Puppy Toy after the first night.

Why not try filling a water bottle up with warm water and putting it inside a thick comfy sock (extra points if you rub the sock on littermates and mama to get their scent).

Hey…you do what you can with the things you have around the house. 🙂

20. Play Soothing Music For Your Puppy

One of our readers had a great suggestion: “We now have a new furbaby, another Golden. He is 8 wks and boy has he reminded us how much older we are now. We use the same nighttime method with the soothing music and it’s worked like a charm again!”

We play soothing music for our older dogs when we leave the house. It never occurred to us to use soothing music to help our pups get used to their crate and new environment. Thank you K.Y. for the suggestion.

21. Tire Your Puppy Out Mentally With Basic Obedience Training

Tire your puppy out mentally by working on his training right before bedtime. It doesn’t take much to tire a puppy out mentally. Try working on some basic obedience for 10 minutes right before it’s time to go in the crate.

Crate Training Puppies - We start crating the pups at around 4 weeks
Crate Training Puppies – We start crating the pups at around 4 weeks

FAQ’s Puppy Barking In Crate

Should I Ignore Puppy Barking In Crate At Night?

ANSWER: Yes and No, it depends on your puppy. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that puppies will bark for different reasons while they’re in the crate. In general, if our puppy is barking we’ll ignore him for at least the first 10-15 minutes. Most will calm down after that time. As soon as our puppy is calm we give him praise.

However, as I said it depends on your puppy. You do not want to ignore your puppy if:

  • He’s experiencing anxiety in the crate. In this case, we try to take a slower approach to introducing our puppy to the crate.
  • He has to go potty.
  • He’s experiencing some kind of health issue.

If you’re having problems with your puppy barking in his crate then leave us a comment or even better contact a local certified professional dog trainer.

How Long Do You Let A Puppy Bark In A Crate?

ANSWER: If we don’t notice any other issues (see above FAQ) then we’ll let our puppy bark for 10-15 minutes. Most puppies will calm down and stop barking within this time frame. We’ll extend this a bit longer if we notice that it’s just attention barking.

It’s very important that you don’t let your puppy out when he is barking. Wait until he stops for at least a split second before you open the door.

If you open the door and let him out while he’s barking then he’ll associate barking with getting out of the crate. No Bueno.

What Should I Put In My Puppy’s Crate At Night?

ANSWER: We start all of our puppies off with two items in the crate. A Calmeroos Puppy Heartbeat Toy and a blanket. We then monitor our puppy to make sure he does not destroy the Calmeroos Puppy and/or blanket.

However, the long answer for what should I put in my puppy’s crate is it depends. If we have a destructive puppy then we may not want to have anything in the crate.

If our puppy is having potty accidents in the crate then we take out the blanket.

If our puppy is having trouble getting used to the crate then we’ll sometimes use different types of toys like Nylabones, KONGs, and even chews like Bully Sticks.

If you put a toy or chew that your puppy could potentially destroy or swallow like plush toys and bully sticks then be sure and supervise him while he’s in the crate with said toys until you’re sure he’s not going to swallow or choke on anything.

How Long Does It Take For A Puppy To Stop Barking In The Crate At Night?

ANSWER: Over the years we’ve crate trained dozens of puppies. In our experience, most puppies stop barking in the crate at night after the first 5-7 days.

However, there have been outliers.

Our first guide dog puppy, Stetson took four weeks before he stopped barking in the crate at night.

On the flip side, our English Cream Golden Retriever pup, Charlie never barked in his crate at night.

Puppies will often adjust to their crates based on past experiences.

A responsible breeder may have already started crate training puppies before going to their homes. A puppy rescued from a shelter may not have known anything other than the kennel run he grew up in.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. It depends, every puppy is different.

Conclusion

Those are my best tips and trick for getting your puppy to stop barking in the crate along with answers to some of the most common questions we get about puppies barking in their crates.

How about you guys?

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to stop a puppy from barking in his crate?

We’d love to hear about your experiences with crate training your puppy.

Is this one of your first nights home with your new puppy?

If so, check out Stetson’s first night home and read about what we did to ease him into his new home.

ONE FINAL NOTE: The Calmeroos Puppy can be ordered with the heartbeat and heat packs or if you’re looking for a more basic version (less expensive) then there is also the option for the Calmeroos Puppy with just the heartbeat.

