If your Labrador keeps crying at night, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might cry at night and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my Labrador 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.
Your Labrador could be doing it due to many different reasons 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 Labrador cries at night
Below are common reasons why Labradors cry at night and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
The cause 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 Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador
- 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 could 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 might 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 Labrador 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 cause might also be that there are other animals in the backyard and your Labrador 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
The cause could also be 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 Labrador has been doing it.
How old it is
If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador started crying at night
If your Labrador did not always cry at night, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
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 Labrador 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 Labrador to stop crying at night
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop doing it at night.
Avoid giving it attention
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it does it because it is trying 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 Labrador 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 Labrador to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.
If you crate train your Labrador in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe. This will give your Labrador a space where it will be able to feel secure at night without you being around.
Give it exercise
Labradors 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 Labrador is not getting that much exercise, it would help to make sure that it does.