You will naturally be a little concerned if you have recently discovered that your new puppy cries on walks. Why do they do this? Is it normal? How should you react, and how do you get your pup to overcome this? Here is everything you need to know.
So, why does my puppy cry on walks? Young puppies often cry on walks because they’re excited: your puppy might cry as soon as he knows you’re going for a walk. Sometimes, though, puppies cry on walks if they’re injured or if something about going on walks is causing them to be fearful. Other reasons include owners who unwillingly encourage crying behavior and puppies who want extra attention or treats.
Getting to the root cause of the issue is therefore going to require a little bit of investigation on your part.
You need to look exactly at when your puppy cries, and other behaviors that may follow suit.
It may be entirely obvious, or it may require a little more digging.
Either way, a lot has to do with how old your puppy is and how long they have been walking.
And we need to be mindful of the fact that puppies have to experience huge, sudden changes in their lives, environments, and expected behaviors.
We do need to give them a little time.
Just remember that.
With this in mind let us continue to explore this worrying behavior before turning to some effective and proactive ways to reduce it.
Is It Normal For Puppies To Cry On Walks?
It’s common for young puppies to cry on walks, and most dogs will outgrow this behavior, depending on the reasons.
Young puppies are more prone to crying on walks (as well as at other times) because of their recent separation from their moms and their littermates.
They tend to get more excited than older dogs, so a bit of crying from sheer enthusiasm is normal.
Newly Acquired Puppies
If you’ve just brought your puppy home from a shelter or similar, your puppy may be more likely to cry.
After all, he is adjusting to a new home with a different family and other rules and routines to get accustomed to.
Certain Dog Breeds
Some dog breeds tend to be more vocal than others, so if your puppy is one of these breeds, be prepared for a bit more noise than usual.
Some of the most vocal breeds include:
- Yorkshire terriers
- Basset hounds
- Siberian huskies
- Australian shepherds
You can train your dog to not be quite as vocal no matter what breed they are, but know that the above breeds may need more patience and time than their quieter cousins.
When Will A Puppy Stop Crying On Walks?
When a puppy will stop crying on walks will vary; it depends on multiple factors including breed, personality and confidence levels, their experience walking, level of socialization among many more. That being said, from 8 weeks all the way up to 2 years old is not unheard of.
Puppies are at their most vulnerable and fearful when they’re very young.
Often puppies cry because of the vast amount of feelings they’re trying to process. It can all feel like it’s too much, so their emotions come out as a bark or a whine.
Adult dogs learn self-control as they get older and become accustomed to new situations and people. Older dogs are less likely to have outbursts of noise from uncontrolled emotions.
As your puppy develops, he’ll usually be more and more able to control his feelings. And like teenage humans, a puppy’s brain has ‘growth spurts’ where development is very fast.
If your puppy is one who tends to cry on walks (or on other occasions), they may suddenly grow out of it during one of these spurts of development:
- From 8 to 12 weeks old
- At 4 to 9 months old
- At 1.5 to 2 years old
These are the times when your puppy can show more maturity and adult dog qualities.
Of course, this does depend on the individual personality of your pup.
How Do I Get My Puppy To Stop Crying On Walks?
If your puppy is crying on walks, it isn’t something to simply ignore or push through. You will want to help your puppy, and there are several things you can try.
Establish A Secure And Consistent Routine
If your puppy knows exactly what to expect, he will settle down faster than if he is constantly wondering what will happen. A routine for your puppy could be things like:
- Getting him up at the same time every morning
- Feeding him each day at set times
- Going for walks every day after breakfast, before dinner, etc.
- Spending time in his puppy crate to relax after his walk
- Playing games with the children every day after school
Try A Dog Backpack
When you see someone’s dog with a backpack, it isn’t necessarily because they want their dog to carry their belongings!
Some dogs quiet down when they have a bit of weight on their backs, especially working dog breeds.
You can even find backpacks for tiny dogs.
Put a bit of weight in the backpack, such as some dry dog food, a book, or other snacks.
Use Games To Calm Your Dog
If your puppy appears anxious or overly excited when out on walks, it could be he is anxious at home, too.
Anxious dogs benefit from activities that will help them burn off excess energy, be it mental or physical.
You can try feeding your puppy only through puzzle toys like Kongs.
