How to Stop a Dog From Whining at Night: Ultimate Guide
There are some things that all dog owners just have to face. One of those things is your puppy or your dog whining during the night.
If you got a new puppy, this is something you can definitely expect to happen. But your adult dog can also start showing this behavior at some point even though they haven’t done it before.
But no amount of preparation can help with the insomnia you’re currently going through. The key to figuring out how to stop a dog from whining at night is to understand why they do it.
The right reason will lead you to the best solution. To help you put a stop to sleepless nights, we made this guide covering all possible reasons your dog is whining at night.
Most importantly, we talk about various steps you can take to stop this behavior in no time!
Reasons Why Your Dog Whines at Night
The way to go about training your dog to stay quiet during the night depends on the reason they’re making these sounds in the first place.
To make sure you don’t waste any time, first determine the reason, and only then pick the appropriate solution.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your puppy or your dog is crying during the night.
Reason #1: Not Enough Exercise and Training
One of the - if not the most common reason why dogs cry during the night is that they are not tired enough.
They accumulated all this energy during the day and they need to let it out somehow.
The way they do that during the night, especially if you crate them, or put them in a closed room, is that they become vocal.
Your dog is not tired and they’re bored. To entertain themselves, they do the only thing they can - whine, cry, bark.
These behaviors can be pretty self-rewarding on their own, so this is a common ‘weapon of choice’ for many puppies and adult dogs to keep themselves occupied.
Reason #2: Not Enough Care, Affection, and Socialization
The next common reason for whining at night is attention-seeking. But not because your dog is spoiled. No!
It’s because you worked long hours, or had a busy day, and your dog felt lonely the entire day.
They didn’t get praised by you, they didn’t get their daily dose of cuddles, or played with their fellow dogs.
Now that you’re home in your bed, your pet is trying to get to you and get the care and affection they are missing.
Reason #3: Essential Needs Have Not Been Met
This is a very basic thing every pet owner needs to do. Keeping your pet fed, with fresh water, and taking them out to go potty is common sense.
And as a responsible owner, you are certainly already doing this.
However, if you have a puppy, you’re probably still in the training process, and you’re learning when your pet has to go.
On the other hand, your puppy may use whining to signal that they really have to go out. If this is the reason, you’re lucky!
The whining should be short-term and you’ll be back to sleep as soon as you figure out your puppy’s schedule.
Reason #4: Not Crate Trained Properly
Let’s start by saying that crate training your puppy will save you a lot of trouble during your time together.
It’s better to start as early as you can, but you can also crate train an adult dog. It may be more challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Proper crating means that your dog likes their crate enough to feel safe there and go there by themselves to spend time, rest, or just hang out in there.
If your puppy is whining in its crate, this can mean that you have not yet finished the entire crate training process.
There’s still work to be done for the puppy to make positive associations with the crate.
Reason #5: Sickness
Finally, when you exclude all other possible causes of whining, you have to ask yourself if the health of your pet is at its best.
This is especially important to think about if you have an adult dog who hasn’t cried during the night for years.
If they suddenly start doing so, there has to be a good reason for it.
If your dog is feeling discomfort due to something health-related, whining can be a way to communicate that with you.
If sickness is the reason, you’ll most likely see other changes in behavior apart from this.
Tips on How to Stop a Dog From Whining at Night
Now that you have in mind all the possible reasons your dog is whining during the night, let’s look at what you can do about it.
Tip #1: Give Your Dog Plenty of Exercise and Training
As we said, excess amount of energy and boredom are the main reasons for whining in puppies and in adult dogs.
You can get ahead of this before it even starts. Think about exercise and training as the best prevention.
After all, prevention is always better than the cure! Keep in mind that the amount of exercise and training is different for each dog.
You will have to adapt depending on your dog’s breed, needs, amount of energy, personality, etc.
You have to take out your dog 3 to 4 times during the day for at least 15 minutes so that they can go potty and breathe in some fresh air.
But if you want to see real benefits and get your pet tired physically and mentally, you should put 30 minutes to 2 hours of activity in your schedule - every day.
Plan this time carefully to get the most out of it. Combine low, moderate, and high-impact exercise with mental stimulation.
Not only will you improve your relationship with your dog in this way, but you’ll also get them tired and ready for bed.
Tip #2: Spend Time With Your Dog Doing Nothing
Even though spending active time with your dog is important, hanging out with them and giving them tummy rubs matters as well.
Sometimes the answer to how to stop a dog from whining at night lies in doing absolutely nothing with them.
