A german shepherd puppy crying at night is extremely common, especially in the first few days you have them. And there’s nothing worse than hearing them cry all night, knowing that it’s best not to comfort them.
If this sounds like you then keep reading to find out how to stop them crying through soothing them instead of punishment. As well as why it’s happening in the first place.
Why Is Your German Shepherd Puppy Crying At Night?
Before you learn how you can stop your pup crying at night it’s important to know why they are crying. And to know why they are crying it’s important to know about the two different types of crying, natural crying and learned crying.
Natural crying comes instinctively and it’s what puppies do when they’re afraid and scared. They do it to get the attention of their carers, the same way a human baby cries out for attention when they need something.
Learned crying is the bad kind of crying. It’s when your puppy realizes when he cries he will get some kind of positive response such as attention or a treat.
If your puppy has learned to cry then it’s even more important that you don’t reinforce the behavior but rather change it.
So what are the common reasons your german shepherd puppy may be crying at night?
Because They’re Scared Or Frightened
One reason that german shepherd puppies cry at night is that they’re frightened. This is most common in new puppies.
Think about it this way, they’ve been removed from the environment and home they know and placed into an area that is completely foreign to them. The den they grew up in (the only place they think it safe) is no longer there, and now they’re feeling extremely vulnerable.
Because they know they aren’t in their den anymore, they’ll begin to cry out for their parents to come and save them. However, their parents are never going to arrive so they end up crying throughout the night.
While in the wild this is paramount to their survival, they don’t realize that there’s no threat in your home and they’re already perfectly safe.
Because They’re Lonely
Another extremely common reason that your pup may be crying at night is that he’s lonely. They’ve spent the last couple of months with their brothers, sisters, and mother.
However, now they don’t have that anymore, and it’s no surprise they’re going to be lonely.
Just like babies, puppies are hungry all of the time. In the first few months of their life, their body is going to grow at an extraordinary rate. So it’s no wonder they’re going to get hungry in the night.
However, it’s still important that you don’t feed them throughout the night. The extra energy is only going to cause them to make them more hyper, which could ultimately end up in barking or crying anyway.
(Do you know how much a german shepherd puppy should eat?)
They Need To Go To The Toilet
Another extremely common reason behind a german shepherd puppy crying at night is that they need to go to the toilet.
A puppies bladder just isn’t big enough to go the whole night without having to go to the toilet. And in a lot of cases, the puppy will hold it in until they can’t anymore.
However, while holding it, they may end up whining and crying because of the discomfort. Once again, short of letting your dog out every few hours in the night (Which isn’t good for their routine), there’s not a lot you can do for this one.
Just make sure you leave an area for them that they can use as a toilet.
How To Stop A German Shepherd Puppy Crying At Night
As you can see there are many different reasons that your pup may be crying at night. Fortunately, there are also lots of solutions!
Here are a few of the ways you can stop your german shepherd puppy crying at night:
Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Exercise
If you don’t want your pup to cry through the night then one thing you can do is make sure you’re exercising them enough during the day. Your puppy should be taken out for 5 minutes for however many months old they are. For example, a 3-month-old puppy would be taken out for 15 minutes.
As well as taking them out for walks you should also make sure you’re playing with them as well. By making sure you’re doing both things you’re going to tire them out and hopefully help them sleep through the night.
(Here’s more about how much exercise a german shepherd puppy should get.)
Pre-emptively Let Them Outside
If you think that your puppy is crying through the night because they need to go to the toilet, then you may want to pre-emptively let them out.
This is good for two reasons. First of all, your puppy won’t be in discomfort and secondly, he’s not going to learn that crying gets him attention
However, as long as you’re setting up an area in your house they can use when you’re potty training them, this one isn’t essential.
Let Them Sleep In Your Room
When you first get your german shepherd home, they’re going to be in a strange and alien place. They’re going to be away from their litter and they’ll feel a lot safer near you.
While you should never let a new puppy sleep in your bed, it is okay to let them sleep in your room.
The trick is to slowly move them away from your room every night until you’ve moved them to the place you plan for them to sleep regularly.
So, the first night, you could place their bed or crate down next to yours. The second and third night you can edge it closer to your door. And then every day you just have to keep moving the bed a little bit more.
Leave Them With Lots Of Toys
If your pup is crying because they’re lonely then one thing you can try doing is entertaining them. By providing them with puzzles and toys you’re going to take their mind off their loneliness.
Some great toys to use are Kongs and Nylabones. However, any toy or bone will do. Bones will also help your german shepherd when they’re teething as well. (Find out more about german shepherd teething and the best toys you can give a teething puppy.)
Make Sure They’re Comfortable And Safe
Providing your pup with a comfy crate, blankets, snacks, stuffed animals, and a t-shirt that smells like you are all great ways of keeping your pup comfortable.
Although they’re not going to feel as comfortable as when they were in their den (the place they grew up in) you can still make them feel a level of safety.
Putting all these things in their crate as well as covering it in a blanket is a great way to make them feel comfortable and safe.
And if you do plan on putting stuffed animals in his crate, add one that’s a lot bigger than they are. This will help them feel like a big animal is going to keep them safe through the night.
(Here’s what to do when your german shepherd is crying in their crate.)
Use An Adaptil Diffuser
Some people have reported success using an Adaptil diffuser near their puppies crate. When you plug one in by your pup it releases the same pheromones as a nursing dog.