Also, we recently put together our New Puppy Checklist detailing all the products we recommend for new puppy owners.

We plan on using this new puppy starter kit with our next puppy who will be arriving in early 2019…stay tuned 🙂

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How to stop a puppy from barking in his crate at night
How to stop a puppy from barking in his crate at night

UPDATE: This post was originally posted on July 11th, 2011. It has been updated with new information based on our experiences over the years.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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774 Comments

  1. Hi. My daughter has a 9 week old shih tzu. She brought him home from the breeder at 8 weeks. She has started crate training by introducing him to walk in and out and he fine- then started the 5 min with door closed and sheet over the top . She has not been able to graduate after the 5 minutes- he literally screams as if he were being tortured. She finally HAD to return to work today and left him for 2 hours and rushed home only to still hear him screaming AND he had soiled in the crate. obviously feeling guilty but doesn’t want the puppy to get separation anxiety either. Please help! She needs to work but also wants a happy /healthy dog.

  2. How can I tell if my new nine week old puppy is whining because she needs to go to the bathroom or just because she’s by herself? The first few nights I had her she slept six hours straight with very little whining, but I’m nervous about ignoring her whining all together and potentially neglecting her need to “go.” As soon as she hears me stir, she starts whining, and then I can’t let her out so as not to reinforce the whining. What should I do?

    Also, is it ever acceptable to put her back in her crate in the mornings after going to the potty? I haven’t tried this yet because I know she will bark and wake up my roommate, but I’d like to get more than 6 hours on the weekends if at all possible.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! The best thing is to stick to a schedule as closely as possible and pay attention to your puppy’s behavior. In your situation of your puppy waking up when she hears you stirring is most likely her whining for attention rather than to go out and potty.

      When our puppies wake up in the early morning we’ll put them back in the crate and sleep an extra couple hours. I hope that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  3. I have a 6and half week puppy (pitt bull) I’ve tried everything suggested to stop her from whining in her kennel at night, and nothing is working I even put one of my t shirts with my scent on on it. It’s been 4 nights since we got her and 4 nights with very little sleep. What can I do? Should i just let her whine until she gets used to it.? I try not to hold her alot during the day so maybe she will be better in kennel. I’m lost on what to do.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! If you haven’t already try going through the 20 tips on this list. Hopefully there’s something in this blog post that might help. Good news is most of our puppies get used to their crate in about a week. The bad news is we’ve had puppies take as long as 2 months. Good luck with your new puppy!

  4. Hey Colby,

    Thanks so much for all of the tips. Ive got a few questions hoping you can help. We just got a puppy and have moved the crate to our bedroom as she was hysterical for a week. She still fuses a bit when we put her in but we managed to get a whole 5 hours of sleep last night! We have another dog too and had to move her bed to make room for the crate. Was this ok to do? Our older dog is still in the room with us too just moved down a bit, she slept fine last night but I’m feeling so terrible about it. Any tips on keeping our older girl happy? Also do you keep the crate in your room for a certain amount of months or is it meant to always stay in there? Thank you sooo much for this website!

    1. Hi Courtney, Congratulations on your new puppy! I think your older dog will be fine moving down a bit. With our dogs sticking to most of the routines works well. For instance, sticking to feeding schedules, walks, playtime all seem to make my dogs happy. We always keep the crate in our bedroom mainly because this is how we have to train our Guide and Service dogs. It is not necessarily something you have to continue. It’s up to you and how you think your puppy is doing with her training. FYI, we still have two crates in our bedroom and only one dog (Raven) right now. Raven is crate trained, but we let her sleep wherever she wants including our bed. Every morning we wake up and she’s sleeping in her crate.

