Training

How To Calm a Crying Puppy: 7 Tips & Tricks

June 9, 2022

A crying puppy can quickly turn a peaceful day into a loud and unpleasant affair. These are the top seven tricks to calm them down.

1. Determine Why Your Puppy Might Be Crying

The first, and possibly most important, step when it comes to calming your crying puppy is to figure out why they are even crying in the first place. After all, it is impossible to address the root issue if you do not know what that issue even is.

Think about your puppy’s schedule and consider how they might be feeling. Is it possible that they have any physical needs that should be tended to? Otherwise, the reason for their crying and whining might stem from an emotional need. For pet parents who have only just brought their puppy home, there can be a bit of a learning curve.

Know that you will get to understand your dog and their quirks with time. Taking the necessary steps to really get to know your dog now will lay the foundation for a meaningful partnership for years to come. Before you know your dog like the back of your hand, it can be helpful to think about some of the most common reasons that a dog might cry.

Do any of these apply to your pet? If so, it is time to take action.

They Are Hungry

One of the simplest reasons for puppies crying is that they are simply hungry or thirsty. Look at the clock. Is it nearing mealtime? Even if it is nowhere near breakfast or dinner time, your puppy might be testing the waters. Up until now, they might have learned that crying gets them their food faster.

It is important not to reinforce this behavior, or else your puppy will just continue crying and expect to be rewarded for it. That being said, your pet should always have all the food that they need to thrive. If your puppy is whining around mealtime, wait for them to calm down.

In the moment that there is a lull from their constant whining, reward them with their food. This way, you are still giving your dog their meal at the correct time, but you are not telling them that crying is the right solution. Instead, you are hopefully teaching them that their silence resulted in them being fed.

If you find that your dog is whining or crying for food very often, it is possible that you need to reconsider how much you are feeding them on a daily basis. Good nutrition is integral to a puppy’s growing process, and they will require different amounts of food as they age. This means that you will likely adjust how much and how often you feed them several times throughout their adolescence.

Many guides determine how much to feed your dog based on their age and weight, but there are other factors that can contribute to how much food they need. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet and see what they recommend for your pup’s diet.

They Need a Drink

On the other side of the same coin, it is also a possibility that your dog is thirsty. Especially after a day spent getting rid of their abundance of puppy energy, your pet is going to need a significant amount of water to remain hydrated. Your dog should have access to water whenever they need it.

Your Puppy Is Bored

Puppies need a ton of entertainment and stimulation to remain engaged. If a puppy does not receive the mental stimulation that they need from outside sources, then they will inevitably look for other ways to entertain themselves. This is when pet parents wind up with chewed wires, scratched couches, and other forms of destruction around the house.

If your dog is crying, they might be looking for something to do. They could either want you to play with them, or they simply are in need of a distraction.

They Need To Use the Bathroom

Since a crying dog could mean that they are hungry or thirsty, it stands to reason that crying could also signify that your pet needs to go to the bathroom. Think about the last time that you took your puppy outside to do their business. Also, keep in mind that puppies are still learning how to hold it.

As a result, puppies need to be let outside to use the bathroom more often than their adult counterparts. Puppies need to go outside every two hours at least, or else you will end up paying the price. Well, or your carpet will.

By taking your dog out frequently, you can help ensure that there will not be any indoor accidents. However, that is not the only benefit of this practice. You are also getting ahead of your dog’s needs, and preventing them from having to cry at all. At the same time, you are building a bond and trust with your pet that you will always take care of them.

Taking your dog out frequently is a crucial element of successful potty training, and will result in you avoiding a great deal of puppy crying along the way. Your ears will thank you, and so will your floors.

Illness or Not Feeling Well

If you cannot find any other reason for your dog’s whining, try to inspect your pet for any illnesses, injuries, or other issues. This might be your puppy’s way of telling you that something is not quite right. If you do not find anything amiss but want a second opinion, a check-up with their veterinarian is always a wise move.

Your Dog Misses You

Lastly, your dog might just be feeling lonely. Dogs, and puppies especially, are prone to feeling separation anxiety. Puppies so often experience this phenomenon because, before they were brought home with you, they were likely surrounded by their littermates. It is quite the adjustment to go from being around many other puppies all day long to being in a somewhat quiet house.

