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: Natural Farm 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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766 Comments

  1. Hi!

    I just got an 8 week old corgi puppy. She did really well the first few nights crate training. She would only cry for like 10-30 min at a time then sleep until around 3-4am with no accidents in the crate. Shes started crying through the night and we aren’t sure what changed. We take her out when she cries and put her back but she just won’t stop crying regardless. We just want sleep…

    Thanks in advance!

    1. If you haven’t had a chance try some or all of the 21 tips listed in this article. Every puppy is different so while some of these tips work well for some dogs they don’t always work well for all dogs. Keep trying and be patient, persistent, and consistent with training.

  2. Our 12 week old has been with us for the last month and has been inside our apartment. We are now moving to a house and would like to get him to stay in an outdoor kennel. The problem is he is now too accustomed to having us around and being inside that he cries constantly outside.. How can we re train him to stay outside?

    1. Why would you ever do that? They are pack animals and want to be with you! You’ve already had them inside with you so why kick them out now? I think that’s rude

    2. Why on earth would you want to do that? Did you want a guard dog? Are you proposing leaving the dog in an outside kennel summer and winter? Cruel and definitely not how to treat a pet.

  3. Hi, we’ve had our 10 week old mini dachshund for two weeks, we’ve been trying to get her to sleep in her crate at night in the main living space. She cries and if we leave her in there her cries turn into howls and barks. We started going out there every time she woke up to take her to the bathroom, but she wouldn’t calm down afterwards so we were lying beside tHe crate with the door open and often she will get out and lie beside us and as soon as she starts to calm we put her back in her crate. We did some reading and spoke to a trainer and they said to let her cry it out and to set ourselves an alarm to take her out to the bathroom. First night she has barked and howled and not calmed down. I have no idea what to do, we are at our wits end and just want to her and us to be able to sleep at night!

    1. Every puppy is different. Some will take a lot longer than others to crate train. When you have a moment try some or all the tips listed in this article. We’ve tried most of them with our first guide dog puppy, Stetson and what worked best was talking him to sleep. Good luck with your puppy!

      1. This is what’s really helping us with our two puppies (7 & 8 weeks old)… I hold one in my lap, give them loves, and a gentle talk, they go lay right in their bed. Rinse and repeat with the second puppy. When they whine at night I lay outside their crates and chill until they’re settled.

        1. Thank you for sharing the tips. I sometimes do something similar to relax my puppies. I’ll put my puppy in a cradle (lying down on her back between my legs), talk to her while I gently pet her. This usually gets her very calm, relaxed, and she’ll often go right to sleep. It works great with some puppies and no as much with others. FYI, cradling is something we learned to do with our guide dog puppies and it’s something we practice with them every day from the time they get home.

    2. I recommend you put her crate in your bedroom, not the living room. That way when she wakes up she can see you. Puppies are pack animals and they want to sleep with their pack. My husband lay beside the crate until our mini doxie puppy got used to being in her crate at night; it’s important not to traumatise them by letting them cry all night. The tips on this website are good and worth trying; my puppy hated the snuggle puppy with the heartbeat, but apparently it’s a hit with most dogs. She still sleeps with it after we removed the beating heart.

  4. We have a 14 week old puppy that we brought home at six weeks old. We began crate training the first night and within a couple of days she was able to sleep from 10:30 pm – 6:00 am until this past week. We are now on 5 straight days of her waking up 5-7 times a night yipping and whining in her crate. She’s relentless. It goes on for hours and hours. When we go to her she doesn’t go to the bathroom and when we return her to the crate the crying worsens. We have also tried “gutting it out” with no success. Any suggestions?

    1. I feel your pain. Stetson was the same way for his first 4 weeks home with us. If you haven’t already try some of the tips from this article. We tried most of them with Stetson and the only thing that worked for us was talking him to sleep.

  5. Hello we just brought our English lab 8 week old puppy home today. She is currently sleeping in her crate downstairs. We can hear her whine every now and then and then quiet down. She went in around 8pm. What time should we take her out to pee through the night?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! We setup our crate right next to our bed and during the first week we take our puppies out to potty every time they wake up. Every puppy is different, but in general our pups usually get up about two to three time their first few nights home. However, some wake up more often while others will sleep through the first nights home just fine. Good luck with your puppy!

  6. I just got a 8 week old pit/cane corso. Dream dog, almost fully potty trained after a couple days and the puppy biting is ready starting to ease up…however at night he wakes up and cries to use the bathroom so I take him outside (he actually does pee every single time) but then when I put him back in his crate (which is only a few feet away from my bed) starts to whine like crazy. I dont want to cave and let him sleep with me to quiet him down but this sleep deprived puppy momma is at her wits end.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy. I usually take my puppies outside in the middle of the night during the first couple weeks because usually they don’t have control of their bladder to hold it through the night. As they get older I start trying to get them to sleep through the night rather then let them get in the habit of waking up midway through the night. If you don’t think he can make it through the night then I would continue taking him out and bringing him straight back to his crate and let him go back to sleep. You could also try one of the tips in this article to help him go back to sleep after his potty break. Good luck with your training!

