Puppies sure are cute.
When the barking starts, it can cause questions to arise...
- Was this a good idea?
- What have we gotten ourselves into?
- Will my pup ever stop? I don't think I can take this!
- How do I stop my puppy from barking!?
My wife and I recently brought home a new puppy, and we decided to call her Violet.
Even though puppies barking and playing at the breeder's can be cute, it is not something that many want to bring home with them. Neither do we. Now, even though Violet is the quiet one out of the litter, we're not immune to barking. None the less, there's always the hope that the pup will be quiet.
At the time, we lived in an apartment complex, and with her being the quiet one, we thought to ourselves, "This is perfect! She won't bother the neighbors, and we will have peace and quiet!"
Then, it happened...
We loaded Violet up into her crate and left the Cornerstone Retrievers home base. About 1 minute went by before Violet started with her shrill puppy, whine.
It wasn't a big deal at first, but after about 5 minutes, our ears were ringing. Doubt began to creep in. I looked over at my wife, Abigail. I knew she was already questioning whether or not this was a good idea.
Even with what I know, I still had doubt try to creep in as well. The good news is, I have been through this many times and know exactly how to handle this problem.
I pushed the thoughts of doubt out and started with the solution!
The solution is simple, but at the same time, it may not be what you think...
After about 15 minutes in the car, Violet finally got quiet.
We arrived home, and throughout the next couple of weeks, we set up a puppy playpen, and we also put Violet's dog crate in my office.
When we put Violet in the playpen for the first time, she began whining and excessively barking. Our initial instinct was to pick Violet up or to tell her, "NO!" But, we didn't do this.
We totally ignored Violet. We didn't even acknowledge her. She continued to bark, but after about fifteen minutes, she became quiet.
She kept calm throughout dinner. After dinner, we began to clean the dishes. She started to bark and whine again, and we continued to ignore her. After another 10-12 minutes, she got quiet again.
When she got quiet, we took her outside and let her potty. She went right away, and then we had a blast playing with her for a few minutes. We came back inside and then, put her in her playpen again. This time she only barked for around 8-10 minutes.
I'm sure by now; you are starting to see the pattern. Each time, we ignore Violet's barking, she barks less and less.
When you understand dog behavior, you can better train your dog. This decision is based on the learning theory principle of extinction. Simply put, certain events/things can trigger a reaction from your pup (like barking or whining). When we put Violet in the crate and playpen, she didn't want to be put up. Therefore, she whined in hopes that we would get her out.
The key here is what happens next...
We completely ignored her which causes her to neither receive a reward or punishment for the whining. (Then, over a period of time, her barking faded away until it eventually became extinct).
Crate training a puppy at night for the first couple of nights is rough. Our puppy barked all night off and on, and we didn't get as much sleep. When crate training, a puppy crying is inevitable.
We were grumpy and exhausted. Can you relate? This scenario can have you asking, "How do I end the puppy barking in the crate?"
Great news: After a couple of nights, she stopped barking in her crate all night. She started sleeping better. We started sleeping better. This was a huge relief! You can make it through this too.
It took about two weeks of crate training for our puppy to mostly stop barking in her crate.
I understand that you want your puppy to be quiet and peaceful because I also want a quiet dog. When your dog is enjoyable to be around, your friends and family (and neighbors) can love your dog as much as you do.
1. Establish a consistent routine and schedule for your pup that fits with your schedule.
- Try to feed and water your pup at the same time every day.
- Try to put the puppy to bed at the same time every night.
- Limit water intake so that it will sleep through the night. (We don't give Violet any water past 8 pm).
2. When your pup barks, don't acknowledge it. Reward when your puppy is quiet.
- If your pup is in the playpen and can see you, feel free to do anything you would typically do. However, act like your pup doesn't even exist until it stops barking.
- When the pup gets quiet, let it settle down a bit before acknowledging and rewarding its good behavior. Rewarding your dog for being quiet will benefit you for a very long time.
- Get a good set of earplugs ;) That's not a joke either lol.
3. A sleepy pup is a quiet pup.
- Try to keep your pup active often and especially before bed.
- Before you put your pup straight into the crate, put it in the playpen, and let it get sleepy.
- Once your pup is so sleepy that it can't keep its eyes open, go ahead and put it in the crate. (This will help it sleep through the night).
Lastly, I do want to leave you with one word of caution...
It will be tempting to give in to your pup's whining, but that is not an option. Stay committed to the process.
- Give it some time, and you will be amazed at how quickly it works.
- Don't give up... Because, trust me, it will be extremely tempting when they are whining like crazy!
- If you hang in there, your puppy will be a joy to have in the house.
Every puppy is different. Some will pick up on it faster, and others take longer.
If you don't follow this plan, your dog will continue to train you to do what it wants when it barks and whines. You will have a dog that continues to wake you up and night and bothers your neighbor.
You can have a dog who is peaceful in your home. In about 2 weeks, you can have your puppy happy in the crate without barking and crying at all hours of the night (and day). When you do, you will be so glad you persevered. Your friends, family, and neighbors will be really glad too.
P.S. What other problems may arise with your new puppy? We have a page for you here. Check out the answers to all of the puppy training questions.