- Small Puppies (Up to 20 lbs): This KONG Puppy toy is 1.75" by 3"; made of a soft rubber formula for a growing puppy's baby teeth and gums - WHEN YOUR PUPPY TURN 9 MONTHS, SWITCH TO KONG CLASSIC OR KONG EXTREME
- Fetch and Chew Toy: The KONG Puppy's bounce makes for games of fetch & is an ideal chew toy for the puppy's teeth and gums
- Stuffing: The stuffable KONG Puppy is more enticing when filled with KONG Puppy Easy Treat and KONG Snacks. For an added challenge, freeze stuffed KONG for 4-6 hours before giving to your dog. (Dishwasher safe for easy clean up)
- Vet Recommended: Veterinarians and trainers worldwide recommend the KONG Puppy as one of the best durable puppy toys available
- Made in the USA. Globally Sourced Materials
Don’t use a bowl: make your puppy think and work for his food to use up some of that pent-up emotional energy.
You can also try playing tug-of-war games with your puppy using a rope toy. Make sure the toy is suitable for your puppy’s teeth, and don’t let your puppy confuse your fingers for tug toys!
As your puppy grows, you can try starting your walks with a 10-minute jog to help him burn off excess energy.
Use Food While Training
You can give your dog less food at meals and use additional food as rewards during training.
Your puppy will probably not care about food while he’s on a walk – especially if he’s excited – but you can use the food to reward him for the behavior you want to see.
For example, rewarding him when he’s calm will teach him that he can get what he wants by being quiet.
Stay Calm Yourself
Even if you get frustrated, it’s essential to remain calm. Your puppy will pick up on your emotional state, and if you are anxious, he’ll get anxious too.
Check your posture: are you tense? If so, breathe deeply and relax.
When you’re out walking your puppy, if your puppy pulls you, change directions.
You don’t want him to think he can pull you to go where he wants to go. Try walking in a zig-zag pattern.
Speak to your dog calmly but with a high-pitched voice, encouraging him to look you in the eyes as much as possible. Smile as if to remind him that all is well.
Avoid retractable leads at first: if your puppy is anxious or overexcited, keep him by your side at all times.
Once your dog can walk calmly, you can then think about letting him wander a bit further away from you.
How Do You Calm A Puppy To Walk?
Some puppies mostly cry before you’ve left the house. Like when you leave the room.
As soon as you pick up his lead, your puppy may start crying. So, what do you do to prevent or stop this?
Here are some ideas for calming your puppy to go out on his walk.
Train Obedience Skills
By teaching your puppy to have better self-control, he will be happier over time.
Training takes patience, but if your puppy obeys you at home, he’ll obey you more easily on walks and in other settings.
Start with the basics such as:
Here are some examples of a sequence that you can try:
- Start by teaching your puppy to lie down and stay for 30 seconds while you’re in the same room
- Next, train your puppy to stay for 30 seconds while you walk to the other side of the room
- Then, increase the time to 1 minute (still with you walking away)
- Now practice the commands “sit” and “stay” while your puppy is on a leash inside your house
- Finally, get your puppy to obey “sit” and “stay” while you’re outside on your driveway or in your yard
You’ll then be ready to hit the road!
Note: The “watch” or “watch me” command is particularly useful if you have a puppy who is easily distracted by other people or dogs. You can use “watch” to get your puppy to look at you rather than turn around to look at the other dog. You can also use this command for easily switching directions while walking.
Need a leash? Here is the one I recommend: Best Leash For Puppy Training
Try Group Classes
You could call in a dog trainer to help you at home if you wish. However, many people opt for group obedience classes.
These classes work out to be less expensive in the long run and are an excellent way to help your puppy learn new skills and behaviors.
If your puppy is fearful or anxious around other dogs – or even excited – he can benefit from this added socialization.
The younger you start obedience classes with your puppy, the better.
You can speak to the trainer ahead of time to let him or her know that you’re struggling with an anxious or highly vocal dog.
A good trainer will give you tips to use during classes and when you and your puppy are on your own.
Some dog trainers are more tolerant of noisy dogs than others, so find the person that’s best for you.
You can save a lot of heartache by getting some help, so if you are struggling with a crying puppy, don’t leave it for too long!
Most puppies will cry when they begin going on walks.
Besides, it’s an entirely new experience for them and they have to get used to this entirely new, stimulating activity.
That being said, there is a range of potential reasons they may do this; some of them are quickly resolvable, some may take a little time.
Others can be a little more challenging to overcome. Besides we can even actively promote this behavior if we are not careful.
Only knowing why our puppy cries, and implementing the right approach will help us nip this behavior in the bud.
Just remember; if you suspect your puppy is injured, do contact a vet. It’s worth a check at the very least.
And if it’s more of a long-term behavioral issue, then contacting some professional trainers or support is not a bad idea either.
Have other questions about your puppy’s behavior and tendencies? Well, my following guides may be of help:
- Why Does My Puppy Follow Me Everywhere?
- Why Does My Puppy Bark At Me?
- Why Does My Puppy Bark At Other Dogs?
- How Long To Let Puppy Cry In Crate
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.