If your Golden Retriever keeps crying at night, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Golden Retriever cry at night? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, it needs to pee, it hears noises that it doesn’t like or you might have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.

There are actually many reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Why your Golden Retriever cries at night

Below are common reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

Separation anxiety

The reason might be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely if it sleeps in a different room than you. It would also be more likely if it starts getting anxious when you would normally leave home.

In this case, it would help to avoid leaving it for extended periods and to periodically check up on it if possible.

Also, it would help to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.

To do this you could do as follows:

  • Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

You could also do a similar process at night by making it seem like you are going to bed and then rewarding it for not getting anxious. Then you would make it wait for longer and longer periods.

It would also help to ensure that it is able to pee before bed so that it does not have to get anxious about having to wait a long time to pee.

Scary noises

It might be the case that it hears noises that it does not like at night. This would be more likely if it only cries on certain nights or if it only does it when it is in a certain room.

It needs to pee

It could be the case that it does it because it needs to pee. This would be more likely if it gets you to let it outside when it starts crying at night and if it is a puppy. In this case, it would help to let it go out to pee shortly before going to bed.

However, if your Golden Retriever needs to pee a lot during the night and it is not a puppy then it would suggest that it might have an illness. In this case, your best option would be to take it to a vet.

Other animals in the yard

The reason why it does it might be that there are other animals in the backyard and your Golden Retriever can see or hear them. This would be more likely if you have seen or heard other animals at night or if there are signs of them being in the backyard at night.

You have been reinforcing the behavior

It might also be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it cries at night and to only give it attention when it seems to be crying due to things such as needing to pee.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.

How old it is

If your Golden Retriever is still a puppy, it would be likely that it will start to cry less as it gets older. However, it would help to ignore it when it cries at night unless you think that it needs to pee.

If your Golden Retriever is not a puppy anymore, it would help to consider the two things below. However, it could be the case that an illness is causing it to cry at night so it might be worthwhile for you to take it to a vet especially if it has been showing other signs of illness.

When your Golden Retriever started crying at night

It would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it if it did not always cry at night.

If it started crying at night suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as illness or injury, it stopped being able to pee just before going to sleep or that you rewarded it for doing it one time.

What is different when it doesn’t cry at night

If your Golden Retriever doesn’t always cry at night then it would help to consider what is different when it does cry.

Some things that might be different could be:

  • It’s windier or there is thunder and lightening on the nights that it cries
  • You don’t let it out to pee before bed when it cries
  • You give it less exercise on the days that it cries

How to get your Golden Retriever to stop crying at night

Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop doing it at night.

Avoid giving it attention

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it does it in order to get extra attention from you. It would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it cries at night so that it learns that crying doesn’t get it attention. That is unless it seems to be crying for a different reason such as to go outside to pee.

Let it go out to pee before bed

Since the reason that it cries at night might be because it wants to pee, it would help to make sure to let it go outside to pee shortly before going to bed. If your Golden Retriever is a puppy, it is to be expected that it will still need to pee during the night but this should stop as it gets older.

Consider crate training

Crate training is where you teach your Golden Retriever to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.

If you crate train your Golden Retriever in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe. This will give your Golden Retriever an area where it will be able to feel secure at night without you being around.

Give it exercise

Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they don’t get much exercise, it can cause them to behave abnormally. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise daily. If your Golden Retriever is not getting that much exercise, it would help to make sure that it does.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.