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. Our golden retriever puppy likes his crate. He calmly walks in and out, plays with his chew toys in it and is even fine with door closed 10 minutes at a time and he sleeps next to the crate. But he never sleeps in the crate. We carry him into the crate when he was napping but he would just whine and only sleeps once he is let out. We tried sitting by the crate too but he doesn’t like sleeping next anyone.

  2. We picked our puppy on Friday 23/10/20. The first night we put him in his crate in the kitchen with the door shut and he screamed. He sounded so distressed so went in to check on him he had dioreahed everywhere over his bed toys blankets. So we cleaned it up and left the crate open and let him have free rein of the kitchen. He cried for 15 minutes and went quiet and pooed everywhere throughout night. The second night same thing we cried throughout we let him out for potty he didn’t go but pooed everywhere including all over the walls. 3rd night we crated him and he cried for 15 mins settled and cried a few times throughout night. He has his meals in his crate, we treat in crate, play in the crate, hide treats in the crate and chill in the crate stroking and reassuring him with gentle quiet good boys. He slept calmly in the crate yesterday while we were cooking dinner and he got lots of praise.

  3. I’ve found that the most effective method for keeping the puppy quiet in its crate is to scream at it, the one-syllable word “quiet”, deafeningly loudly, repeatedly, until it shuts up. As soon as it does, stop yelling and break off strong eye contact and start babbling to it in baby talk again now that it’s being a good little puppy-wuppy.

    If the cause of the animal being quiet is that it is simply petrified in fear, then so what, it doesn’t matter: The puppy obeyed the command, which is the final goal, and after repeating this a few times it will know the meaning of the word, uttered softly, for the rest of its life. The training will have worked.

    It’s a simple and elegant method.

    1. I would not recommend petrifying your puppy in fear to get him to be quiet. While it may work it would not be good for your relationship with your puppy.

  4. We just got our Goldendoodle that my husband wanted for so long. He is 9 weeks old and we got him Saturday 10/3. We figured that the first night was bad because it was new and probably he barked because he did not know we would come back for him. However, last night was his second night and he barked squawked whined and howled all night (again) with rare exception and we can’t go on another night like this. I just found your website and I am reading through. Sent my husband to lay on the floor next to the crate and that seemed to help, but we wont be able to do this all night for many nights. I told him to take Austin to the crate this afternoon whenever he falls asleep outside of the crate. I can’t fit the bowls for food inside the crate if we have the divider in. I was told to have the divider so that he did not pee on one side and sleep on the other, since the metal crate is large. We take him out to potty every two and a half hours but we didn’t want to take him out after barking as that just reinforces that behavior…except there really was not a lull that would have worked. I don’t think my words can describe how bad it was. While I write this he is quiet while my husband is next to him, so I think this is the only thing for now…our neighbors will kill us!

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! When we feed our puppy in the crate we have the divider in as well (we put the divider in so our pups only use about 1/4 of our 36 inch crate). We only put one food bowl in the crate and start by letting our puppy eat the food with the door open. When they are done we let them come out immediately. Over time we’ll start closing the door and again as soon as they’re done we let them out. If he’s in the crate and being quiet you should let him out at different time intervals so he knows he gets to come out when he’s quiet.

      Unfortunately, crate training can be a tough road sometimes. We’ve had puppies that immediately have no problem with the crate and others that didn’t let us sleep for more than 2 consecutive hours for 4+ weeks. The good news is every puppy we’ve crate trained eventually learned to sleep in their crate. Good luck with your training!

      1. Well we took the cushions out of our couch and made a makeshift bed for my husband. He slept next to Austin’s crate and Austin did not bark. (We still used the clock ticking on the Alexa for background.} Then at about 3 hours maybe two and a half, he took him out to potty. After that they went to sleep again and after Austin was truly asleep my husband came to his real bed. He took him out at 4 AM and again at 6:30. Austin might have slept longer but I knew no matter how quiet I was he would hear me getting up and ready for work. Thank you so much for the idea of having him sleep alongside as that stopped the barking and we all slept decently and I am sure our neighbors appreciated it. We put his toys in the crate in the afternoon so that he could go in and out to get them and when it was nighttime it was not a problem to get him into the crate. THANK YOU ever so much for your help. I will be a devotee to your blog from this point forward. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  5. I have the same issue as Liza above. I understand not to force the dog, but he has to sleep in the crate at night. He’ll go in the crate initially at night but after middle of the night potty breaks, I have to force him in there or he won’t go back. I’ve tried treats to get him in. That doesn’t work but even if it did, wouldn’t it enforce his bad behavior barking in the middle of the night? He literally barks continuously from his first potty break at 2 am until we get him out of the kennel at 5:30 am. We are going through your 20 step process during the day and have made it to step 8.

  6. Our twelve week old Chesapeake has not taken to crate training even during the day. He’s been with us 3 weeks and howls, cries, barks so much he salivates all over his bed. He’s pulled the crate cover into the crate and shredded that. I’m hesitant to bring him to our room as my husband is now working from home full time. Any suggestion?

    1. It’s important not to force your puppy into the crate because this could make it worse. I would try starting over from the beginning with his crate training and slowly progress through his crate training. I would start by not using the crate and rewarding all positive interactions with the crate. I have a blog post I’ve been working on that goes over a crate training process that might work for your puppy. I’ll try to get it published in the next few days.

  7. Hi! We have a ten week old mini dachshund. She’s doing really well sleeping through the night in her crate and doesn’t cry unless we get up. The only problem is that she can only sleep if the crate is in the bedroom. When or how can we transition her to sleeping in the living room where we plan to keep her crate permanently?

    1. Congratulations on your new puppy! If she can only sleep in the crate when it’s in the bedroom then you might start practicing her crate training in the living room. Start from the beginning and make as many positive associations with the crate when you are in the living room. Try having her go into the crate for only a few seconds then letting her out. Then start increasing the amount of time she’s in the crate making sure each step she is successful. Over time she should get used to the crate in the living room.

  8. Hi! We’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of our adopted 9 week old Bluetick Basset mix next week and are in full-on research mode. One thing I’m wondering: how do you know when puppy needs to go to the bathroom at night, or when puppy is just crying? Are you waiting for some kind of down-time (hopefully sleep!) in between initial cries and then a reprise? Thanks for advising!

    1. During the first few nights home if my puppy wakes up at night and starts crying I will always take her out to go pee. Remember to wait until she stops crying before letting her out. I take her straight to her potty spot and after she pees/poops I take her straight back to the crate. After the first few days if you keep a potty schedule and pay close attention you’ll start to learn whether she’s crying for attention or to go outside and potty. Good luck with your puppy!

      FYI, our most recent puppy, Elsa stopped getting up in the middle of the night after the 4th night home which is fairly average for the puppies we’ve raised.

  9. We have a 9 week old rescue border collie mix that we are trying to crate train. In her 3rd night she was great! But that’s it. She cries, howls, barks endlessly. Gets soaked by her water dish. We are using a crate big enough fir her to turn around and stretch, have the top covered with a blanket, are right in the room with her, she has toys/treats.. we tried to let her cry it out., but after two hours it was just too much! A big no no I know, we took her out, put her in bed with us.. slept no problem. I left for work, crated her, cane gone at lunch she was almost hoarse from barking so much. We need help.

  10. Hello! I have a 10 week old puppy who has already gotten accustomed to being in my bedroom at night with me and my older dog. He is getting better at not crying through the night thankfully but I don’t want to have all of that progress reversed. (The room is heavily puppy proofed btw) I would like to crate train but I’m worried there will be extra steps to making him be able to enjoy the crate that I’m not informed of given his situation.

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