5 Tricks to Help Stop a Puppy from Whining

In a haze of excitement, you bring your puppy home to meet the family. It’s all laughter and cuddles.

Now, however, it’s 2 am and you’re still listening to whimpers, whines, and howls coming from your puppy. He just keeps crying no matter what you do!

The truth is, whining, crying, whimpering and howling is a natural puppy behavior.

Your puppy is a natural born pack animal – he is crying out for his mother and litter mates to come and find him.

This type of whining should stop within the first couple nights of being home.

If your pup continues to whine then he may have caught on that you pay attention to him when he cries. This is a behavioral problem that can easily develop in young puppies so it is essential you do your best to prevent it.

Here are five ways you can go about teaching your pup to stop whining.

1. A Ticking Clock or Soft Radio Overnight May Help

Soothe your puppy when sleeping alone by having a soft ticking clock wrapped up in a cloth in their bed.  This can replicate the sound of another dog’s heartbeat, comforting your puppy as though he were back with his litter.

A radio on a low volume playing soft music may be helpful as well. I’m not exactly sure why it works, but it’s probably similar to why some people prefer to fall asleep with the TV or radio on.

2. Leave a Piece of Your Clothing in the Pups Bed

Once your pup has gotten to know you, they will be familiar with your scent which should be a comfort to them.

Having an article of your clothing in their bed can help ease separation anxiety.

Never allow your puppy to sleep in your bed, even for one night. That is unless that is where you want him to sleep for the next 12+ years of his life! If you let your puppy sleep in your room he should have a bed that is all his own.

If you are crate training then consider putting the crate in your room for the first couple of nights only.

*You will probably have to take your puppy out at least once overnight! They are little, therefore have little bladders and cannot hold it all night long.

If your puppy has been quiet for the last few hours and suddenly started crying he may need to go out!

3. Practice Leaving the Room

This is an approach you can take day or night. All you need to do is simply choose a room (a puppy-proofed room!) and go in with your puppy. Pet him for a few minutes to get him comfortable and then leave the room.

If your puppy starts whining wait to see if it stops after a minute or two. If it stops then go inside and praise your puppy! You want him to realize that when he’s quiet you will be affectionate.

Practise this, and he will know you are not abandoning him. Do this repeatedly, staying gone for longer and longer each time. It is very important that you only ever enter the room when your puppy is quiet.

Take him outside to see if he has to potty – then resume this practice at a later time. This method may take a lot of patience but in the end, it is well worth the wait.

4. Has There Been Enough Play, Walks, and Mental Stimulation?

In some cases, your pup might be attention-starved.

All dogs need physical and mental stimulation, and in pups, short bursts (15 minutes) of play throughout the day can tire them out.

Less whining and more sleeping is the goal.

If your puppy is continuously whining then consider adding more exercise each  day. If possible, add an hour or two of straight play time throughout the day – preferably closer to the end of the day – to tire your pup out.

If a long day of play and walks doesn’t keep your puppy from crying then at least you’ve ruled out pent-up energy.

At this point, it’s fair to say your pup is whimpering only to get your attention – and this is a behavior you cannot let continue.

5. The Last Resort: Silent Treatment

If all else fails and you are sure your pup is whining only for attention, the best thing you can do is “silent treatment”.

  • Do not acknowledge your pup at all when he is crying.
  • Do not make eye contact.
  • Don’t say anything.
  • Don’t even growl at them.
As soon as your pup has been quiet for a few minutes reward him. This will teach him that being quiet gets him treats and attention. It may take a little longer in more stubborn breeds – but it will work 100%.

You should know that all puppies, like babies, are going to cry from time to time – so make sure you’re not punishing your puppy unnecessarily.

If you suspect your puppy is injured or sick and that may be the cause of the whimpering then contact a vet immediately.

Preventing Separation Anxiety

If you give your pup attention every time they make a whimper, they never learn to be on their own.

This will develop into separation anxiety which is difficult for the dog and you as the owner. Remember: separation anxiety is far more common when there is only a single adult in the home – so be persistent!