Why Is My Puppy Whining And Crying?


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why is my puppy whining and crying

Puppies are the cutest thing in the world!

Until they start whining and crying and simply won’t stop!

If you’ve recently adopted a puppy, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Baloo has whined and cried for the better part of the first few months he was with me. At some point I really thought I’m going to go crazy if he doesn’t stop!

So, trust me, I feel you!

In order to stop an unwanted behavior, it’s very important to first understand why your pup is even doing it.

This is why you’ll learn why your puppy is whining and crying now so that you know how to react appropriately.

Why Is My Puppy Whining?

You love your new puppy, and think he’s the best little cuddle buddy anyone’s ever had. But for some reason, he won’t stop whining! What is he so upset about?

There are a few reasons why your puppy might be whining so much, plus ways to get him to settle down and stop crying.

Attention

This is probably the number one reason why your puppy is crying.

Much like babies cry to get the attention of their parents, puppies whine to get you to pay attention to them. Does your puppy usually whine when you’re not interacting with him? He’s probably just trying to get you to pay attention to him.

That doesn’t mean you should do it though! We’ll get to that in a minute.

Boredom

If your puppy is whining or barking and you haven’t played with him in a while, he’s likely crying out of boredom.

If he’s bored, you’re likely to also hear a few long, suffering sighs. The solution to this, of course, is to play with your puppy, or give him a brain game to keep him busy!

Make sure to check out Dogpackr’s previous article about how to tire out a puppy for inspiration.

But only once he’s quiet. You don’t want to encourage the crying.

Bored puppies will often whine and cry for attention
Bored puppies will often whine and cry for attention

Stress

Just like humans cry when we’re stressed, your puppy will cry when he’s feeling these things too.

If your puppy is feeling some stress, you’ll notice other signs in addition to whining such as yawning, licking his lips, or hiding.

Anxiety

Much like stress, dogs will whine if they’re feeling anxious too.

Again, if your dog is whining because he’s feeling anxious, he’ll show other signs as well. If he’s pacing, yawning, or compulsively licking, these are other signs that he’s anxious about something.

If your puppy whines when he notices you getting ready to leave the house, it could be he struggles with separation anxiety.

This is a really common and challenging problem with many dogs. If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety, it’s important to address the problem right away. Desensitization and counter conditioning are the best ways to help your dog.

Excitement

It may seem strange, but plenty of dogs whine and cry when they’re excited. Maybe he cries when he sees you preparing his dinner. Or maybe when you come home from a long day of work, he greets you by jumping and whining.

This is entirely normal, and as long as it’s only happening when he’s excited, it’s nothing to worry about!

However, it is important not to encourage this behavior too much. If you reward your dog’s cries and jumping out of excitement, then he might start to think that that’s the best way to get your attention.

If your puppy often gets very excited, here are a few articles that might help you to get a calm pup:

Also make sure to get my free guide for a calm dog to get the step-by-step process that helped me change Baloo into a calm, charming pup.

Needs to Go Potty

Whining is a dog’s way of communicating. That’s especially true for puppies.

If your dog is whining, he’s trying to tell you something. It could be that he needs to go outside for a bathroom break.

If you still have a new puppy, he’ll need to go outside every two hours or so. Don’t just rely on your clock, though. Pay attention to your puppy’s cues—whining might be one of them!

Pain or Discomfort

Humans cry when they’re in pain, and so do dogs. If your dog is whining and it doesn’t seem like he’s just doing it for attention or to go outside, it could be that he’s hurt.

Again, whining is a way of communication.

Fun fact: did you know that dogs don’t cry tears if they’re sad or in pain? Dog tears are usually a sign for an infection.

If you think your dog is injured or sick, it’s best to take him to the vet to get him checked out. Your vet will be able to rule out any medical issues, and set you up with the resources and treatment he needs if he’s sick.

Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

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Loneliness

If your dog whines when you’re out of the room or he’s home alone, he’s probably lonely!

Unfortunately for him, it’s unreasonable and impossible to expect you to be able to stay with him all day. You have to go to work to earn the money that feeds him, as hard that is for him to understand!

It’s important to teach your dog how to be alone, or else his feelings of loneliness might turn into separation anxiety. The AKC has a great article about teaching dogs to spend time alone. Plus, Dogpackr has previous articles about crate training, which is a great tool for teaching your dog to be by himself.

Why Is My Puppy Whining and Crying in Specific Situations?

It’s common for puppies to always whine in the same kind of situations. Let’s look at what that could mean next.

Why Does My Puppy Whine So Much?

The reasons listed above are the most obvious reasons why your puppy is crying. But there is a root cause of the behavior.

Puppies whine a lot because they’re still figuring out how to communicate their desires and needs.

The same is true for human babies! Both puppies and babies whine and cry because that’s how they get food and love from their mothers.

Puppies whine so much because that's how they communicate
Puppies whine so much because that’s how they communicate

My Puppy Whines for No Reason

It may seem like your puppy is crying for no reason at all, but the reality is that there’s always a reason!

