How to End Nighttime Separation Anxiety in a New Puppy

Here’s how to soothe a whining puppy who you’ve just introduced into your home for the first time.

Puppies can have what seems to be severe separation anxiety, especially at night. By: latteda

Puppies often have nighttime stress when they leave their mother and litter mates to go to their new home.

This separation anxiety can drive you bonkers — especially at night. The dog will usually whine, yelp and bark.

It’s Most Likely Temporary

In young puppies just coming to your home for the first time, this anxiety probably is a temporary situation that will work itself out over time. The puppy is missing his mother and siblings.

Remember, he has never been alone before and is probably scared and lonely when it’s dark. Puppies sleep all together nestled against their parent, so being all by himself for the first time is stressful.

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What to Do About It

  • At least at first, allow the puppy to sleep in your bedroom. But don’t let an anxious puppy sleep in your bed unless you plan to allow this all his life. Dogs are creatures of habit — if you permit a behavior once, he will think it is always acceptable.
  • Small playpens or comfortable crates are inexpensive and convenient ways to keep the puppy close to you without actually letting him sleep in your bed.
  • Place the bedding area next to your own bed. Combined with your voice and gentle petting, this will reassure him that he is all right.

What else does it mean when the puppy is crying during the night? Often it’s a sign that the little one needs to go to the bathroom. Get up immediately and bring him to his potty area. Once he goes, praise him and bring him back to his bed.

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Crates keep your puppy nearby during the night — but off your bed. By: annethelibrarian

Nonstop Whining

If your puppy just won’t stop crying at night, try 1 or both of these quick tricks:

  1. Wrap a hot water bottle in a soft blanket and place it in the bed area. The bottle will make him feel cozy and mimic the warmth of his mom and litter mates.
  2. Wind up an old-fashioned clock that ticks loudly and place it just outside the pup’s space. His mother’s heartbeat would have been the sound he’s known his entire life, so the clock will simulate it.

Separation anxiety, whether at night or during the day, can be managed easily enough. It will get better. Remember to be gentle and understanding, because your puppy’s long, exciting life has just begun.

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