How To Stop A Puppy From Crying When Left Alone?

When you bring a new puppy home, the first few nights are going to be difficult, as your new pup has to learn to adjust to his new family and an unfamiliar environment. 

Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to stop a puppy from crying when left alone, so that you can feel more relaxed and avoid encouraging unwanted behaviors and separation anxiety.

  • How To Stop A Puppy From Crying When Left Alone at home
  • Why does a new puppy cry?
  • What is separation anxiety & how can you avoid it?
  • The importance of setting a daily routine
  • More tips to stop a puppy crying when left alone

It is perfectly normal for a new puppy to cry, especially when left alone. When you leave the house for the first few times, your puppy is guaranteed to cry. 

This is because they have not yet had any or enough experience of you leaving but also coming back. Your new puppy cries, therefore, to call you back. 

This is natural survival behavior for a puppy and is your new pup sending out an alert that he has been left alone. He is saying – Please don’t forget about me! 

In the wild baby, animals would need to ensure that they are not abandoned so that they have a chance to survive.

Abandonment evokes intense anxiety in a puppy and triggers their survival instinct. This is why they have a strong primal urge to cry out when you leave them alone.

brown lab puppy

What Is Separation Anxiety & How Can You Avoid It?

If a puppy does not learn that they are safe being left alone because you will always and consistently return, then as they get older, they can develop a condition called separation anxiety. 

This is a condition in which the dog displays and expresses severe distress and related behavioral problems when left alone, even for a short time or the anticipation of being left.

This cannot be very easy for a dog owner to deal with, both methodically and emotionally. Nobody wants to think of a pet that they love being in distress while they are away. 

Stress is often increased by the fact that the dog is either harming himself, his environment, or causing problems with your neighbors. 

Therefore it is imperative to work hard at the beginning with your new puppy to try to avoid separation anxiety later on.

How To Stop A Puppy From Crying When Left Alone at home

Avoiding or treating separation anxiety, later on, can be a bit of a minefield as the main action is to get to the root cause of the stress. 

It could be that the dog is bored, restless, and has not been given the right amount of exercise or mental stimulation to help him settle down on his own. 

Or it could be more deeply rooted in some fear that was triggered by an experience earlier on in his life.

The only thing you can do to try and avoid separation anxiety, later on, is to work hard on teaching your puppy to be comfortable spending time alone. 

You can do this by not molly-cuddling your pup, and being careful not to respond to your puppy’s attempts to get your attention when they don’t need it. Keep reading for more tips and tricks.

crescent moon eyes

The Importance Of Setting A Daily Routine

Puppies are just like small children. They need a solid routine and structure in their lives to feel safe and secure. When a puppy knows what to expect from you, then they will be more able to relax and go with the flow.

A well-structured day and a consistent routine is a powerful tool in the training process of your new puppy. 

There are so many benefits, from making toilet training more natural and more predictable to ensuring that your puppy gets the rest he needs.

A well-structured day and a consistent routine is a powerful tool in the training process of your new puppy. 

There are so many benefits, from making toilet training more natural and more predictable to ensuring that your puppy gets the rest he needs.

Puppies that are left to their own devices for more extended periods will cause mischief and develop unwanted behaviors

Some of these behaviors will include crying out for your attention. This can get annoying when they learn to cry every time your focus is not on them. Puppies are excellent human trainers!

When you establish a good routine for you and your pup, they will learn to expect attention at certain times, and they will learn to entertain themselves in the times in between, especially if you become an expert in ignoring any whining. 

The only whining that should be acknowledged is if they are trying to alert you that they need to go to the toilet. 

But if you are on the ball with your puppy’s schedule, then you should beat them to it. 

No need for whining if they have already been given ample opportunity to pee, poop, play, eat, cuddle and sleep, which is essentially all that puppies do.

More Tips To Stop A Puppy Crying When Left Alone

If you are experiencing crying with a new pup and you are not sure what to do about it, here are some useful tips to help cover all the bases.

  • Ensure your puppy is adequately exercised – A tired puppy is not a whining puppy. You may not be able to walk your puppy for very long when they are young (the recommended time is 5 minutes per month of age), but there are plenty of other ways to make sure that your pup is pooped when it comes to nap time.

    Playing games in the garden or living room is a great way to tire your puppy out, but if you want to take it to the next level, you need to add some form of mental exercise.

    This may take the form of basic puppy training, which includes short sessions for short attention spans to teach basic commands and tricks such as sit, stay, come, roll over, etc.
  • Provide food puzzle toys – Another great form of mental stimulation that will not only occupy your new pup but also tire them out so that they will sleep well, is a puzzle toy, especially ones that dispense treats!

    In fact, why not invest in a treats dispenser ball and feed your puppy his main meals by filling it with their kibble? Meals times last longer and become multi-functional. You will also be better able to manage your puppy’s weight by not overfeeding treats.
  • Leave the TV or Radio on – Sometimes, a little background noise can make all the difference to your puppy when they have to be left alone. The sound of gentle music or deep conversation can help to soothe your puppy so that they remain sleepy, relaxed, and happy in their own company.

    It is a good idea to practice alone time several times a day, even when you are not leaving the house thoroughly. You can leave your puppy alone in a quiet room with their bed, crate, or puppy pen, and a tasty chew to prevent boredom if they are not quite ready to sleep.
  • Desensitize your “leaving” - This is a nifty trick that will ensure that the likelihood of your puppy developing separation anxiety will be kept to a minimum.

    The idea is to “fake leave” several times by leaving the room, coming back in, walking down the hall, coming back in, leaving the house, coming back in, walking down the drive, and waiting for five minutes before returning… etc. all without paying any attention to your puppy.

    The more your puppy gets used to you leaving and returning shortly, the less likely they are to cry immediately when you leave them alone. This then gives you more opportunities to reward their good behavior, and they will be less likely to worry that you won’t return.
  • Leaving shouldn’t be a big deal – I don’t know how many people make a big fuss of leaving, saying goodbye and telling their dogs that they won’t belong! None of this is necessary.

    All it does is create more anxiety around the action of leaving. This is because you are providing a tonne of warning signals that you are going, but then contradicting the fact that you are leaving the dog behind by supplying your dog with all of your attention before you leave.

    The best way to leave is by not paying your dog any attention at all, and therefore signaling that your leaving has nothing to do with him, he’s not coming with you after all, so why get his hopes up?
  • Get someone to pop in on your puppy – If you know that you will be gone for longer than a few hours it is a good idea to either get a neighbor, friend or member of the family to pop in halfway through so that the time is broken up for your pup.

    Even a 15 to 20-minute visit can make all the difference. It will be enough to provide your dog with some activity and a toilet break so that they can settle back down for the rest of the time before your return. You can even hire puppy sitters or dog walkers who provide a short puppy pop in service.

Summary

A puppy’s cry is their most powerful tool, and it often feels as if it has been designed to pull on your heartstrings. This isn’t far from the truth. 

But the more effort you put into not giving in to your puppy’s cries, unless they are warranted, the more stable a temperament your dog will develop as they get older. 

This is not only good news for you and anyone else who has to look after your dog, but it is also great news for your dog because they won’t have to suffer. I hope we were able to address your question on how to stop a puppy from crying when left alone at home.

how to stop a puppy from crying when left alone
(Last Updated On: March 19, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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