Puppy Whining in the Crate at Night

by Tracey
(Wildwood Crest, New Jersey)

Hi, We adopted a rescue dog who is 8 months old. She is very sweet and we love her to bits. I worry that we have loved her too much because she whines at night when we put her into her crate. We have a soft blanket and an assortment of toys we have placed in the crate. She seemed to like the crate at first, but now she whines for 30 minutes when placed in the crate at night and then at around 3am she barks and whines like crazy. We now have the crate in the living room. I plan on putting the crate in my bedroom tonight to see if it helps. We do ignore her barking and whining. I have taken her outside to relieve herself in the middle of the night. I do this as quietly as possible so she does not think it is playtime. Please help our family to get some sleep. We are exhausted and sad for our new pet.

Our Response

I Tracey do you know how common this problem is – it really is one of the most common problems associated with puppy crate training nut we wil try our best to help you out. You can never love a rescue dog too much!

You are actually doing quite a few things right – you just need to be patient. You have a rescue dog who has probably developed a few extra insecurities along the way. Many dog trainers have different ideas when it comes to curing a whining puppy, so we will give you a few tips to use along the way.

1. The fact that your dog is whining initially and then being quiet and then whining again is probably because she needs the toilet at 3am.

2. PRACTICE DURING THE DAY – Start by introducing her to the crate again – she may have started to associate it with bad experiences especially if she started off by liking it. When it’s time to feed your puppy wait until she is really keen to eat and place it in the crate (you can start by throwing treats in the crate) with the door open.

When she goes into eat it praise her – leave the door open. Keep doing this until she has really got used to the crate again. Practice this everyday by feeding her in the crate with the door open. After a while (and don’t force the issue) start closing the door – if your puppy starts whining then you will need to take a little longer with the door open and building up the time. When your dog is going into the crate quite happily during the day and eatin her food try shutting the door. Do this during the day and lenghthen the amount of time you do it for. Stay nearby but gradually move away from your puppy and the crate until she is basically doing what you want at night but during the day. Practice this everyday and when the time is right start opening the door for your puppy to go in th crate at night. It will work you just need to be patient and consistent.

3. Reinforce positive behavior – when she whines initially – ignore her. Never let your puppy out when she whines – wait until she is quiet and then let her out.

4. Place something in the crate that smells of you as this will help calm her down. Place a blanket over the top of the crate so she isn’t having her senses bombarded.

5. Just before your puppy goes to bed – have some play time and some exercise. When she starts to whine ignore her. Your puppy will need to have an empty bladder otherwise she won’t get though the night without wanting to pee.

6. If your puppy is still whining through the night and you have taken her outside and she hasn’t needed the toilet – next time ignore the whining. This is tough love – if she constantly whines and you go to see her, you are simply reinforcing the behavior.

7. According to the human society – dogs under six months are unable to hold their bladder for more than 3 hours and dog’s over this age who have lacked training may need to be regularly attended to until they understand exactly what the crate is for.

8. Never ever use the crate as a punishment tool.

9. Remind your puppy that the crate is somewher to be happy and content. A blanket and safe toys will go along way.

10. You will get there as we said before it is a very very common problem that gets sorted over time. Please practice and if you are still having problems in a few weeks time get back to us and we will try another angle until it is sorted.

Hope this helps.