There’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as hearing your new puppy cry in their crate at night. You’ve done everything you can think of to make their nighttime home feel comfortable, and they’re still yelping away. Not only is it saddening, but it can also keep your household (and your neighbors) up at night.
Whether you’re a new or experienced dog owner, you need to be cruel to be kind when it comes to puppies. They have to learn to be okay sleeping by themselves so they don’t develop an unhealthy attachment to their owners. Finding the right ways to deal with their crying can be a tricky experiment, however.
We understand the importance of encouraging independence in a Chihuahua puppy. We also understand that Chihuahuas are notoriously noisy dogs, whether it’s crying at night or barking at the door, which is why we have come up with the ultimate guide to help your new puppy feel more comfortable in their new home.
Before we get into our top tips to stop your Chihuahua from crying in their crate, let’s look into why they cry in the first place.
Why Chihuahuas Cry
As we said, Chihuahuas are noisy dogs. They are naturally vocal and inquisitive little dogs, which often gives them their bad reputation of “yappy dogs”. They’re also fairly anxious dogs who communicate their anxieties through noise.
This noise is called a cry and sounds like a mixture of yelping, howling, whimpering, and general doggy noises.
It is very normal for a Chihuahua puppy to cry. After all, they have just been taken from their mother and siblings into a new environment. They have gone from one extreme to the other – from being surrounded by other puppies to all alone in a crate at night. It is undoubtedly going to be stressful for them until they figure out that they aren’t in danger.
Separation anxiety is the main reason why Chihuahuas cry. Chihuahuas are sociable and friendly dogs that like to spend time with humans and other dogs, which can lead to unhealthy attachment issues. Some adult Chihuahuas will continue to cry when their owners have left the house for a couple of hours, and this is due to separation anxiety.
Chihuahuas won’t just cry at night. They might whimper in the car, they might yelp when they need to go to the toilet, and they might cry with excitement when their owners arrive home. Like other small dogs such as pugs, most of the noises they make are completely normal!
However, a Chihuahua who cries regularly might be a sign of something more serious. They are big communicators through noise, so their cries could be a sign that they are in pain from an injury or health issue.
If you notice your dog physically crying tears, this could be a sign of eye allergies or blocked tear ducts.
Eye allergies are fairly common in dogs who like to spend time outside. They could easily get a grass seed in their eye, which will make their eye look slightly swollen, red, and watery. This can be treated with eye drops prescribed by a vet.
Likewise, if your dog’s eyes seem to water often, this could be a sign of blocked tear ducts that need to be dealt with by a vet.
Do Chihuahuas Actually Cry?
Chihuahuas, like all dogs, have tear ducts. So, yes, Chihuahuas actually cry! They just don’t cry in the same way as humans.
We know our tears fall from our tear ducts and down our faces. Chihuahua’s tears, however, go straight to their nasal cavity. This is totally normal, but it can often lead to blocked tear ducts.
They can also cry from something in their eye, which will result in a watery eye. So they don’t necessarily always physically cry tears from sadness.
Crates and Night Tears
There are a bunch of reasons why a Chihuahua might be crying in their crate. It’s normal for puppies to cry in their crate from separation anxiety, but the same can happen to adult dogs who sleep in the same bed or room as their owners. Rescue Chihuahuas might find crates too claustrophobic and frightening.
Your Chihuahua could also be crying because they are bored and want social interaction, or they might just want the toilet.
Throughout your time of caring for your little dog, you will begin to distinguish the difference between their cries. Each dog will make different noises for different reasons.
It doesn’t matter how big your crate is, because even the smallest of Chihuahuas might still feel claustrophobic in their new environment. They won’t understand that they are safe unless you follow the necessary steps to make their nighttime home more comfortable.
How To Stop your Chihuahua From Crying In Their Crate: Our Top Tips
A Chihuahua puppy will cry in its crate for either several nights or every night for a couple of weeks. It all depends on the dog and the steps you take to make their nighttime home feel safe.
You might want to cave in and let them sleep with you just so you can catch some sleep for once, but this can worsen the situation in the future. Puppies learn through repetition, after all.
It’s never nice to hear your dog cry in their crate, especially if they’re a puppy, so here are our top tips to stop them from constantly crying.
Make the crate cozy
The first thing you should do when you bring your puppy home is to make their crate look as comfortable and as appealing as possible.
