if my puppy cries, should i pick them up?
my puppy is crying. what do i do? should i pick them up?
It’s a good question. At Paws in Work we’re always aware of the needs of the puppies who come with us to our events and understanding what’s going on when they whimper or cry is important to helping them develop.
why do puppies cry?
Crying is the earliest form of communication that your puppy learns, and you should always respond when there is a genuine reason for the crying. Is your puppy hungry or thirsty? Do they need the toilet? You should never leave a puppy to cry when they are in need of the basics, or this can cause difficulties with training later.
Your puppy may cry when they are left alone, perhaps if you’re elsewhere in the home or asleep. This is where it can be tough not to give in to their little whimpering voices and go and comfort them, as doing so can lead to them crying for attention in future. The Labrador Site mention the two types of crying in puppies, namely learned crying and natural crying. Natural crying is what happens when the puppy is frightened or otherwise distressed, and learned crying is what comes when the puppy starts to associate crying with receiving attention or treats.
how do i stop my puppy crying?
Once you understand why they are crying, you can decide how to approach it.
Make sure they’re comfortable and warm and have their things around them. If they continue to cry for a long time, then there may well be something you need to help them with. If you do go and check, limit your time with them. Check if they need the toilet or if they are hurt, then settle your puppy again and leave. If they start up again, as hard as it may seem, leave them alone. You could try things like allowing your puppy to sleep closer to you at first so they can hear you and feel less alone. You can then gradually move their bed towards its permanent spot as they get used to this.
Crate training can also help. This is where a puppy is gradually introduced to a puppy crate, which they will soon associate with being comfortable and safe. Make a crate inviting for them, with a comfy blanket and a familiar toy in there to encourage your pup to give it a try. Pop the crate somewhere quiet and out of the way so your puppy can feel secure in their special place. Crate training can reassure them very well, and it’s something we employ at Paws in Work.
When travelling in puppy crates to Paws in Work events, we ensure that all of the pups are settled, comfortable and having a positive experience on their first journeys...the majority just snooze the trip away! Any pups that may whimper during travel are kept at ease by our team, who are always on hand to offer them a settling stroke. Paws in Work vehicles are modified so that the team are sat next to the crates to offer reassurance whenever it’s needed during travel.
Gradually build up the length of time they are alone. This way your little friend will adjust easier to being alone. Being alone or having to sleep alone at night can be trigger points for crying, but if you give them the right atmosphere, they can learn that it’s not so scary. This may result in some periods of crying, but they will tire of it after a while. Crate training can give them the reassurance of personal space and help them to adjust gently.
Paws in Work staff make sure we always follow the cues of the pups we bring to play at our events, and if one of our pups needs something, that’s absolutely our priority. Their socialisation and well-being are the heart of our work, and while the strings of that heart may be tugged at by crying, you can soon learn to completely understand your canine pal’s needs.