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 ten years and I’ve now raised 11 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.

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

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.

How To Crate Train A Puppy

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 13 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, 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 Snuggle 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:

Crate Training Tips (21 and counting)

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. If you get to meet your puppy’s litter mates then bring a plush toy (our new favorite plush toy for puppies is the Snuggle Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Pack) or blanket to rub all over his litter mates. 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. 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 play time or other distractions.
  3. 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 to our puppy because it’s so important to keep your puppy hydrated.
  4. Play with your puppy for an extended period of time just before bedtime to tire him out.
  5. 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 bed sheet over the crate.
  6. Put your crate near the bed 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. You can try sleeping on the floor next to the crate. This worked with my rescue puppy, Linus.
  8. Feed him his meals in his crate. This will make him more comfortable entering his crate.
  9. 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.
  10. 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. 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. When he’s in the crate and being quiet make sure to give him lots of praise.
  13. Try the heart beat 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 Snuggle Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Pack with Charlie and his first night in his crate…not a peep!
  14. Do you have a ticking clock lying around the house? You might try that instead of purchasing the Snuggle Puppy. It may help soothe your puppy to sleep.
  15. 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, yogurt to help get your puppy accustomed to being in the crate.
  16. 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 are Bully Sticks. Just make sure you monitor your pup if you give him a chew he can consume like a Bully Stick.
  17. The 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 just keep silent tell he stopped). To try and quiet him down I’d either say “quiet” or “Shhh”.
  18. Try the heated toy. I’ve also heard of a toy that has a thing on the inside that you can warm on the inside and insert in the toy. Makes the puppy feel like he’s with one of his litter mates.  Another one we haven’t tried yet, but will be on the top of our wish list if we have a pup who doesn’t sleep. UPDATE: Our Snuggle Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat also came with heat pads, but we didn’t use it when crate training Charlie.
  19. You’ll have to purchase extra heat pads for the Snuggle Puppy Toy after the first night. Why not just try filling a water bottle up with warm water and putting it inside a thick comfy sock. Hey…you do what you can with the things you have around the house. 🙂
  20. 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 night time 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 pup’s get used to their crate and new environment. Thank you K.Y. for the suggestion.
  21. Tire your puppy out mentally by working on his training right before bed time. 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

Those are my best tips and trick for getting your puppy to stop barking in the crate.

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: We recently found and plan on ordering the Snuggle Puppy – New Puppy Starter Kit which includes the Snuggle Puppy Toy, heartbeat, additional heat pads, chew toys and blanket.

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 🙂

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: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Best 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: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service 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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749 Comments

  1. I am home all day with my dog right now because we are teaching from home. He is a 7.5 week old golden doodle and we have had him for a week. How do we prevent separation anxiety? We put him in his bed when he is napping, and he wakes up and we take him outside. But we want to leave him alone for 20,30,45 min during the day and go to another room to prevent separation anxiety. However, when we put him in his crate his whines like crazy! He will whine for 5-10 min till he whines himself to sleep. How can we help prevent separation anxiety when we are home alone all day everyday?

  2. So, We picked up a 9 week old Cavachon (” Riggins”)this afternoon. He is definitely a physical touch personalty., May have been a lap pup at breeder’s.
    Put him in his crate at 9:00p.m. He whined and barked for 15 minutes. I let him out but somewhat ignored him. I then put his crate in my lap, put him in it and held his chew stick while he gnawed on it and petted him with my other hand.
    When he crawled out of the crate into my lap i dropped the chew stick and stopped petting him. After about five minute I put him back in the crate in my lap.I petted him and held the chew stick. Followed the same pattern two more times. He finally went to the back of the crate, laid down and fell asleep. I shut the door to crate, set it on the floor and turned out the light.
    He has been asleep for about an hour and thirty minutes.
    He has woke up twice and whined a little. Each time I just stuck my finger through the crate gate. He nibbled on it for a few seconds and fell right back to sleep…just wanted the comfort of knowing I am still around. He is a sweet guy for sure.
    I will update in the morning to let you know how things went through the night.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! This is excellent! I never thought about trying something like this with any of our puppies. As I’ve mentioned before if your puppy is not loving his crate and barking then you’ll do almost anything to get him to calm down. I hope everything is going well the past few days. Good luck with the rest of your training!

  3. With my 3 and a half month puppy (Chihuahua mix) I have prevented crate noise by simply giving NO reaction or stimulus when she makes noise. In the past I tried many of the suggestions above, but I found that coddling them rewards and encourages the behaviour. Even shouting “QUIET” is a reward because they’re making noise to get attention and yelling is attention. When I first adopted her a month ago she was not crate trained and cried when I put her in the crate. Now she seldom makes any noise, and if she starts I just ignore her and leave, and she stops quickly.