First, try and identify if it’s any of the reasons already listed. Attention, boredom, stress, or pain and discomfort are all very common reasons why your puppy is whining or crying.

But if you’ve played with him, fed him, let him out, you’re not going anywhere and he’s still crying, maybe there’s something you haven’t considered.

One possibility is that your little fellow misses his littermates. Puppies spend the first 9 weeks of their lives with the rest of their litter. When they come to you, hanging out with their littermates is all they know! It’s hard for them to be away from what they know.

Don’t worry, though. There are ways to help your puppy adjust to his new life. Here’s a video of what you should do with your puppy during the first 36 hours that will help him adjust to the new situation:

Another less obvious reason is that perhaps your puppy doesn’t know how to relax or settle down.

Going for walks can be really exciting, and it can be difficult for your puppy to settle afterwards.

You can help your dog by giving him something to chew on. Just make sure you give the chewy to him when he’s quiet, or he might learn than whining will get him special treats.

Why Is My Puppy Whining at Night?

If your new puppy is whining at night while you’re trying to sleep, he’s probably still adjusting to his new life. If you’re crating your puppy at night, he might feel anxious about not being close to you.

The best thing to do is to keep the crate close to your bed, at least at first. Your puppy will be able to see you, plus you’ll hear him if he starts getting really upset. While many people choose to let their puppy cry it out, you should make sure there isn’t something he needs.

Young puppies should go outside every couple of hours for a bathroom break, otherwise he might soil his crate.

If you’re struggling to get your new puppy to sleep through the night, check out Dogpackr’s previous article to find out how you can even train a young puppy to sleep through the night. We’ve also got another article showing you how you can get your puppy to sleep longer.

why is my puppy whining
Puppies often become vocal at night for a variety of different reasons. It’s important to no react immediately to the crying. However, you might have to take him outside and see if he’s fine otherwise

Why Does My Puppy Cry in His Sleep?

A dog’s sleep cycle is very much like our own. They have rapid eye movement phases, or REM, just like us! It’s during this REM phase that we and our puppies have dreams.

You can learn more about dog sleep in Dogpackr’s article about how many hours a day dogs should sleep.

If your puppy is crying in his sleep, he’s probably dreaming.

This is normal, and nothing to worry about! There are other signs that your dog might be dreaming too. Legs and paws moving and flexing, muscles twitching, eyes moving, and growling are all signs your dog is having a dream.

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Why Does My Puppy Whine While Playing?

If your puppy whines while you’re playing with him, he’s likely whining out of excitement! Crying might be the only way he knows right now to express his happiness.

If you’ve given him a toy he really likes, he might cry while he’s carrying it around. His instincts could be telling him to bury the toy somewhere. This is especially true for certain breeds who were bred as hunting or retrieving dogs. He might be crying as he thinks about where to hide his favorite toy. He’ll will likely settle down eventually.

Your dog might also whine as a way of getting you to play with him. This will be especially true if you’ve reinforced this, unintentionally or not.

If your dog whines and you reward this behavior by giving in and playing, he’ll learn that whining will get him what he wants.

Puppies often whine while playing out of sheer excitement

Why Is My Dog Whining All of a Sudden?

There are several reasons why your dog might be whining suddenly. Whining is a way of getting attention and communicating that your dog wants or needs something.

If your dog is suddenly whining a lot and you can’t figure out why, the best move is to take him to the vet. It could be that he’s hurt or feeling unwell, and you just can’t see why. However, give it some time to first see if it might be one of the other reasons listed above. In case your dog doesn’t stop for days on end, it’s time to see your vet.

Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

If the vet gives your dog the all-clear, then consider your dog’s day-to-day life.

Have there been any recent changes? Dogs are creatures of habit. If there have been any changes to his environment, that might be triggering some anxiety.

You can help your dog overcome this with the tried and true counter-conditioning and desensitization method. In more extreme or severe cases, you might need to bring in a doggy behavioralist.

Also, be sure to check out BrainTraining4Dogs (or Dogpackr’s review), which is a program designed to help every behavioral problem under the sun.

Field Dogs 300 x 600

How To Get a Puppy to Stop Whining

Alright, now that you understand about every reason your puppy could be whining and crying, let’s look at how you can make him stop.

Also make sure to get my free guide for a calm dog to find out how I got my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo to become a charming, calm pup!

Try to Figure Out the Reason for Your Puppy’s Whining and Crying

Of course, the first step to fixing any problem is to figure out the root of the issue. Is your puppy crying because he’s bored? Start playing with him more, or give him toys that require work, like Kong toys.

For more inspiration check out these 21 fun things to do with your dog at home.

Is he crying at night? He’s still getting used to sleeping in his new environment. Check out Dogpackr’s guide on crate training to help them sleep through the night.

Is your dog showing signs of pain and discomfort? He probably needs to go to the vet to get diagnosed and treated.

