There is nothing more disheartening than a puppy crying in its crate. But at the same time, it’s essential to teach your puppy that you’re not going to pander to them whenever they cause a scene. Besides, nobody wants a demanding dog! But what is an appropriate time to let your puppy cry in his crate? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you get him to stop? Well, here is everything you’re going to want to know.
So, how long should you let your puppy cry in its crate? It is generally recommended to let a puppy cry for no longer than 10 minutes in a crate. That way, you can ensure you reinforce calm behavior rather than leave your puppy with the impression that no one cares.
It’s all about striking a balance you see.
And I’m talking about times generally here.
It’s not about setting a stopwatch or timer!
Well, you could do that – but it seems a bit much for me.
Nevertheless, let’s continue to explore how you should approach your puppy crying in his crate and how you can get it to stop!
Should I Let My Puppy Cry In His Crate?
You can let your puppy cry for a very short period in his crate, but don’t leave him for too long.
Unless you are planning to live with your puppy permanently by your side, you will have to do what’s needed to get your puppy used to being alone.
This is why vets recommend you should let your puppy get used to spending short bursts of time on his own.
When You Can Let Your Puppy Settle on His Own
He may cry in his crate for a few minutes, but the more you’ve used crate training to establish his crate as a safe and secure space with positive associations, the faster he’ll be able to settle down.
Whether to let your puppy cry or not depends on the timing of his crying. If you have put your puppy in the crate with a nice treat and he is quite happy, he may begin to cry once he’s finished the treat.
Even if you feel bad for your puppy, don’t go to let him out straight away.
If you go to him as soon as he cries when his treat is finished, you’ll be teaching him that he gets to go out if he cries.
Your puppy will learn from you that all he has to do to be let out is to cry – which isn’t what you want!
Ideally, you want your puppy to settle as soon as possible.
In most cases, your puppy may cry for a bit and then settle down to sleep in less than half an hour.
If this happens, you can then wake him after a bit and take him out of his crate.
That’s how you teach your puppy that you decide what the rules of crate time are – he doesn’t.
When You’ll Want to Take Your Puppy Out Of His Crate
If your puppy is still crying 30 minutes later, you’ll need to respond to his cries and take him out of his crate for comfort.
Some puppies have higher degrees of separation anxiety than others, so leaving them to cry can escalate these problems.
The last thing you’ll want is for your puppy to develop negative associations with his crate.
Take your crying puppy out of the crate and try again later. You can gradually work your way to leaving your puppy unattended for longer periods of time.
For more nervous puppies, start by feeding treats inside the crate with the door open.
Time crate sessions for no more than 30 minutes to begin with.
This way, your puppy sees that you determine when he comes out of his crate and whether he cries or not has nothing to do with his getting out.
Some puppies will settle down faster if they can see their people, whereas other puppies find it more frustrating to see people they can’t physically interact with.
Try and see what’s best for your puppy – there is some trial and error involved with each puppy, as their personalities are so different.
How Long Should You Let A Puppy Cry In A Crate?
If your puppy seems quite distressed, you should leave him for no longer than 10 minutes. If he is crying more softly, you can leave him for up to 30 minutes. If you have gotten them used to their crates, most puppies settle within half an hour.
Bear in mind that your puppy’s bladder won’t be able to hold urine for very long.
Sometimes puppies can protest loudly when they need the toilet.
Your puppy won’t want to soil his crate, so it’s essential to take him outside for a toilet break before putting him in his crate.
If you know your puppy has been to the toilet and is comfortable with his crate, you can let him whine and bark for a bit.
He is getting used to settling without his pack.
He may settle for a minute and then bark or cry again, but he will eventually fall asleep.
As time goes on, your puppy should settle faster and faster.
When you do go to your puppy to comfort him, don’t be tempted to start playing with him if you want him to settle back down.
For example, during the night, he’ll need to go out every few hours to relieve himself, so let him do that and then bring him right back inside to settle down back to sleep.
How Do I Stop My Puppy From Crying In The Crate?
There are several things you can do to help your puppy stop crying in his crate. Proper crate training, ensuring his comfort, and being conscious of his surroundings are just some of the things that can help.
Get Him Used To His Crate
Proper crate training is essential for new puppies when settling into their new homes.
