Leaving your puppy in his or her crate at night can feel similar to putting up with the behavior of babies at night. Specifically, your pup wants attention and will keep crying, whining or barking until you come. In this article we have some tips for crate training puppies at night.
While you might be tired and ready to sleep through the night, your puppy may not be, instead he may whine, bark and make attempts to get out of his crate. We will explore the various issues that cause this, and what to do to prepare and encourage your puppy to sleep peacefully in his crate at night, so you and your pup no longer find night time a troubling, traumatic, and restless experience.
As with a child, one of the most important things to do as the time for bed gets closer is to take steps to minimize problems. Otherwise your puppy will remain excited throughout the night and want to come out of his crate to play instead of wanting to sleep.
Therefore one of the things you will want to do is to keep him awake and active for most of the day to ensure that he does not remain excited and restless at night. So do be sure to play with him and make sure he gets a fair amount of exercise during the day.
You may also wish to start to introduce the use of a dog crate cover to teach your pet that playtime is over and it is time to settle down.
As with toddlers, you will want to avoid giving your pet drinks before he goes to sleep, as what tends to happen otherwise? Accidents! Don’t give yourself any extra unnecessary
So ensure that your pup’s last meal is at least 4 hours before he retires to his crate. And similarly with regards to drink, unless he really is thirsty, in which case allow him a little water, not a big trouble inviting amount!
Allowing 4 hours before your dog retires to his crate should give him ample time to digest his food and drink, and then expel his waste before he gets into his crate ready to sleep.
Doing the above few things greatly help with crate training a puppy at night and they remove the creation of extra unnecessary work for yourself.
Your dog should have already been familiarized with the crate during the day. His first introduction to the crate should not be at night as this will cause distress.
As with training during the day, the crate should not be seen as a form of punishment. Punishment is exactly what he will see it as if he’s locked in his cage at night before he has become comfortable with it. So if your puppy has not been trained to enter on command, continue to use treats to show him that going in the crate is a positive thing.
Food and water should not be left inside the crate overnight either for the same reason. An anxious pet is simply going to play up and knock them over. Also, if your dog does not relieve himself before he gets in the crate, then try to encourage him to go yourself as part of your toilet training routine. While he may not feel the need to go, there will most likely be some stuff that will come out if you prompt him to go!
Of course, this isn’t foolproof, just as it isn’t with a toddler or young child, but it will help a lot. So do be prepared in the initial stages of crate training your puppy at night to get up one to three times during the night to let him go to his litter tray or outside. You may also wish to line the crate with paper just in case your pet does end up relieving himself inside the cage.
Because of this, there really is no such thing as how to get your puppy to sleep throughout the night. Crate training puppies at night time involves you working on getting your puppy to sleep until he needs to relieve himself. He needs time to learn to control his bladder and bowel over his first few months of life.
Preferably, especially if the crate is not too heavy and if you have already decided that you wanted to try leaving your pet in the living area and found that he starts whining and barking, then the best dog crate location for the short term will be in your bedroom.
In the wild, dogs are used to being a part of a pack, and so it is naturally for a puppy when separated from company to bark and whine in distress to help pack members find him. In this case, you and other family members are his pack, and he may not be comfortable being left alone in a room.
So initially while crate training puppies at night, you will want to keep your pup in your bedroom where he can smell you and hear your presence. This helps him feel more safe and secure. This is also beneficial to you too, to help get him toilet trained during the night.
It also enables you to quickly calm him down if he wakes up distressed during the night. Or if he whines or barks to let you know that he wishes to relieve himself.
If you do let your pup out, be sure to take him straight to his litter tray or outside and then to take him straight back to his tray after he has spent some time in his tray or on the soil, whether he does relieve himself or not, so he understands he can come out to go for a potty break, and not to play games.
Crying, Whining & Barking At Night
Once you have determined that your pup is suitably toilet trained and before he gets too comfortable with sleeping in the bedroom, you can then let him sleep in the living room.
Do not be surprised if your young pet does not take long to start whining and barking once you move him. Your puppy crying in his crate at night is of course due to the separation.
By this stage you should already be familiar with when he needs to go to the potty to be able to determine whether he really needs to go from trying to get your attention.
The important thing when it comes to how to train your puppy not to whine at night is not to rush to let him out or even to coo or talk to him. Doing so is simply sending the signal that if he makes a noise, you will come.
He will thus continue this behavior to get his way, instead of you getting a dog that sleeps peacefully in his crate at night without troubling you.
If he is persistent, you may try getting him from the scruff of his neck and gently pull him out the crate, tell him firmly “Quiet” and then put him back inside. And then ignore him until it’s time for a potty break.
That way he knows if you come it’s only going to be for a potty break or this weird thing where you take him out, say something that doesn’t sound like fun, then put him back and walk away.
So How Often Is My Puppy Likely To Need A Potty Break?
Effective crate training puppies at night involves establishing a routine for your puppy to safely eliminate. You will learn how frequently your pup needs to go, but as a rough guide, or If you haven’t got your pup yet, then you are probably wondering how frequently you’ll need to expect to let your puppy use the potty during the night.
As a rough guide if your pup is:
- 7 – 9 weeks old, you’ll want to set your alarm every two hours.
- 9 – 14 weeks old, set the alarm for every three hours.
- 14 weeks+ old. Set the alarm for every four hours. As your pup is learning to control his balder and bowel movements, gradually increase the time until your dog is able to sleep through the night without needing to go until you wake in the morning.
Use a toilet training command when you let your little one out. This teaches your puppy to recognize that he his being let out of the cage to relieve himself. You may also want to use a leash to ensure that he doesn’t decide to make you play chase with him!
You will also learn from this, a schedule of when your pup needs to relieve himself, until such time he is old enough to be able to sleep through the night without needing to go. Just like during the day, recognizing patterns and establishing a schedule is your friend.
So if you want to get proactive you could set an alarm accordingly to wake you up to let your dog out for a potty break. Especially when you move him to another room where you might not hear him as clearly as an alarm.
So now you have realized that crate training puppies at night is similar to crate training puppies during the day. And just like training during the day, it works really well if you are disciplined and use a puppy crate training schedule.
A schedule helps both you and your pet understand boundaries and expected behavior. And it helps you both get what you need – you get sleep, he gets to learn potty training and be let out to relieve himself at appropriate intervals!
If you are looking for the best dog crate to train your puppy in, the Midwest iCrate Pet Crate or Midwest Life Stages Dog Crate are recommended. Both are designed to keep your puppy contained, while being built to last your dog into their fully grown adult size.
The cages are very similar but there are a few differences. Life Stages cage is slightly narrower but also a but stronger than the iCrate. And as the name suggests, it was designed specifically with the evolving needs in mind of a puppy growing into an adult dog.
Both the Life Stages and the iCrate cages comess with an internal adjustable divider panel. This ensures that your growing puppy always has just the right amount of space needed, and no more. This is important to help avoid the crate being used as a potty.
The Life Stages has the more robust build of the two. In our view it is worth paying the little bit extra for.
Remember crate training puppies at night needn’t be a long, drawn-out and stressful process for you and your pet. Be persistent and consistent with your training efforts and you will soon have your puppy sleeping peacefully through the night.