  7. We have a 11 week old Golden Pup who is excellent in his crate at night, but unfortunately wakes up every morning at 4:55a, 7 days a week regardless of when he goes to bed. We’ve tried letting him out in the morning, placing him right back in without play as well as feeding him and then placing him back in but neither gets him to fall back to sleep for another 2 hours……how do we break this cycle?????

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! My wife is a teacher and regularly wakes up around 6:30am every morning and therefore Stetson would wake up every morning at 6:30am. However, in the summer my wife wanted to sleep in until 8am every morning, but Stetson still woke up at 6:30am. In the summer we would ignore him until we were ready to wake up at 8am. It would take about 2 weeks before he understood the new wake up time was 8am.

      Your puppy is still pretty young so I’m not sure if it’s a good time to start ignoring him in the morning yet. However, if you think he can stay in his crate past 4:55am then I’d try ignoring him until you’re ready to get up. I usually wait until a puppy is closer to 16 weeks old when I’m pretty certain he has full control of his bladder.

  8. We got a 8 week old bernese mountain dog who originally slept in a cage at a pet store waiting to be adopted. However, once we started crate training (same size as her cage at the store) she would throw these huge tantrums. I’m not sure what to do other than wait it out but she makes such a loud noise and panics and almost hurts herself however she apparently did just fine in her old cage.

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy. Since your puppy was confined in her cage at the pet store and also probably allowed to soil where she slept you’ll probably have to do some retraining with the crate. I’d start from the very beginning and take it slowly. Our friends at Labrador Training HQ have a great post on crate training that shows how to take it slowly. Take a look at this post when you have a moment: https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-training/how-to-crate-train-a-puppy/

  9. Hi, I have a 10 week old Cockapoo who sleeps in my room on a night. Sleeps through the night, no accidents.
    I’m trying to crate train him for the daytime only, with the crate being downstairs. Will this work if he’s not sleeping in it on a night? He sleeps in it during the day with the door open if I’m working nearby. If I close the door and leave him, he cries. I’ve tried doing this repeatedly for shorter times but I don’t seem to be making any progress. I don’t want to persist with this if the sleeping with me on a night is holding him back on the crate training. Help!

  10. Thank you for this.
    We have a 9 week old puppy and he’s been great in the crate at night but the last two nights he has cried, whined and howled, whether we were in the room or not.

    I don’t know what happened, why he’s suddenly got nervous or hated going in there at night.
    He will happily eat his food in there and today we trained him more with the crate and he knew that walking out and back in again would get some lovely turkey.

    I’m really anxious too because I don’t want to upset the neighbours.
    I’ve started tapping the cage tonight when he whines or goes to bark which has helped reduce the noise but not the issue that he’s not wanting to be in there.

    September will be the first time he’ll be alone on his own as my daughter will be going to college and assuming me and husband are back at work, so I want him to get used to being in the crate during the day too but I’m anxious if that’s the wrong thing to do while he’s acting up at night.

    I can deal with the puppy biting and toilet training but this is the most difficult part.

    Any advice would be greatly welcomed.

    1. I am in the same boat as you. I have an 8 week old puppy with the same issues. I dont know what else to do.

    2. I have the same issue. I have a almost 12 week old puppy who was great at night for the first week and a half ( at 10 weeks). Last night she would bark and bark in her crate. She does not want to be in there. When I open the crate she comes out and lies down. I am not sure what happened. We are trying all the praise, treats and such. I am at a loss.

      1. We are in the same boat with our 13 week old Goldendoodle. He did the same thing – fine in the crate For 2 weeks and then suddenly hated it and cried for 2 nights straight. With positive reinforcement and consistency we have gotten him to sleep most nights in the crate but not all! And if we do have to go anywhere he cries and cries in the crate when we are gone (we set up a baby monitor app to watch him). We do all kinds of positive things with the crate (including all meals) but the minute you close the door he has a panic attack. 😬 if we are consistent will he eventually get over this? I feel like he has separation anxiety already!

        1. One thing you might try is giving him a stuffed KONG while he’s in the crate. I’d first try doing this while the door is open. If that works well you might then try closing the door for maybe 5 seconds and see how he does. Slowly increase the time he’s in the crate with the door closed. One thing to remember is never let him out when he is barking. Do what you can to get him to stop barking before you let him out of his crate. Good luck with your training!

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