Golden Retrievers are notorious for separation anxiety. This is why crate training is a very critical part of raising this breed. But if you have a Golden Retriever puppy crying in crate, training will prove challenging. You need to learn how to approach this problem, so your puppy will calm down and won’t use it to get your attention.
I’ve had many dogs since my childhood, but Golden Retrievers really hit the spot for me. However, one of the biggest challenges of raising this breed is its clingy attitude. They get whiny when you leave them inside the crate, especially at the puppy stage.
If you’re also dealing with the same problem, my tips below might be a big help.
Why do Golden Retriever puppies cry inside the crate?
Like babies, puppies can get scared easily. This will lead to whining and crying, even if they are in the safety of their crate. If you’re wondering why it happens, the following are the most common reasons:
1. Your puppy is lonely.
The most common reason behind the whining and crying inside the crate is that your puppy is lonely. This happens a lot at night, which will also affect your quality of sleep.
You have to understand that being alone is new to your puppy. Imagine being taken away from your litter and placed inside a crate alone. Crying is your pup’s way of calling its pack, so it’s a natural reaction.
2. Your puppy needs to potty.
If your Golden Retriever pup is fully crate-trained, the crying might stem from its need to potty. Your puppy badly needs to go, so you should take crying as a signal for you to let the doggo out.
Remember that puppies can only hold their bladders for short periods. For example, a two-month-old pup can only hold its pee for two hours. With this, you need to take your pup out for a potty trip.
It’s very important to schedule potty trips with your dog. If your pup is less than 8 months old, you need to make the sacrifice of bringing them out in the middle of the night.
3. Your puppy is sick.
A sick pup is a whiny pup. If your puppy’s crying is accompanied by unusual behavior, you should bring it to the vet’s clinic for proper examination. Your pet might be hurt or ailing, which requires immediate veterinary attention.
4. Your puppy is hungry.
Puppies need small yet frequent food servings throughout the day. If your pup cries inside the crate even after going for a potty trip, it might be hungry already.
5. Your puppy wants attention.
Golden Retrievers are companion dogs, so they will do everything to get your attention. Your pup will cry, bark, and whine until you give approach them.
How to stop a Golden Retriever puppy crying in crate
1. Don’t give in to the crying
The instinct of many pet owners is to help theme crying puppies. However, giving your dog attention after crying just reinforces the behavior. Over time, your puppy will keep crying inside the crate because he knows that it gets him what he wants.
You should avoid giving inadvertent attention to your puppy whenever it cries inside the crate. Remember, you’re teaching your pup to be calm and quiet. Instead of running to get your puppy from the crate, you should offer comfort through the succeeding tips.
2. Choose the right crate size.
The right crate size for puppies shouldn’t have excessive space. It should only be big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down, and turn.
The goal of this cramped space is to mimic the natural habitat of dogs in the wild. Wild canines seek small spaces to evade predators. This is why puppies find comfort whenever they are placed inside the crate. Still, it requires training for domesticated pets.
3. Perform proper crate training
Crate training is a long process, so you should stretch your patience. Golden Retrievers are smart canines, but Goldie puppies can have stubborn streaks from time to time.
Start the training by introducing the crate to your dog. Swing the door open and let the little Golden Retriever sniff and explore. Never shut the door on your dog’s back because this will trigger mistrust and fear.
Take it slowly and allow your pup to acclimate to the crate. Feeding your pup and placing its toy inside the crate will help the dog associate the containment with something positive.
4. Schedule multiple potty breaks
As mentioned earlier, puppies need to potty more frequently than adult Golden Retrievers. You should provide your pet plenty of potty breaks throughout the day so that it won’t cry inside the crate. This also means you have to take them out in the middle of the night.
Also, by getting your pup used to a potty schedule, it won’t have accidents inside the house. For Golden Retriever puppies, there’s no such thing as too many potty trips.
5. Drain your puppy’s excess energy
Crying at night is common among puppies, not just for the Golden Retriever breed. One of the main reasons here is that the dog isn’t really tired. This happens because you failed to provide enough physical and mental stimulation during the daytime. Also, your dog probably slept the entire day, giving them the energy to whine and cry in the middle of the night.
You should schedule playtime sessions with your Golden Retriever pup to drain its excess energy. A 10-minute playtime done multiple times a day is a good start. You can also take your pup on a short walk around the neighborhood just before bedtime.
If you can’t go out, you can play fetch with your Goldie inside the house. You can also give your pet a bouncy rubber toy to keep him moving.
Tiring your dog will ensure that it will be sound asleep at night. Just make sure that your pup is properly fed, so there’s no reason to wake up and cry in the middle of the night.
6. Choose the right crate location.
The crate placement is also important if you want to keep your pup calm and quiet inside. I suggest placing the crate in a common area, like your bedroom.
Think of your Golden Retriever pup like it’s a baby. Parents don’t leave their newborns in their room in the first few weeks. Instead, they place the crib beside their bed. Slowly, the parents will start to build the baby’s independence by moving the crate far from the bed. When the baby is older, they will transfer him to the nursery room. This process is the same when you’re crate training a puppy.
One thing you should never do is letting your puppy sleep in your bed. Golden Retrievers are large dogs, and you wouldn’t want them to get used to this sleeping arrangement once they’re older.
7. Use a calming spray for dogs.
For anxious puppies, a calming spray will be a big help. I used to have these when my Goldies first arrived in our home. It mimics the pheromones of a nursing mother dog, which is very comforting for puppies. This isn’t a magic potion, but it helps to some extent.
Also, calming sprays work for some dogs but not for others. There’s no harm in trying to see if your Golden Retriever will calm down.
Another trick that works in calming puppies is putting your used shirt inside their crate. Your smell will give a sense of security to your dog because he feels like you’re just around.
8. Limit distractions
Lastly, remove any possible distractions that will keep your puppy awake at night. Hide toys, treats, water, food, and playpen during bedtime.
Also, NEVER put food and water inside the crate. While your pup needs to eat frequently, leaving them with food inside the crate is guaranteed to make a huge mess. It will also increase your pup’s need to go potty in the middle of the night, which is, again, a cause of crying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best age to start crate training a puppy?
A: Golden Retriever puppies are ready for crate training for as early as 8 weeks old. Just make sure that the pup has been fully weaned from its mother before you start the training. Starting early will make it easier for you compared to teaching an older pup.
Q: How long will a Golden Retriever puppy cry in crate at night?
A: Puppies can cry all night long inside their crates. This can be annoying, so you should brush up with training while performing the tips I listed above. You should also point out the reason why your puppy keeps on crying inside the crate despite rigorous training.
Q: Is it good to let my Golden Retriever puppy sleep on the crate on the first night?
A: On the first nights of your puppy, you should let it sleep inside a dog crate right next to your bed. This will help your puppy adjust to its new home while preventing crying and whining at night. However, you should start training your pup to sleep without you in the succeeding weeks.
Q: Should I cover my puppy’s crate with a blanket?
A: Draping a blanket or towel all over your puppy’s crate can help the dog relax. However, some pups would cry even more as they can’t see the surroundings. It’s best to observe how your dog will react to it.
Q: Should I leave my puppy’s crate door open?
A: If you’re not going to get up in the middle of the night to let your puppy go potty, you should leave the door open. You can also set up a potty patch inside your home, so your pup can eliminate without making a mess.
A Golden Retriever puppy crying in crate is often a scared pup. Some are just seeking attention or in need to potty. The key here is understanding why your puppy is exhibiting the behavior so that you can take the right approach. Just remember that punishment and violence have no place in training a dog. You should be patient until your dog learns to be independent.