Your dog is not used to being alone, so this can be an intimidating prospect. Many first-time puppy parents do not realize that their pets actually have to be taught how to be alone and feel comfortable with it. Luckily, crate training can actually go a long way in helping your dog feel confident on their own. Stay tuned for some helpful advice on how to make the process of crate training your puppy a breeze.

2. Know When To Ignore and When To Engage

This step can be understandably difficult for pet parents. The last thing we want to do after hearing our beloved puppy in distress is to ignore them, but occasionally it is what’s best for everyone. If your dog does not have a legitimate need that has to be addressed, then they are likely crying for one of two reasons.

First, your puppy might be crying to see if this action will get your attention. Second, your puppy might be crying because they already know for a fact that it will get your attention.

If you have shown them in the past that whining immediately gets a response, then they have reason to keep doing it. This is why it is so crucial to understand exactly what the motivation is behind your dog’s crying. Parsing out whether your dog truly needs assistance or if they just have to cry it out will help you tremendously.

3. Crate Train Your Puppy

Crate training is a part of growing up for many puppies, but it can actually be as beneficial to the pet as it is to the pet parent. By crate training your dog, you are giving them a safe haven that is only theirs. This is a place where they can feel completely and totally at peace, with no need to feel fear.

With thorough training and the use of positive reinforcement, your dog will eventually learn that their crate is a quiet and calm place. You can work to create these positive associations in a variety of ways, including:

- Feed your puppy their meals inside their crate

- Pick a crate that is the right size for your puppy (a divider might be necessary)

- Reward your puppy for entering the crate on their own

- Hide treats around the crate

Make Their Crate a Cozy Space

In addition to those tips, you will want to make your puppy’s crate as cozy as possible to kick their natural denning instincts into overdrive. You can do this by placing a comfortable crate pad inside where they can take a nice snooze. Also consider adding items like soft blankets, their favorite snuggly toys, and anything else that might make your dog feel welcome.

4. Keep Them in the Room With You at Night

Your dog is not going to be able to self-soothe themselves if they are feeling lonely or frightened. You can lower the risk of separation anxiety by keeping their crate nearby when you both go to sleep. Since your dog is so used to being surrounded by others, nighttime can be especially difficult if they are spending it alone for the first time.

Consider keeping your puppy’s crate in your room with you. This way, they will always be able to look over and see that you are close by. At the same time, if they do start whining during the night because they need something, you will hear it and be able to give them the assistance they need.

5. Get Your Puppy Plenty Exercise During the Day

Puppies often become bored because they have not gotten enough exercise. Once a puppy is sufficiently tuckered out with physical activity, sleep will be easier to come by for both of you. Take your dog out on walks, play fetch, and engage them however they enjoy most.

Not only will this get your puppy the exercise they need to stay healthy and content, but it will also go a long way in solidifying your bond with each other.

6. Establish a Daily and Nightly Routine

Much like human kids, dogs and puppies thrive on routine. Knowing what to expect allows for security and confidence that lets dogs make the most of their day. There are a few points of this routine that should remain consistent among all puppies and pet parents.

For instance, take your puppy out to use the bathroom right after waking up and right before going to bed. This will give you the largest possible amount of uninterrupted sleep that anyone could hope for just after bringing a new puppy home.

Other than that, you are going to want to determine how much you should be feeding your dog, when, and at what intervals. You can do this with the help of your veterinarian, and by considering your puppy’s feeding routine before you brought them home. Then, there is room for fun stuff like playing, cuddling, and spending time together.

7. Even if You Feel Frustrated, Always Remain Calm

It is entirely possible that there will be times when all you want to do is stay in your comfortable bed, but your crying puppy simply will not allow it. We fully understand that these situations can be frustrating, but losing your cool will not help anyone in the end.

Even a negative reaction is still a reaction, so if your dog is looking to get a rise out of you, this will reinforce the behavior. Dogs are also incredibly capable of reading our emotions and responding in kind. If your dog registers that you are angry, they will likely become on edge as well. A frightened dog is more likely to cry, so this will have the opposite of the desired effect.

Summing Up

As long as you take the time to understand your puppy’s motivation for crying, calming them should not be far behind. If you can’t figure out why they’re crying, or if they do not stop, reaching out to your vet might be the next step.

Sources:

Puppy Feeding Fundamentals | American Kennel Club

How To House Train Your Dog or Puppy | Humane Society

Pet Time: Dog Routines | HuffPost Life

The Diggs Team

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