Your dog needs company, they need to feel your attention and love during the day, so they wouldn’t ask for it during the night.
Talk with your dog during the day, pet them, give them treats, let them know you are here for them.
Knowing this (and being tired from all the exercise they’ve done), they’ll sleep like a baby during the night.
Tip #3: Crate Train Your Dog Properly
If done correctly, crate training your puppy will bring them a lot of benefits. But it will also help you out in situations like whining during the night.
A crate should be your dog’s safe place. They should feel secure, comfortable, and happy in there.
Once they start getting in their crate on their own, you’ll know that you’ve done a good job. Here are some tips on crate training your dog properly so you can stop them from whining at night.
First, never use the crate as punishment. The puppy should make positive associations with the crate, not see it as a prison.
With that being said, the dog should not spend all day in there.
Crating should be done when the puppy is little, for their own safety when you’re not at home, and only for a maximum of 3 or 4 hours.
You should also give your puppy or dog some alone time in the crate when you’re at home.
When you’re watching TV or preparing lunch, put your dog in the crate with their favorite chew toy and leave them to play or rest.
Speaking of chew toys, there are great ways to get your dog to love their crate. Putting a soft blanket in it, their favorite toy, some treats - all of these can make the crate a lovely place.
Tip #4: Bring the Crate Into Your Bedroom
Now that you’re working on training your dog during the day, here are some things you can do during the night.
First, make sure the crate is in your field of view or earshot during the night.
We know it may sound counter intuitive, but bringing the crate into your bedroom during the night is a shortcut to stopping your dog from whining.
We’ll discuss why this is a good idea in the following tips.
Tip #5: Interrupt the Whining
You’ll be able to influence the behavior your dog is showing. You can stop it and praise the desired behavior.
What you need to do is interrupt the whining as soon as it starts. You can do that with your voice, saying something like “A-a!” or “Hey!”.
If your puppy is so into it that they don’t hear your voice, lightly tapping on the crate can also work.
You just need to get them out of their head and make them wonder what’s happening.
If for any reason you can’t have the crate so close to you to tap on it, you can tie a leash or a rope to it.
By moving the leash, you can make a similar noise to tapping and have your dog snap out of whining.
Congrats! You now stopped the dog for a second. But the work is not done here.
Tip #6: Reward Peace and Quiet in the Crate
Use these moments of peace and quiet to praise your dog. Really put everything into that praise.
What happens then is that the dog gets snapped out of whining by a strange, unfamiliar sound, but when they are not crying, they hear their favorite voice - yours.
Sooner rather than later, they will want to stop hearing that strange sound and hear more of your loving praises.
If you praise them only when they’re quiet, this is exactly what they’re going to do.
Tip #7: Give Support but Not Attention
It’s important to give support in the form of praise - your thrilled, lovely voice is enough for your puppy or your dog.
There’s no need to get up, take them out of the crate, give them pets, etc. Care and affection should be given during the day, as we said.
The night time is for sleeping. So make sure you don’t undo all your effort by giving attention to your puppy because they will learn that whining is the way to get you doing what they want.
Keep in mind that they are comfortable in their crate, they are feeling safe (if trained properly) and they don’t need anything else from you.
You don’t need to feel sorry for them and give them attention. You’ve done everything that needs to be done, and now it’s time for you to rest.
Tip #8: Make Sure All the Basic Needs Are Met
As mentioned, sometimes when puppies are still learning to communicate with you, they whine in their crate or in the room so you’d let them out.
If you excluded all the other reasons, and you are certain they’re tired, trained, cared for, and they still whine - then maybe they have to go potty.
Learn your dog's rhythm, and make sure they go outside and they are fed and happy before you go to bed.
Tip #9: Take Your Dog to the Vet if There’s a Change in Behavior
Last, but not least is a vet visit. If your dog is whining, you shouldn’t go to the vet right away before first going down this list of possible solutions.
However, if you tried everything, and your dog is still crying during the night, a vet visit may be justified.
It is especially important to take your dog to the vet if they are an adult dog who never before (or at least not for years) cried at night.
If you know that your dog gets enough exercise and care, along with regular food and time to potty, there may be some health-related issues that a vet needs to check out.
So, there it is! We put together a comprehensive list of all reasons and solutions on how to stop a dog from whining at night.
Keep in mind that the only right solution for you depends on the cause. So sit down and think this through.
Don’t go down our list of solutions without first figuring out why the whining is happening. If you determine this, it is almost certain that one of our tips will help you out.
We hope you’ll solve your problem quickly and we wish you many calm nights with your furry best friend!