Just like human babies, puppies may whine and cry for different reasons. You don't have to turn into a doggie therapist to understand what causes these bouts of heartbreaking crying; just make sure your puppy's needs are met and learn how to identify attention-seeking behaviors so you can address them accordingly.
Puppy Basic Needs
Don't park your puppy in the play pen and forget him there; puppies have many basic needs. If your puppy has just started crying, pay a brief visit and inspect the area. Is the water bowl full? Some rambunctious puppies may accidentally spill it or contaminate it to the point that it's undrinkable. Does your puppy have food? To stay healthy, puppies require frequent, small meals fed throughout the day. When was your puppy last taken out to potty? Your puppy may be alerting you he needs to tinkle; it's very important you listen to his requests.
If you thought that meeting your puppy's basic needs was enough, think again; there's much more into that. A closer inspection may reveal that your puppy's blanket is wet with pee and your puppy is uncomfortable or that the area where your puppy's pen is located is getting too hot or too drafty for his taste. In some cases, your puppy may be annoyed by outdoor noises. Try to move the pen to a quieter area. In addition, your puppy may be bored because you have failed to provide sufficient outlets for pent-up energy and did not add some safe, interactive toys to keep him entertained and happy.
New Puppy Blues
If you just got your puppy, he may feel a bit down in the dumps the very first days. It's tough for a new puppy to leave his mama and brothers and sisters behind. On top of that, your puppy may be a bit scared of all the new noises, smells and sights in his new home. Reduce some stress by moving him from the pen to a crate beside your bed for the very first nights. This way, you can reassure your pup and let him know he is not alone. Some puppies feel comforted by the noise of a ticking clock wrapped in a blanket, as it resembles their mom's heartbeat.
They Call it Puppy Love
If your puppy is allowed to stay by your side for most of the day and then he is suddenly put in a pen all alone, he may feel a tad bit lonely. His crying may be his way to say that he misses you and desires to be reunited with you. Leave your puppy with some safe, fun toys to play with in his pen and avoid making the mistake of placing him there exclusively when you must leave. Rather, try putting him there randomly during the day with a high-value toy while sticking around. This may help prevent him from associating the pen with social isolation.
Don't be fooled by a pup's small size; his pea-sized brain is big enough to learn what works and what doesn't. Your pup will quickly learn that his crying gets your attention, and sooner than later, he will test you to see how much he can get away with it. If you are absolutely sure your dog's basic needs are met and that he is acting out of drama, you can teach your puppy a very valuable lesson: that crying repels you while quiet attracts you. If you make this clear from the get-go, your puppy will learn that his calm behaviors cause him to be showered with your attention.
If you are having difficulty finding a cause for your puppy's relentless crying, have him checked by a vet. Your puppy may be in pain even though you may not see any visible signs of problems. From something as serious as abdominal pain to something as minor as erupting teeth, it's better to play it safe than sorry. Your vet is the best person to determine if there is something physically wrong with your pup and decide the best course of action.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.