You’ve just gotten a new puppy and you’re delighted to have a friendly, furry companion by your side – until the first night comes. Your pup won’t stop whimpering, whining, and crying, and both you and your new friend have a sleepless night. You’ve just moved, and your normally calm, well-adjusted dog begins whimpering and crying. Perhaps they start pawing at your door or howling unexpectedly. Maybe you’ve just gotten a new dog, and both your dogs howl and cry at each other in the evenings. Or perhaps you have an older dog who’s begun to whimper and cry in their sleep. Why do dogs do this? There are a variety of reasons your dog may whimper or cry at night, some more concerning than others. Let’s talk about why your dog might cry at night, and how to stop that behavior.

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Also have you ever awakened in the middle of the night to hear your dog crying like his or her heart is about to break? If so, you know that the sound can cut right to your heartstrings. Why is your furry little baby so upset? Was it something that you did? And how can you get him or her to stop, so that you can go back to sleep? As is the case with human babies, there are plenty of reasons why dogs cry at night.

The Root of the Behavior

All dogs’ cries are attempts to get their humans’ attention. Dogs who sleep alone at night and have a tendency to cry are often expressing concern about being separated from the rest of their pack. This is both normal and natural when a dog comes to a new home, particularly if the dog slept with humans or other dogs in his or her previous situation. If it continues, however, it may be a sign of separation anxiety. A dog with separation anxiety will cry not only when he or she is sleeping alone at night, but anytime he or she is apart from the human family.

Superstitions about Howling Dogs

A dog howl means the wind god has summoned death, and the spirits of the dead are being released; a howling dog in an otherwise silent night is the first warning of supernatural events; when you hear a dog howling it means bad luck for you or that someone you love will get sick or worse; a howling dog outside the house of a sick person means the person is going to die—especially if the dog was sent away and comes back to howl again.

Age-related dementia

As our dogs age, they sometimes develop cognitive problems. Confusion is very stressful to a dog, and often they will cry when they feel lost or afraid. Disorientation and dementia causes anxiety, which produces crying, whining, or even howling.

An invitation

Dogs howl to organize their pack. Howling helps the scouts locate the rest of the pack and return to them. In domestic dogs, howling may serve a similar purpose. If you’ve been gone all day, his howling hopes to bring you back home.

Setting boundaries

Dogs howl to set up boundaries. Letting potential predators or even just trespassers know they have entered a dog’s territory is cause for a good, long howl. Many dogs bark when someone comes to the door or drives up in the driveway, but others howl for the same reason. It’s a form of communication that warns trespassers away.

While there are many reasons your pooch might cry at night, you can often train them to be quiet and content with a little bit of patience and caring. Every dog is different, and each deserves their own special treatment. Pay attention to your dog’s needs, and both of you will be getting plenty of rest!