Your puppy will be missing his mother and his littermates, so it will take him time to get used to being without them.
Build a positive association for your puppy with his crate.
If you get a puppy from a breeder, you can find breeders who have already exposed their puppies to crates and short periods of being alone.
Otherwise, begin to introduce the crate to your puppy gradually.
Have him spend some time inside his crate while eating or playing (perhaps with the door open for starters) so that he associates the crate with good times.
On day one, a good idea is to feed your puppy inside his crate with the door open.
Once he becomes familiar with his crate, you can shut him in for short periods – but always reward him with a treat when he goes inside his crate.
Ensure Your Puppy’s Comfort
Make sure your puppy is comfortable in his crate. Provide soft blankets or a warm dog bed for him.
Crates are usually made of metal, so they need soft bedding to be comfortable.
Be sure your puppy’s crate is in a place where he is protected from drafts, extremes in temperature, and loud noises.
Some crates can make noise when the door opens or closes, and your puppy will need to get used to this.
Try opening and closing the door of the crate a few times so that your puppy gets used to the sound.
It’s good practice to make sure your puppy is relaxed around the crate before putting him inside.
Let him sniff the outside and place some enticing treats or toys inside so that he goes in of his own accord.
These are the treats I recommend you get, from Amazon, by the way:
Be Conscious Of Your Puppy’s Surroundings
If you have other animals or a lot of people in your home, provide a quiet space for your puppy. Puppies can need up to 20 hours a day of sleep in order to grow.
Some people want to put their puppy’s crate in their bedroom and then move it at a later date.
You may wish to do this at the beginning, but it’s best if you can put your puppy’s crate in its permanent spot. Then spend time beside his crate, rather than the other way around.
Some puppies prefer to be in the same room with their people – on average, puppies tend to settle faster if they can see their families.
However, if your puppy gets frustrated because he feels he’s missing out on the action, try covering his crate with a blanket when it’s sleep time.
He may do better when he doesn’t have as much visual stimulus.
Tire Your Puppy Out
It’s a good idea to tire out your pup before he goes in his crate. Play games with him – you can even play games using his crate if you wish.
The sleepier your puppy is, the more easily he’ll settle in his crate.
How Long Does It Take For A Puppy To Stop Crying In Their Crate?
Usually, young puppies take several weeks to stop crying in their crates, but it depends on the individual puppy. Some puppies will cry every night for the first week or two, while others only the first night or two. Some puppies even cry for so long that they pass out: if puppies are left to cry it out, the settling-in process takes even longer.
With good crate training (see above), your puppy should settle within the first few weeks.
When Crate Training Doesn’t Work
Sometimes a puppy can have separation anxiety, in which case crate training won’t work. Here are the signs to look for:
- Biting the crate
- Digging at the crate
- Headbutting the crate or doing other things to get out
- Chewing on the bars of the crate
If your puppy has separation anxiety, he won’t feel better outside of the crate. In fact, he’ll have a hard time being left behind no matter where he is.
Puppies with separation anxiety need specialist support, so take your puppy to your vet or a trained behaviorist for help.
Leaving Your Puppy to Cry It Out Makes Things Worse
Some people used to recommend letting your puppy cry it out entirely, which only makes things worse.
Your puppy is more likely to go on crying in his crate for longer if he feels that no one cares.
He’ll then be crying not only because he’s lonely but because he’s despondent.
Use the methods above, arm yourself with patience, and remember that your puppy loves you and wants to be with you.
Give him comfort when he needs it, and teach him that his crate is a safe (and even fun) place.
You can leave your puppy to cry in its crate.
In fact, it’s actually recommended that you do so.
Within reason, of course.
10-30 minutes is generally the range – depending on circumstance and context.
Ultimately, it’s a fine line between over-pandering and showing you are a dependable owner who is there for your new pup when they need you.
Busy learning about keeping a puppy safe and comfortable? Then my following related guides may be of interest:
- Why Does My Puppy Cry When I Leave The Room?
- Why Does My Puppy Cry On Walks?
- How Long To Keep Puppy In Playpen
- Can You Leave A Puppy Alone Overnight?
- Best Wooden Dog Crate [This Is The One To Get!]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.