For Very Young Puppies: Provide Comfort

While you don’t want to encourage the idea that whining will get your dog what he wants, if he’s very young and distressed he’ll need some comfort.

You can check on him and make sure he’s alright. Let him out if he needs a potty break. And provide him with soft, comfortable and familiar things to help him settle.

Just make sure that you know the difference between your puppy crying because he’s genuinely needing comfort, and your puppy crying because he knows it’ll get your attention.

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Ignore the Whining and Reward Quiet Moments

The best way to get your puppy to stop whining is by ignoring him while he’s crying. It might be difficult, especially since those cries and his little eyes really pull the heartstrings. But giving in and giving him attention when he whines only rewards the behavior.

Instead, don’t acknowledge him at all while he’s crying. Wait until he’s quiet for a few seconds, and reward him for being quiet. This is called positive reinforcement, and it’s a great way to train dogs. It teaches your puppy that the quiet moments are what you like, and what will get him rewards.

If you want to go more in-depth with positive reinforcement and clicker training, I highly recommend getting Braintraining4dogs. At $47 this is an incredibly cheap dog training option for all the value you get. Make sure to check out Dogpackr’s review to see if this is something for you!

Genius Dog 300 x 600 - Animated

Give Him a Chewy or a Frozen Kong Toy

Chewing and licking releases endorphins in your dog. This gives your dog comfort and relaxes him.

When dogs are still puppies, their mother stimulates and cleans them by licking them. Your dog will carry this behavior with him for the rest of his life.

If your dog is whining, giving him a chewy or frozen Kong toy will help in several ways. It’ll distract him from whining, for one thing. For another, it’ll release those pleasurable and comforting endorphins.

Just remember the above tip, and don’t give your dog the treat while he’s whining! Wait for a quiet moment, and then let him get to work.

Related article: how to stop a dog from chewing on things

Give Him Timeouts in His Crate or a Quiet Room so He Can Calm Down

Your dog has a den instinct, which encourages him to seek small, comfortable spaces where he feels safe.

Many people choose not to crate train their dogs because they believe it to be unkind. But, as long as they’re used properly, crates are great tools for getting your dog to settle down.

If your dog is crate trained, putting him in his crate if he’s whining should help him settle down. He should think of his crate as a place that’s calm and peaceful. A little timeout in his crate or a quiet room if he’s whining too much will help him calm down.

Make sure to check out my crate training guide to make your dog love his crate!

A little time-out in his crate or a quiet room can help your puppy calm down

Wear Him Out Before Going to Bed

Whining at night could be a sign your dog has too much energy!

Make sure you’re giving your dog plenty of exercise during the day. Go for walks, play games, and don’t forget to tire him out mentally. Again, toys that require work and thinking, like Kong toys, are awesome for getting his brain going.

As long as he’s gotten enough activity during the day, he’ll go to sleep easily and shouldn’t keep you awake with his whining.

Don’t Make a Fuss When Taking Him Out at Night

Puppies won’t be able to hold their bladders all night, so you’ll have to take him out every few hours.

When you do, make sure not to get him too excited. Take him outside, let him do his business, and then bring him back inside right away.

Don’t talk to him too much, or he’ll get excited. Just put him right back to bed, and then get back into bed yourself.

Go See Your Vet to Make Sure He’s Healthy

If your dog or puppy is whining for what seems like no rhyme or reason, you might need to take him to the vet.

Dogs will whine if they feel uncomfortable, sick, or are in pain. If you can’t think of any reason why your dog is whining and it’s come on suddenly, he could be sick.

Your vet will check him out and make sure there’s nothing wrong. If it turns out he is hurt or sick, your vet will be able to treat him.

Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

If your vet says your puppy is fine, consider some of the less obvious reasons for crying mentioned earlier.

Have there been changes to his environment? Is he perhaps missing his litter mates? Is he struggling to settle himself down?

Puppies will grow out of most of these things, with a little help from you. Give him things that are comfortable and familiar to help soothe him, and remember to be patient.

Conclusion

There are almost endless reasons why your puppy is crying.

Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry too much about. It might be something he’ll grow out of in time, or something that requires a little training. The good news is, if your dog is still a puppy it’ll be much easier to train this behavior out of him.

If you’d like to train your puppy well right from the get-go, I highly recommend getting Braintraining4dogs. At $47 this is an incredibly cheap dog training option for all the value you get. Make sure to check out Dogpackr’s review to see if this is something for you!

The important thing is to make sure your puppy is healthy. If you think he might be sick or hurt, bring him to the vet to get him checked out. If he’s perfectly healthy and fine, you’ll have that peace of mind, and you can get to work on the real issues!

Struggling with your puppy's hyper behavior? I offer private 1:1 online coaching to help you with your puppy's behavioral problems (biting, crate training struggles, crying, barking, separation anxiety, daily schedule etc.). Schedule a free 15-minute video Zoom call to get started!

Please note that I'm not a professional dog trainer. Everything I know is from my own experience with my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo and hundreds of hours of research.

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