These pheromones help your german shepherd to feel like there’s an adult dog around that can take care of them. Because of this, they’re a lot less likely to end up crying through the night.
And the best part is you can pick them up quite cheap off Amazon!
Make Sure They’re Not Ill
If your puppies whining and crying sounds different than usual then you should check to make sure they’re not sick.
Sometimes your pup may be crying because they’re sick. Not because they’re lonely or sad.
So make sure you’re always looking for accompanying signs that something isn’t more serious when your german shepherd is crying.
Is There Anything You Should Avoid Doing?
Here are the things you should definitely avoid doing unless you want to cause more behavioral problems in your german shepherd pup.
Never Let Them Sleep In Your Bed
One of the worst things you can do with a new puppy is to let them sleep in your bed. When you do this you’re telling them that it’s also their bed as well.
While in the short term this will stop them crying at night, long term it can come with a whole bunch of behavioral problems that will need to be addressed.
So it’s best just to avoid doing it in the first place.
Don’t Comfort Them
Remember earlier when we talked about learned and natural crying. Well, the chances are if you start comforting your german shepherd every time they cry then they’re going to learn that you’ll give them attention.
This means it’s going to be a lot harder for you to stop them crying at night later on down the line.
Instead of comforting make sure they have everything they need to comfort themselves such as toys and a place they can feel safe.
If your puppy continues to cry for a long time, then go to them, don’t give them any positive reinforcement, say their name in a firm voice, before saying ‘no’ firmly.
Doing this lets them know that what they’re doing isn’t acceptable and that they need to stop.
Don’t Keep Moving The Place Where They Sleep
Another common mistake new german shepherd owners make is to keep moving where they’re placing their dog in the hopes it will stop them crying.
One day they’ll be downstairs, the next day they’ll let them sleep in their room and then somewhere else in the house.
When you do this your puppy isn’t going to feel safe. They’re just going to feel unsettled.
The only time you should move the place your german shepherd puppy sleeps is when you’re slowly teaching them to sleep on their own during their first few days. However, remember, even this should be done gradually, and not massive changes all at once.
Don’t Disturb Them While They’re Sleeping
When you put your dog down to bed make sure you don’t disturb them and keep waking them up. Obviously they need lots of sleep to grow, however, that’s not the only reason you shouldn’t do it.
When you disturb your puppy while he’s sleeping then he’s going begin to think it’s alright to stay awake at all hours of the night.
If you do wake your dog up in the night, or you want to stay up late, make sure that you’re not giving them lots of attention. Instead, try to get them to stay in their bed so they know it’s time to sleep.
Never Punish Them
If your puppy is crying through the night it’s extremely important that you don’t punish them for it. Remember, this is their natural behavior and they’re not doing anything wrong.
Unlike a child, you can’t tell them something and expect them to understand straight away.
You should never hit your dog, but also avoid using corrective collars as well. Corrective collars don’t have a very high success rate, and in some cases, the dog will associate the negative feeling with something they shouldn’t.
Don’t Shout At Them Either
When you shout at your dog they often don’t realize that you’re angry. They think you’re just barking. So in a lot of cases, you’re only going to excite them.
Remember, you never want to incite fear in your dog, but rather teach them through positive learning. It’s always better to reinforce positive behavior over trying to punish “bad” behavior.
When Should Your German Shepherd Puppy Stop Crying At Night?
The amount of time your puppy takes to be quiet in the night depends on the individual. Some of them are quick learners, while others take a little while to realize.
Either way it can range from a day to a couple of weeks, however, both ends of the spectrum are extremely rare.
Likewise in most cases, at some point in the night, your puppy will tire itself out and go to sleep instead of crying all night. However, there are times when your puppy will cry right through until the morning.
What’s The Best Way To Get A Puppy To Stop Crying At Night?
As you can see there are a lot of great methods you can use to get your puppy to stop crying at night. And luckily, in the case of new puppies, normally just leaving them to learn to comfort themselves is enough.
However, with new puppies, there’s normally a whole host of different behaviors that you’re going to have to teach them.
The best one I’ve found is Brain Training For Dogs. It’s a scientific-based approach to teaching your dog, and it’s a lot more positive than a lot of other training that is based on outdated training advice such as the pack behavior model.
(Read an in-depth review of Brain Training For Dogs.)
When your German shepherd puppy is crying at night it often makes you want to go down and comfort them. However, now that you’ve read this article you know that isn’t the best thing to do.
And here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know:
- There are two types of crying; natural crying and learned crying.
- Your german shepherd puppy may be crying at night because he’s frightened, lonely, hungry, or needs to go to the toilet.
- If your German shepherd puppy is crying at night you can help stop it by making sure they’re getting enough exercise, pre-emptively letting them outside (if they’re crying because they need to go to the toilet), letting them sleep in your room (for the first couple of nights), giving them lots of toys, making their sleeping area comfortable and safe, and using an Adaptil diffuser. It’s also a good idea to make sure they’re not sick.
- You should avoid letting them sleep in your bed, comforting them every time they cry, moving where they sleep, disturbing them when they’re sleeping and lastly, make sure you never punish them.
- It can take a day to a couple of weeks for your puppy to stop crying, however, the most common amount of time is 3 or 4 days.
- Brain Training For Dogs is the most effective way to teach your dog how to act appropriately, including how they should act at bedtime.
If you have any more questions make sure you leave them in the comments below, otherwise, have a great day!