Have you noticed your puppy cries when you leave the room? Are you wondering why they do this? Is it normal? Is there anything you can do to help them? Here is all that you’ll need to know.
So, why does my puppy cry when I leave the room? Most puppies will naturally cry or whine a bit when their owners leave the room, which isn’t a major cause for concern. More severely destructive behavior, such as destroying furniture or other items, constant whining, inappropriate elimination, or incessant barking, could be signs of separation anxiety.
Thankfully, you can help your puppy build their confidence and feel more secure when left alone.
And we will get onto those techniques and recommendations shortly.
So do keep reading.
But first, how typical is crying in puppies when you leave them all alone – let’s find out!
Is It Normal For Puppies To Cry When You Leave The Room?
It is normal for puppies to cry when their owners leave the room: crying is how they find their mother and siblings when they’re small.
In addition, your puppy sees you as its pack member, its family, its whole world – as well as the source of all good things.
So, it’s no wonder that your puppy cries when you leave, even if it’s for a short time.
Dogs are highly emotionally sensitive and form life-lasting bonds with their people, starting when you first bring them home.
Most puppies will protest when you leave the room, particularly when they’re very young and they’ve only recently been separated from their mother and siblings.
That being said, it is essential to address this behavior as soon as possible because otherwise, it can develop into separation anxiety as your puppy grows.
You want to teach your puppy to stay quiet and wait peacefully for you to come back when they’re left alone.
Making an effort to do this in the early days will help your puppy calm down and settle more quickly into their new home.
In general, dogs don’t deal well with uncertainty.
The Cause Of Crying Behavior
Dogs are highly social pack animals.
Their wild relatives (like wolves) live in packs and are nearly always together.
So, the fact that your puppy is in a human home doesn’t mean instinct goes out the window – your puppy sees you as part of its pack.
Having their pack members leave isn’t natural for them, and they need interaction with you to remain healthy and happy.
Your puppy depends on you not only for company but also for play, food, exercise, and affection.
When you walk out the door, your puppy may think you won’t come back.
Crying or whining is their way of expressing their distress at what they perceive to be the loss of their pack (you).
Your puppy may express its displeasure at being left alone, no matter what breed you have.
Some breeds are more vocal than others: Yorkshire Terriers, Huskies, and Beagles are examples of dogs known to be fairly loud.
Some of these dogs often throw the equivalent of a toddler tantrum when their owners leave!
Is It OK To Ignore A Crying Puppy?
You may feel it isn’t OK to ignore a crying puppy, as it’s just your dog’s way of communicating their displeasure. However, by ignoring your puppy when they cry, you are sending them the message that crying isn’t acceptable behavior if they want your attention.
Difficult as this can be to implement, it is part of training your puppy to be OK with being alone for short periods.
However, it’s crucial to go and help your puppy if they are so distressed that they are hurting themselves.
You also don’t want to ignore a crying puppy if they are crying for basic needs, such as food, exercise, water, or affection.
If you ignore your puppy during these times, it will be very difficult to train your dog later on.
Learn to tell the difference between crying, that’s saying ‘I’m not OK, something’s wrong’ and ‘I’m not happy.’
If your puppy starts whining or crying as soon as you close the door to their crate or the door to your house, the best thing to do is ignore them and give them time to settle.
The good news is that puppies are open to learning and accepting new rules, particularly if they learn what gets them attention from you.
How To Respond To A Puppy Crying When You Leave the Room
Here’s how to respond to your puppy crying when you leave the room – start the training process as soon as possible, following these steps.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Settle your puppy in their bed, playpen, or another comfortable spot. Ask your puppy to stay while you walk a few steps away.
Make sure your puppy can still see you but don’t let them get up to follow you.
When your puppy is quiet, give them a reward (treat, affection, or similar).
Ensure you reward your puppy only when they are calm and peaceful: this teaches them that this is the behavior that you want.
Repeat this process on a regular basis, increasing the distance and time in small increments to eventually leave your puppy unattended for brief periods.
Make sure your puppy is left in a safe place where they can’t harm themselves (this is where puppy pens are essential).
If your puppy gives in to crying or whining during this process, wait until they are quiet before giving a reward.