It’s common for their previous owner to give you part of a blanket or a toy that smells like the dog’s mother for comfort, but you should ask for this regardless. If you put that blanket or toy amongst the blankets that smell like you, they will associate the crate with home and safety.
Once they begin to get used to your scent, you should put an item of clothing in the crate with them. Make sure that it’s a t-shirt or sweater that you don’t mind getting messy, because the dog might get a bit too comfortable with it. This is very helpful for teaching adult Chihuahuas to get used to being alone at night.
Consider the placement of the crate
Although you might want to keep the crate in a different room to block out the sound of their crying, this isn’t recommended for puppies. The crate needs to be associated with positivity, so it’s wise to keep the crate within eyesight of your room. Your puppy will still cry, but they will at least be able to see you.
This also means you can hear when they need to go to the toilet, which will help with their potty training.
Eventually, you can begin to move the crate into a different room. It won’t matter where the crate is if you train them well enough to be comfortable in their crate. This means the crate can be in the kitchen or even a car without them crying (in theory!).
Choose the right crate
Chihuahuas are very small, especially as puppies, but this doesn’t mean you should put them in a small crate. They need enough room to walk around without having to crouch, and they should be able to turn around completely.
A crate that is too small will make them feel trapped and claustrophobic, which will only heighten their anxieties and give them a negative association with their crate.
Take them to the toilet
As a Chihuahua puppy will cry when they want to pee or poop, you should make sure to take them out to do their business before you put them in their crate to sleep. Not only will this help with their puppy training, but it will tell you whether their crying was because they needed the toilet all along.
Puppies have small bladders, which means they will pee often. You can’t exactly wake up every hour to potty train them. Puppy training pads are a life-saver for puppies in crates at night, as they work like floor diapers. Sure, there will be a mess in the morning, but it will stop you from having to wake up constantly.
Differentiate their cries
Going on from the previous point, you should listen out to their cries to try and distinguish what they all mean. Over time, you will eventually understand why they are crying. Every Chihuahua will make different cries for different reasons.
You don’t want to leave your puppy crying in their crate because you’re trying to ignore them, when in reality they want to have a poop outside. No puppy wants to sleep in a crate that is covered in little piles of poop, after all.
The first few nights will be sleepless for you, as you should take your puppy out every few hours to keep them company and see if they need the toilet. If the puppy doesn’t pee or poop, then put them back in their crate without giving them any attention. They will eventually realize that they can only leave the crate if they need the toilet.
Tire them out
This sounds fairly obvious, but a tired puppy will want to sleep. If you have ever tried putting an alert and awake baby to sleep, you will know the importance of tiring them out. This means playing with them to the extent that they run out of energy.
Puppies are naturally very energetic, so this could take some time. However, the theory is that they will associate playtime with love and praise, which might help them feel more comfortable when they go to sleep.
Chihuahua puppies are very small, which means that they have much less energy than a larger puppy like a Labrador. You will only need to tire them out for around 20 to 30 minutes before they will naturally flop.
This is going to be the hardest step for you to take. You need to ignore your puppy’s whines and cries if you have tried steps 4 and 5.
It’s so tempting to take them out of the crate to give them reassuring cuddles. It’s also tempting to let them sleep in your own bed with you. However, this could do more harm than good in the long run.
Dogs learn by repetition, so if they are constantly around humans, they will develop unhealthy attachment issues. Taking them out of the crate every time they start crying will teach them that they can cry to get the attention they want. This reinforced behavior will only become harder to amend when they are older.
Think of the days and nights where you are out of the house. Whether you have a dog sitter or you have left them in a kennel, a dog with attachment issues will become severely stressed and scared without you there. You need to teach them to toughen up, so it’s cruel to be kind.
Don’t punish them
So, you’ve tried everything else and you’re starting to lose your temper. However tempting it may be, try not to shout or hit your puppy. They need a positive association with the crate, but punishing them will only make them more terrified of it. If anything, shouting will make them cry more.
Also, you should never punish your puppy or dog with physical aggression. No dog deserves to be hit. Instead, you can tap them slightly on the nose or stand over them to show your dominance. However, doing this at night when they are crying in their crate will only make them feel more trapped, and will begin to associate nighttime (and you) with fear.
So, there you have it! Our ultimate guide to stop your Chihuahua puppy from crying in their crate.
It’s really difficult to stick to these tricks if you are a new dog owner, but we promise that it’s in the best interest of both yourself and your dog.
Remember, dogs require consistency and repetition to learn!