  5. I have a 4 month old cocker spaniel who sleeps in a crate by the side of my bed very happily, he will also sleep in the boot of my car (for up to an hour) if I am out so he can be left alone, but he won’t be left in his crate in the kitchen – he goes crazy, howls and cries. He is fine if I sit by him and have a cup of tea, or even move around the kitchen. But if I am out of his sight for more than a few minutes he starts to whine and then yelp and then full blown howling. I have tried his crate upstairs too and he is the same, fine if he can see me but panics if he can’t. I am trying to take it very slowly but am getting conflicting advice on whether I should leave him to cry or not?
    Thank you

    1. In this situation it sounds like your puppy is having more trouble with separation anxiety then the crate training. My guess is he would do the same thing if you left him alone outside the crate in the bedroom or kitchen. We don’t have an article on separation anxiety that would be helpful here. We do follow another site called Labrador Training HQ that has a pretty good article that might be helpful. Check out: https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-behavior/dog-separation-anxiety/

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  6. We are getting our first dog, a rescue puppy. I am 54 and have never owned a dog, and your website has been INVALUABLE – I’ve been up all night reading and taking notes. I LOVE your tone and perspective and detail. Thank you SO much! Wish us luck! Valerie in Vermont

    1. Thank you for rescuing! How exciting for you! Thank you for leaving the kind comment. Good luck with your new puppy. Let me know if you have any questions.

  7. Our puppy is 12 weeks, before we got our crate he slept with us, in our bed. I noticed he wouldnt stir or need to go out to potty for about 3.5 hours. Tonight we got a crate. I am confused. Do we feed him INSIDE of his crate, wait 20 minutes and then take him to potty?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! I usually feed my puppy in the crate with the door open. When he is done eating I take him straight outside to go potty.

  8. Where do your pups sleep at night? During the day our 10wk old beagle/blue heeler naps in his crate in the living room. In the evening he “sleeps” in his crate in our bedroom. The problem with him in our bedroom is that I’m a light sleeper, so I hear all the noises he makes. He whines and we take him out to the bathroom, but that seems like it’s once a night or 4-5 times a night. Never consistent. Also, he hears us when we get up in the morning too, so he’s usually ready to start his day at 5am. Should we keep him in our bedroom or move him to the laundry room, which is upstairs near our bedroom. Or do we just keep all his sleeping in the same place downstairs in the living room? Then do we anticipate his bathroom needs and wake him to go out? Sorry, I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to put him to keep everyone pleased.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! If he hasn’t been having accidents in his crate at night then you can probably get by with only letting him out once at the most. If you’ve been working on his crate training for about 2 weeks he should be getting close to sleeping through the night without having to go outside.

      Regarding where you want him to sleep at night that’s up to you. We are required to have our service dog puppies sleep in our bedroom next to our beds. If you think your puppy will be comfortable in another room and it’ll help everyone else in the house sleep better it’s worth trying. Since he’s still going out at night if this were my puppy I’d probably set the alarm once a night to let him out and after about a week try to get him to sleep through the night without having to go outside.

      Every puppy is going to be different so you’ll have to try different things to see what works best for you, your puppy, and your family. Good luck with your training!

  9. Hi we have a 12 week old Labrador puppy. We are crate training him and he seems to love his crate! He will cry sometime between 4-5am and my husband or I will take him out to use the potty. Then we will put him back in the crate and he starts whining around 6am. My husband thinks he has to go to the bathroom again. But when I’ve taken him out he just wants to sit outside and I think he’s just hungry. I’ve suggested to my husband that we need to let him cry it out in the crate at 6 AM but we have kids and we are afraid that the dogs escalated barking and wake the kids up. So we’re really confused about what to do around 6 AM. Get them up again to pee, or is he hungry, or just let him cry it out and risk waking up the whole house?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Good question. From what you’ve written it sounds like your puppy is waking up at 6am because he wants to eat. We haven’t had a puppy since we had kids so we let our puppies cry it out and after about a week our pup’s have gotten on our schedule. Today, even with kids I’d probably do the same and possibly disrupt my kids sleep for a week to get my puppy crate trained. The good news for me is my kids are heavy sleepers. Good luck with your puppy!

  10. We are picking up our Miniture Dachshund this weekend and will be crate training. We have raised other dogs but its been several years since we had a puppy. We both work during the day and he will have to be in his crate for about 8 hours until we get home. I seen where you wrote not to keep them in the crate during the day anymore than 3 hours at a time. What do you recommend when there isn’t another option. I plan to leave him out of the crate as much as possible when we are home.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Here’s a post on raising a puppy while working full time: https://puppyintraining.com/what-do-you-do-with-your-puppy-when-you-work-full-time/. If you absolutely cannot get any help during the day I’d recommend creating a play area with an x-pen. While we don’t do this with our puppies we’ve seen others have success by creating a small area for their puppy. I would highly recommend not crating your puppy for 8 hours as you mentioned.

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