You want to send the message that undesirable behavior won’t get the attention from you that your puppy craves – they have to be calm first.
By the age of about 13 weeks, you should be able to leave your puppy for up to 10 minutes in one sitting.
These all-natural treats for Amazon are particularly effective and highly recommended by fellow puppy owners!
Get Your Puppy Used To A Crate
Acclimatize your puppy to their crate because a good crate or playpen will keep them safe: this is especially important when your puppy wants to explore their new home, with all the exciting smells.
Teaching your puppy to remain calmly in their crate will ensure their safety later on when you aren’t home.
Crate training starts on the day your puppy arrives home, placing them in the crate and leaving the room for short periods.
Leave a favorite toy or a good chew bone for stress relief when your puppy is in the crate.
Use positive reinforcement (see above) for encouraging the behavior that you want.
The good thing about using a puppy crate is that soon your puppy will see the crate as a place of peace and safety.
Eventually, they will naturally go to their crate when they seek quiet and relaxation.
Don’t Make a Fuss About Leaving
It’s only natural to want to fuss over your puppy with affection and kind words of reassurance before you leave.
However, this is counterproductive because your puppy will then understand that you’re leaving and can start to get excitable, making it more difficult for them to settle once you’ve gone.
Don’t give your puppy any cues that you’re leaving.
Dogs are very clever, and they can pick up on all kinds of cues that signal their pack member is going.
Some people leave their keys in a different room, or they change coats.
Anything you can do to leave quietly and unobtrusively will benefit your puppy.
Come Back Quietly
You will likely be as excited to see your puppy after a time away as they are to see you.
You’ll also be proud of your puppy for doing so well alone, and you’ll want to lavish them with praise as soon as you walk in the door.
Resist the temptation, though: this can communicate to your puppy that your departures are huge occasions, which is the opposite of what you want!
If you come back quietly and calmly, you are signaling to your puppy that it isn’t a big deal that you were gone.
There is no reason, therefore, to cause a fuss – such as whining when you leave.
You want your puppy to see that being left alone for brief periods is normal and is not anything to worry about.
Let your puppy settle down before showing them affection or giving them a treat.
Help Ease Any Anxiety With Supplementation
CBD can work wonders for puppies with separation anxiety.
Just be sure to only offer a reputable product, and follow the dosing instructions as advised by the manufacturer.
Other Tips for Helping Your Puppy
Here are some final simple tips for helping your puppy deal with being left alone:
- Exercise your puppy before you go. A tired puppy will be way more likely to want to sleep or relax, and exercise stimulates endorphins. More endorphins can help improve mood, and a daily walk will provide lots of benefits for your puppy’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
- Provide a safe toy. Puppies need to be taught to amuse themselves, so choose a toy that is safe for your puppy to use on their own. Snack puzzle toys are excellent for this purpose.
- Try leaving the TV or radio on. There are dedicated channels to provide entertainment for dogs, so try them and see if there’s one your puppy likes.
If you find that you’re really struggling with your puppy’s crying, consider:
- Adopting another dog for companionship
- Leaving your puppy with a dog sitter or at a doggie day-care
- Getting help from a professional trainer
Puppies naturally cry. It’s just all part and process of them becoming independent dogs.
That being said, just because it is natural for them to do so does not mean you should let it continue long into the future.
While crying is to be expected in new puppies, if it is excessive, goes on beyond the puppy stages, or if it is accompanied by other bad behaviors, you will need to intervene in some capacity.
If you are in doubt, then it may be worthwhile contacting a vet.
Get them checked over just to ensure they are in good health and not in any pain.
While that is unlikely to be the issue, in some cases, it can be. And the peace of mind alone makes it a worthwhile exercise.
Enjoy this? Then my other puppy articles may be of interest!
- Should I Leave Water Out For My Puppy At Night?
- Should I Leave A Light On For My Puppy At Night?
- Can Puppies Sleep Outside?
- Why Is My Puppy Sleeping So Much?
- Why Does My Puppy Breathe So Fast While Sleeping?
- Why Does My Puppy Pee In Her Sleep?
- How Long To Keep Puppy In Playpen
- How Long To Let Puppy Cry In Crate
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.