Puppy crying and whining – what is normal?

Puppy crying and whining – what is normal?

Education & Training

Dogs are fairly vocal animals that have a reasonable range of sounds at their disposal, and a lot of canine communication is vocal, as you probably already know. Crying is just one of the noises that dogs use to communicate with other dogs and people, and adult dogs cry and whine on occasion for various reasons, as do pups. Pups tend to cry more than adult dogs, and often, for different reasons.

If you’ve ever owned a puppy before, you will probably already know that they will often cry quite a lot during their first couple of days with you, as well as using cries and whines as a communication tool to get their needs met. However, it can be daunting for a first-time puppy owner when their new pet cries – particularly if the crying is frequent or prolonged – and so knowing how to tell why a pup is crying and how much crying is normal is important.

In this article, we will examine some of the most common reasons for a puppy crying or whining, and how to tell what is normal and when something might be wrong. Read on to learn more.

Separation during the first few days

As mentioned, pups tend to cry the most when they are first separated from their dam and littermates, and this is a very daunting time for your new pup; they have probably never left the home they were born in before, as well as having to face doing so without their familiar canine and human family around for reassurance.

It will take a few days for your pup to settle in and begin to bond with you, and during this time they might cry more than normal, so reassure your pup and ensure that you provide for all of their needs, whilst beginning to set rules and routines to help your new pup to feel secure.

Getting used to being alone

It is not only the absence of familiar faces that can cause crying, but also your pup getting used to being on their own for the first time. Most pups will always have had canine company before they are rehomed, and so being alone for the first time can be quite scary. If you have another dog, this can provide reassurance for the pup, but they will generally tend to adjust quite quickly to being able to spend short periods of time alone in short order.

Ensure that you’re not trying to leave your pup for too long at a time, and that they have things to entertain themselves with and draw reassurance from.

Sleeping and night time

Even after your pup has adjusted to spending time alone and getting comfortable with their own company, they may cry when you put them down for the night, or during the night. Much as is the case for human children, night time can present new challenges that may make your puppy feel worried, alone or uncomfortable, which can lead to crying for attention or reassurance.

Ensure that your pup’s bed is comfortable, warm enough during the night, and located in a good spot. If you begin by allowing your pup to sleep in your own bedroom, remember that this will make it harder for your pup to adjust to sleeping on their own later – but if you intend to allow your dog to sleep in your room anyway, this can help to put a stop to crying in the night.

Some pups will cry, pace and generally become restless at some point during the night, but they will usually settle down again within half an hour or so. Check if they need the toilet, but otherwise leave them alone if nothing is wrong.

Physical needs

A pup that is cold, hungry, needs the toilet or that otherwise has unmet physical needs will often cry to let you know this, regardless of the time of day. Ensure that you provide everything your pup needs and monitor their needs regularly.

Toilet training and crying

A pup that has begun toilet training (or that has already been toilet trained) may cry when they need to toilet, in order to let you know this and ask to be let out.

Failing to respond when your pup asks to go out to the toilet can lead to accidents and also put your toilet training back a step, as it breaks the reinforcement of the dog’s being allowed out when asking in order to do their business.

If your pup is crying because they need the toilet, don’t make them wait – let them out to do their business without delay.

Pain or discomfort

Finally, if your pup cries for protracted periods of time without an obvious reason, or if they cry frequently and insistently and you can’t work out why, you will need to consider the possibility that they might be in pain or sick, and are crying from discomfort.

If you have any concerns on this count or feel that your pup’s crying is not normal or cannot be attributed to another cause, ask your vet to book them in for a check up as soon as possible.



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