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.


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

    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Bones & Chews Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    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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  1. I got a Saint Bernard puppy and she has some great nights but I can’t let her cry it out due to the fact I live with people, what should I do. She’s usually good about going in and when I’m near she’s fine but when I close the door then go lay down three feet away she starts barking. Please help!!

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Our friends at Labrador Training HQ have a great post on crate training that goes over a detailed step-by-step process that might be helpful. Here’s the crate training post. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training.

  2. I have a 2 yo female jack russell who until now has slept in a crate in our lounge room at night. 3 nights ago we had bad weather and she was whimpering so I took her into my bed. (5-7am). The next night the weather wasn’t as bad but she started whimpering again and I let her sleep on the bed all night. Last night we decided that sleeping on the bed is not what we want so we spent the whole night listening to her whimper in her crate. How do I get her to sleep in her crate again?

    1. It sounds like she has learned that whimpering gets her a spot in the bed. If you think this is the case then you need to ignore the whimpering and only let her out of the crate when she is quiet.

  3. I just recently got a Yorkie poodle mix. I’m trying to crate train him and because he was barking so loud we decided to put the cage down in the basement because we’re not getting any sleep. I’ve noticed that when I’m taking him downstairs to be put in the crate his heart starts racing. I’m just trying to get him crate trained the best I can put him in our room really isn’t an option because my partner needs her sleep for medical reasons therefore that’s why we won’t put them downstairs. I play soothing music for him I give him a treat when he goes in the crate and try to do great training with him where I have treats thrown in and see if he can get them. He’s been being trained for about 7 days now as I got him about 8 days ago. He’ll whine and cry and it has less than greatly but I don’t want him to be afraid of the crate any suggestions would be great as I just would love a happy healthy puppy.

    1. If you haven’t tried all 21 tips listed in this post you might start trying and checking them off your list. Every puppy is different so you really never know exactly what will work best. Also, our friends at Labrador Training HQ have a comprehensive guide on how to crate train a puppy that might be helpful. Good luck with your training!

  4. Hi!
    I have a few questions about crate training during the day. Just starting to crate train our 9 week lab. I have gotten him to the point where he will explore his crate, eat treats in there and sit and lay down for short periods with the door open (as long as there’s treats involved). Occasionally he will enjoy a bone filled with something for about 2 minutes calmly. But he won’t nap in the crate. If we put him in there he will get up after a little and move elsewhere. Also, I have tried closing the door and he cries. Should I just let him cry for as long as it takes for him to settle down?
    Thanks so much for any advice! And thank you for all the work you do training service dogs to help our communities 🙂

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Every puppy and situation will be a little different. Since he already goes into the crate with a stuffed bone for around two minutes I would work with that. Try using the stuffed bone and extending the time he is able to calmly stay in the crate. Make sure you let him out before he starts barking/crying. If he does starts barking in his crate you always want to wait until after he stops barking before letting him out. Good luck with your puppy.

  5. We have an 8 month old cockerpoo. She has been fine sleeping in her crate in the living room until recently. We usually put her in and cover it with a blanket. Over the last few days she hasn’t wanted to go in it. We changed the bedding but I think it’s just that she would prefer to be on the bed with us. She barks when we leave her. She also barks earlier and earlier in the morning – a good couple of hours before we would like to wake up. I don’t like the thought of confining her to the cage if she doesn’t like it and not sure what to do. The weather is hotter at the moment and I wonder if that has anything to do with it, or if she is just pushing the boundaries now she’s 8 months!

    1. It’s tough to tell without actually being there to witness what’s going on. If you’re still having a problem with the crate after this isolation is over you might try getting a certified professional dog trainer for an in-home evaluation.

      A few of my thoughts:

      1. I’ve noticed there’s a bit of a balance when I’ve crate train my puppies. Puppies that spend too much time in the crate will sometimes have behavioral problems like barking and chewing. On the other hand sometimes when a puppy’s only time in the crate is at night they too sometimes end up not so happy in the crate. The balance we have found is using the crate about twice a day for about an hour (not more than 2 hours) each session plus sleeping in the crate at night. Everyone’s life situation is different, but I’d try to stick as close to this type of routine as possible.
      2. Make sure going into the crate is always a positive experience. You might try giving your pup a stuffed KONG or something to do when she goes into her crate.
      3. Regarding the barking earlier in the morning unless you think it’s for an urgent potty break I’d recommend ignoring it until you’re ready to get up. My wife is a teacher and would wake up for work at around 6am to feed the dogs. When summer rolled around she’d wake up at 8am, but the dogs still wanted to wake up at 6am for breakfast. It usually took about 2 weeks to re-train them to sleep in until 8am.
      4. You might try exercising your dog mentally (by doing a 10 minute training session) and physically (play ball with her) before bedtime.
      5. We do notice most of our pups rebel when they are around 6-8 months old.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  6. I have a very sweet very stubborn 10 week old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. I had several growing up and know how smart and active they are. My little one doesn’t like his crate. I feed him in there, and we play games where he goes in and out for treats, but when he doesn’t no go in willingly at night. I pet him for a while but have to kinda hold him in while I pet and then close the door. He’s very stubborn. I don’t really put him in there during the day while he naps, only at night. He self soothes pretty quickly once he is in. I have the crate in my room, but am finding that I may have be allergic to dogs. I was hoping to move his crate one room over to give myself a little relief at night but don’t want him to associate his crate with separation from me and be afraid to spend time there. I want to be a good dog parent without suffering too much from allergies. Any tips? Thank you!

  7. We have a 6mo old lab and he hates his kennel. We have tried it all, when we are home and he needs to go in it he will bark for a few min and then settle down but when we leave its major separation anxiety and he will bark for hours. We do 3 hour stints when we are at work with a dog sitter that lets him out at lunch. My son is home from school around 3, so its no more then 3 hours then a break. He will bark excessively and destroys the dog bed every time. We had to switch kennel to plastic kind instead of metal because he bites it and lifts up the bottom and chews the floor/carpet. We also had to move it from the main living area to the basement because the neighbors can hear him bark. He will not chew on the toys we put in there either. He will not adjust. Its been 3 month and its awful. What do we do? Now with covid we are all home so its like a time we can start over time. We are doing 30 min every day like at dinner time but if we even put him in it for us to go on bike ride he freaks out the whole time. We need help!

    1. It’s tough to tell without actually being able to observe your puppy’s behavior. When the covid isolation is over you may want to have a certified professional dog trainer come by to observe your puppy’s behavior.

      Like I said it’s tough to tell based on a comment, but one thought I had: when working on his training try to start with smaller steps. For instance, try leaving him in his crate alone for 30 seconds. If he does well give him praise and reward him. By the way, he probably knows your routine for leaving, anticipates it and start to get anxious/bark before you actually leave so you’ll want to change your routine for leaving the house. If he does well with 30 seconds then try increasing to a minute. Small increments and take it slowly.

      Our friends at Labrador Training HQ have an extensive article on crate training a puppy that includes an easy to follow step by step guide. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your puppy!

  8. Hi, we have our very first dog, a chihuahuah mix rescue puppy who is about 6 months old. She was left as a puppy with her rescue mom, who told me she was crate trained. However, she barks ALL NIGHT LONG in her crate in the laundry room. We tried leaving the crate door open and giving her the whole laundry room, but that did not help. It seems that everything I read says to keep the crate near my bed. I am happy to do that for a time, but my goal is to get her to sleep in her crate in the laundry room. Any advice on the process I should go through to get to that goal?

  9. This website is great! We have a 14 week old Poodle mix. She has slept great in her crate up until now. The past two nights she whines and barks. She is near our bed, we cover the crate on 3 sides, I even play white noise to help. Usually the white noise calms her down, but now she’s just getting louder.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! Make sure you try the tips in the article. Also, be sure to stay consistent, persistent, and patient when training your puppy. Finally, make sure you never let your puppy out of the crate when she is barking/whining/crying. Make sure she stops for at least a few seconds before you let her out otherwise you may reinforce the behavior making her more likely to bark next time. Good luck with your training.

  10. I have a 9 week old boxer that has been home for a week. The first few days went well with the crate. Now he won’t go in to sleep; Ive tried putting him in after he’s fallen asleep but he wakes up and wines and barks continuously until I let him out. I’ve tried giving him treats to go in. I’ve tried leaving the door open. He’ll come out and go to sleep on floor. I’ve been sleeping near by on the couch since he came home. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! We have some basic instructions on how to crate train a puppy and we recommend trying as many of the tips on how to stop your puppy from barking. Also, our friends at Labrador Training HQ have a very thorough article on how to crate train a puppy. They have a very detailed step by step process that you may find helpful with your puppy. Good luck with your training!

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