    This is my approach:
    – I don’t subscribe to the notion that young puppies should be crated in a busy area of the home. They sleep a lot and should be encouraged to sleep and not overstimulated. You don’t put a baby’s crib in the living room. When they are housebroken their crate can be moved to a place where they can go in and out as they please. In the meantime my pup’s crate is in a walk in closet in a quiet bedroom.

    – I don’t make a fuss when putting her in the crate. No cooing “bye bye sweetie!”, no cuddling, I just quietly put her in the crate and leave immediately. Sometimes I will add a small treat like a biscuit to make the experience more positive. I also give her food inside the crate, and she gets her water right outside the crate before she goes in. She also gets a variety of toys which I rotate regularly.

    – If she makes noise I DO NOT do anything to stimulate or reward her, positive or negative. I just quietly walk to the closet and close the door. I don’t even look at her. That way she can’t see me anymore and has nobody to cry to. I never yell at her or try to calm her with my voice, because that would be a reward which would stimulate her to cry even more. About 90% of the time she will stop making noise within a minute or two.

    – If she’s really stubborn and barks or won’t stop making noise, I silently reach into the closet and shut the light off, then close the door again. This works like a “timeout” and serves to calm her down. Most animals and birds stop or slow down in darkness. If you don’t have a closet with a light, a heavy blanket will do to create darkness in the crate.

    – During crate time I stay out of the bedroom as much as possible to let her have her quiet time. I take her out every two hours, then she gets lots of play time to tire her out for the next crate time. I always take her outside just before she goes back in the crate.

    – If they suddenly start making noise for no apparent reason, it’s important to check on them just in case.

    – If you adopt this method for a problem “crier”, be warned that they will cry a lot longer and louder at first because they’re expecting you to come running. Eventually they figure out that nobody’s coming and will settle down.

    1. Thanks for the tips! Every puppy is different and it’s definitely good to have different options for crate training just in case one method does not work for you. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  4. My 9 week old Double Doodle sleeps in his crate but most times I need to sleep on the floor next to him until he falls asleep. If I try to sleep in my bed (which is right next to his crate) he cries and barks etc. How long is “too long” for lying on the floor next to his crate?
    By the way, with COVID-19 and not being able to visit a trainer, your website is REALLY appreciated!

    1. Thanks Rudy! I’m glad you found my website helpful. Something you might try is gradually moving further away from the crate while you still lie on the floor. Eventually you can make your way to the bed. Every puppy is going to be a little different so you’ll have to decide on your own how long you think your pup needs you sleeping on the floor next to him. Good luck with your training!

  5. Wow! This article is amazing! This helped a lot. It is my puppy’s third night home. She’s an 8 week old husky. Put her to bed tonight and she cried and cried and cried and wouldn’t stop. I decided to go lay on the couch closer to the crate thinking this would put her at ease, meanwhile she could still see my boyfriend in the chair further away. But none of this was working so I tried your other advice and laid down infront if the door of the crate, close enough that she could actually reach her paws and touch me if she wanted. She cried for about 2 mins, then went silent, laid down, and passed out. So far so good. Thank you for the advice. I am planning on buying the Tory with the heartbeat too to see if that soothes her as well. Thank you!

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Those first few nights can be tough and if a puppy is not loving his crate you’ll do almost anything to get her used to it. I’m glad you found a tip on the list that is helpful. Another thing to add is since you can’t rub the Snuggle Puppy on your pup’s litter mates you might try rubbing it on yourself so she’ll have your scent in the crate with her. Good luck with your puppy!

  6. Hi,
    We brought home our 8 week old puppy from the breeder this week. We are crate training starting from the first day/night one, however, she becomes very upset in the crate. I mean full on howling and screaming upset.
    How long is an appropriate time for a puppy to “cry it out”?
    Are you ruining the training if you don’t keep her in the crate the whole night?
    Are you able to take her out of her crate after so much time crying to smooth her and then put her back in?
    Should we take her out every four hours even if she’s asleep or let her sleep until she wakes us up? – tonight we woke her up from her sleep since she had not been out in four hours but putting her back into the crate after resulted in louder screaming than before.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Every puppy is going to be different. One thing you have to always remember is not to let your puppy out when she is crying/barking/whining. Make sure she stops for at least a short period before taking her out. You might try taking crate training slower and make sure your puppy is successful in her crate without crying for shorter periods of time and then increasing the amount of time she spends in the crate. To answer your questions:

      How long is an appropriate time for a puppy to “cry it out”? – we usually don’t leave our puppies in the crate to cry out for more than 20-30 minutes.
      Are you ruining the training if you don’t keep her in the crate the whole night? – No, you don’t have to crate your puppy the entire night.
      Are you able to take her out of her crate after so much time crying to smooth her and then put her back in? – You can take her out of the crate, but make sure she’s not crying/whining/barking when you let her out.
      Should we take her out every four hours even if she’s asleep or let her sleep until she wakes us up? – We don’t usually take our puppies out of the crate at night unless they wake up on their own or unless they’re having accidents in the crate without alerting us. Some puppies even as early as 8 weeks old can sleep all the way through the night without having to potty.

      There are currently 21 tips in this article for helping your puppy get used to the crate. Make sure you look over and try as many as you can to help your puppy adjust to her new environment. I hope that helps. good luck with your puppy.

  7. This is great advice!

    I was reading this post while we were driving 2 hours to pick up our 8 week old pup. Of course, I did not have time to buy the puppy kit or stuffed animal. Instead, I made a decision to relinquish my long sleeve cotton shirt to the cause. While we were picking out our puppy, I rubbed my shirt/sleeves on the litter mates and mom.

    When we got home, I bought a stuffed animal, crate, and towels. I set up the crate with the towels, stuffed animal, and my cotton shirt. Lastly, I got an app on my phone that plays the sounds of a mother dog’s heartbeat all night long (You Tube also has heartbeat sounds). I put my phone on our bedroom floor right next to the crate.

    That night she slept for over 9 hours in her crate with NO crying/barking!

    We have had her a week and every single night she sleeps in her crate, at least 8 hours, with zero sounds.

    Thank you for the advice!

  8. Hi,
    I have a 3 month old mixed breed that is deaf. I’m not sure if this is why I’m having difficulties. I’m trying to crate train her. . She does well going in and coming out. Stays in it during the day. In the evenings around 10:00pm she goes in for the night. Around 2:30 she wakes. I let her out to do her business. She comes back in, gets in her crate and I go back to bed. Then it happens. She starts whining, barking and yelling. I let her go as long as I can stand it. Then I get her, put her in bed with me and she sleeps the rest of the night. Please help! I’ve never had this much difficulty crate training.

    1. I’m sorry I don’t have experience with deaf dogs so I’m not sure if that could be the cause of the problems. Here are a few things based on my experience:

      1. How long is she staying in the crate during the day? At her age I probably wouldn’t crate her more than 3 hours during the day.
      2. She’s at an age when she should be close to sleeping through the night in her crate. You might try letting her go back to sleep at 2:30 rather than taking her out.
      3. When you take her out to do her business make sure you take her straight out and straight back to the crate.
      4. Make sure you don’t let her out of the crate when she’s barking and whining. Try to get her to calm down for a little bit then let her out.
      5. If you do let her out of her crate a second time you can try taking her back to her potty spot then bringing her back to her crate again. I wouldn’t bring her into bed with you.

      Hopefully that helps with your training. Good luck with your puppy!

  9. I am so glad I came across this article. I have a four month old Water dog (similar to a retriever) that has only started whining and barking over the past couple of weeks. Her crate has always been in the family room. We moved her to my room hoping that it would be more soothing to have her close to me because, even though she is a family pet, she has become my dog. A few things I have noticed are:
    1) she won’t settle for the night before 9:30pm &
    2) she has to have stuffed bear

    But there are still nights she won’t settle. I stumbled across this article looking for reasons why sometimes she doesn’t settle and tips to try and the heartbeat bear / ticking clock made me realize I didn’t have my white noise app turned on yet. I turned it on and Charlie settled within 30 seconds. So now I know the third thing my pup needs to settle in at night and learned a lot of others as well.

    1. I’m glad the article was helpful and that you were able to find a solution to getting Charlie to sleep through the night. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  10. Hey, I have a Malamute Puppy who is 10 weeks old. We’ve been following your crate training methods. But nothing is working. I can let him out a million times in the night. He isn’t having it. He will howl and whine all night. What do I do? He’s even starting to soil his crate now…… I’m at a total loss.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Stetson took us about a month before he stopped whining in his crate and we’ve talked to other guide dog puppy raisers who’s puppies have taken as long as 2 months. Yikes! However, if you’ve tried all of the tips mentioned in this post and still not seeing any positive results then there could also be some other problem and it might be a good idea to have a certified professional dog trainer come by for an in home evaluation.

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