It’s 3am and your puppy is whining. He is in his crate and for the last 5 hours he has been making a racket that you’re sure is waking the neighbors. You can’t sleep, he isn’t sleeping and you both have a big day ahead of you tomorrow, so what do you do? Do you let him out or ride out the night? When you’re sleep deprived, it’s easy to make bad decisions. Sometimes, it’s helpful to remember why you don’t want to give in to your puppy’s whining and let him out of his crate before you make what could be the worst decision you’ve ever made.

Puppies Need Supervision

The main point of using a crate is so that you can sleep and know that your puppy is contained and safe. Likewise, your furniture, shoes and carpets will also be safe. An unsupervised puppy is a dangerous puppy. When you wake up the next morning, you are guaranteed to regret your decision to let the puppy out of the crate as you piece together your shoes before heading to work.

It may seem tempting to just lock your puppy in your room with you, but there are things in there that he can get into as well. Look around your bedroom and you’ll probably see shoes, bedding, pillows, clothing and maybe books or computers. All of these items look like chew toys to a young dog. It’s better to keep him out of temptation’s way than to risk it and see what happens.

If your dog has a bad chewing habit, use chew proof wooden dog crates or wire crates to curb his habit and protect your sanity. There’s nothing worse than being kept up all night by the sound of your puppy chewing on his crate and eventually breaking through.

Wire dog crate (left) Wire dog crate with a crate cover (right)

Potty Training

Another obvious reason you use a crate at night is to housebreak your puppy. Crate training teaches your dog when he can go out and when he needs to control his bladder. Letting him out of the crate in the middle of the night is a signal to eliminate. You can expect that to happen on your carpets, your clothing or anywhere that your new puppy sees fit. Avoid the mess, the smell and the cleanup by staying strong even when the whining becomes nearly unbearable.

\If your dog has a tendency to throw temper tantrums in his crate and start chew up or destroy his bedding or toys when he needs to go out, you may want to look into indestructible dog beds. Indestructible dog beds are a great defense against puppy tempers and the chaos that they can cause.

As mentioned in our last post on this topic, one technique that many pet owners swear by is the use of a crate cover to calm your pet and help you both get a good night's sleep. Before you run out and buy one, you may want to see if covering your dog crate works for you. To try it out, start by throwing a large blanket or sheet over the crate when you want your dog to relax and calm down. Limiting your dog's visibility and darkening the crate can help your dog relax, calm down and go to sleep. If covering the crate works, there are a variety of crate covers which are designed to fit the average sized crate, some of which dress up the crate and come in fabrics and prints that help the crate blend into to your other existing home decor.

Whatever you do, don’t give in to your puppy’s whining to get out of his crate. It may seem like the easy and obvious choice when you’re tired at 3am, but in the long run, it will be the worse decision and will set back your effort to crate train the little pooch. You must train your puppy when he’s young or he will never be properly trained. Stay strong and remind yourself that this time will quickly pass and your dog will soon have a great relationship with his crate.