Puppies begin to bark when they’re around seven to eight weeks old, meaning that by the time you adopt them, they’ve usually grown into their tiny little personalities and voices. This isn’t a bad thing! Puppies bark as a means to communicate with their humans. However, sometimes puppy barking can be a nuisance, especially if you’re crate training them and they bark in the middle of the night.
While puppy barking at night usually isn’t a cause for concern, it’s quite bothersome if you’re trying to get some sleep. Aside from ensuring that your puppy is full, safe, and calm, what else can you do to stop puppy barking at night?
Here are a few easy tips for implementing and a few other things to look out for when training a small puppy to sleep through the night alone.
Why Do Puppies Bark?
Puppies are a lot more similar to human babies than we might realize. They bark, whine, yelp, or howl to get attention or as a way to communicate their needs. However, it’s worth noting that puppies are also naughty like babies and toddlers.
If you allow them to continue with their barking behaviour throughout puppyhood and into adulthood, then you might find that they’ve realized they can manipulate you and are taking advantage of that.
In most cases, though, barking is a sign of something simple: hunger, discomfort, loneliness, or even anger (yes, puppies throw temper tantrums, too). Other reasons why puppies bark include:
If your puppy is barking when you leave the house, it’s likely due to separation anxiety, and if they’re barking when people pass by your yard, it could be out of aggression or curiosity. The only real way to figure out why they’re barking is to continue monitoring when they bark. When they do, be sure to monitor their surroundings and assess what the reason might be.
Understand Why Your Puppy is Barking at Night
Now that we’ve established why puppies bark, you might be wondering why your puppy is barking at night. The reasons detailed above might be the cause, especially if you aren’t feeding them the right amount before bed or if they’ve recently been weaned from their mother and are missing their pup siblings.
The latter is more likely, as puppies are similar to small children when they’re just a few months old and aren’t quite accustomed to sleeping alone yet, let alone in a crate or a dark space without the comfort of their mother.
Simply put, puppies require more attention than older dogs and might not enjoy being left alone for the whole night. Combine that with the fact that puppies have smaller bladders than adult dogs, and the chances are that your puppy is barking at night because they’re lonely or need to be let out to use the restroom.
Suppose you’re taking the puppy out for frequent potty breaks and find that their behaviour and barking continue after a few weeks of adjusting at home. In that case, the barking might be due to issues surrounding more severe separation anxiety or crate training. Let’s explore crate training.
Crate Training Tips for Parents of Puppies
If you’re crate training your puppy, it makes sense that they might feel strange and alone locked in a cage at night. Often, parents of young pups don’t realize that they’re crate training their dog in a manner that’s incongruent with proper development, and this can lead to issues at night (such as, you guessed it, barking!).
Before trying to go through a list of what’s causing your puppy to bark at night, take a look at how you’re crate training them and see if the crate itself might be the cause of the issue.
How to Stop a Puppy From Barking at Night
If you’ve done everything you can to make crate training easier for your puppy and they’re still barking, it’s time to step up your measures! The same goes for puppies who aren’t sleeping in a crate at night. Follow these tips to get your puppy to stop barking at night.
#1: Move the Crate to Your Room
If your puppy is having trouble adjusting to being alone in a crate, they might be barking out of fear or due to anxiety. If that’s the case, try moving their crate into your room.
They’ll be able to feel your presence next to them as they sleep, and depending on where your bed is located, they might even be able to look up and see that you’re there if they wake in the middle of the night. If the barking is anxiety-related, this can help calm it.
#2: Make the Space as Calming as Possible
Just as you likely enjoy falling asleep in a calming atmosphere, your puppy probably does too. Try to make their crate an oasis of calm and comfort. You may want put some items in the crate little cushions and be sure to include a blanket or item of clothing that smells like you.
Be sure to give them fresh water to drink during the night so that they can stay hydrated. And, if they tend to wake up active in the middle of the night (and that seems to be the reason for the barking), put their favourite toy in their crate for them to play with to keep them occupied while they get their energy out and fall back asleep.
It’s worth noting that, depending on the oil source and how you dilute it, certain essential oils are safe to use on dogs and help enhance the calming atmosphere. The best essential oils for dogs include lavender, chamomile, tangerine, and ylang-ylang. We suggest starting by diffusing the oils in the household to ensure that your dog enjoys the accent. Then, diffuse them in the room they’re sleeping in just before bed to help calm them down so that they can fall asleep easily.
#3: Try Uncovering the Crate
It’s a personal decision as to whether or not you want to cover your puppy’s crate at night. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood or the city, covering your puppy’s crate can help ensure that they’re able to get a good night’s sleep.
However, if your dog is particularly antsy or anxious, covering the crate might make them feel more isolated. Try both methods to see which works best for your pup; you might just find that uncovering the crate helps prevent nighttime barking, especially if it means being able to see you easily.
#4: Go for a Walk Before Bed
More often than not, naughty puppy behaviour is due to a bored or excited puppy. If they’re not sleeping through the night because they still have pent up energy, they can begin to bark as a way to ask you to let them out to play. Or, if they’re an anxious puppy, their anxiety can keep them awake at night.
Combat either of those issues by going for a long, long walk before bed. You can also try out other activities to keep your puppy busy. Wearing your puppy out ensures that they not only get the exercise they need to keep their brains and little bodies active but that they’ll be worn out at the end of the day and fall asleep peacefully. After all, a tired puppy won’t have the energy to stay up all night and bark. When your pup is tired, it’ll sleep and you’ll not have to wonder how to stop your puppy barking at night!
There can be many reasons why a puppy stays up and barks all night. You may have to try out the various methods above to see which best describes your pup and from there, find the best solution. Bear in mind that it will take lots of patience from you. As mentioned above, a puppy is much like a young child, they’ll need a lot of love and training to learn but it’ll be all worthwhile.