French Bulldog Puppy Crying: How to Stop Crate & Night Tears


french bulldog crying in crate

If you recently read my blog post about our French Bulldog puppy’s first day and night at our house, you might remember the section where I described his crying in the crate. We really weren’t prepared for the howling, whining, and even the small amount of screaming (yes, they really can scream).

We did eventually manage to stop our French Bulldog puppy crying in his crate, but it wasn’t easy. To be honest, it was heart-wrenching and tiring, but it is an essential part of them adapting to your home as well as their crate training.

The bottom line is; French Bulldog puppies do cry when they are taken from their mother and siblings, and they will cry in the crate for some time. You need to weather the storm, accept the lack of sleep, and persevere with it.

But don’t worry. In this guide I am take you through the steps to cope with the whining and crying, whilst you get your new Frenchie puppy settled into his new home and crate training routine.

But first, just a little bit about Frenchies and crying.

Why do French Bulldogs cry?

French Bulldog’s do cry, and puppies particularly are known for it. They will cry for attention, when they want feeding, or if they need to go to the toilet. It is also related to separation anxiety (read more on this) when left alone.

Other reasons for a crying Frenchie can be:

  • Blocked tear ducts: Whilst this might sound counter-intuitive, blocked tear ducts mean your Frenchie’s eyes will water, with obvious tear staining down their face. It can sometimes look a red or brown color, seeping from their eyes.
  • Eye allergies: An allergic reaction can also lead to watery discharge from their eyes, which can look like tears and crying.

French Bulldog puppies are even bigger criers, particularly in the first 4 weeks you have them at their new home. They are in a new environment without the security of their mother and siblings – who wouldn’t cry in the same situation?

Frenchie puppies will also cry when you first start them getting used to sleeping and staying in their crate. Crate training is an essential part of dog ownership, but almost every Frenchie puppy won’t like being confined to theirs for more than a couple of hours.

Do French Bulldogs cry tears? 

French Bulldogs do have tear ducts, but they work in a very different way to human ones. Rather than the tears running from their eyes, the actually drain back into the nasal cavity… which is why blocked tear ducts result in what look like tears.

The reality is, that Frenchie don’t cry tears due to an emotional response like we would do. Dogs have other ways of showing emotion, many of which I’ve discussed in length in this guide to Frenchie happiness. 

Do French Bulldogs Scream? 

Some Frenchies can make a whining and howling noise that does sound like a human scream, or even a baby screaming in some cases. When we bought our Frenchie home for the first time, he made a few screaming sounds on the first few nights.

Not all of them will do this though as each dog will have their own tone of voice and mannerisms… I did find a Frenchie screaming on YouTube which is a great example. 

Do French bulldogs cry at night? 

French Bulldogs do cry at night when you first bring them home. I’ve already mentioned the reasons why Frenchie puppies are prone to doing so; separation anxiety, fear, for attention, and when they need to go to the potty.

Now let me share with you steps you can take to stop your French bulldog whining in their crate, no matter what their age.

French bulldog crying in crate

And now for the crux of the matter; your French bulldog puppy won’t stop crying when in crate – what do you do, and is there anything you can do to stop it or make things better?

Firstly, why is your French bulldog puppy crying in his crate? Or, it could even be an adult Frenchie… it’s not always related to their age.

There are a number of reasons, including:

  • Your Frenchie is lonely: This is a classic crying scenario when dogs are used to being with their owner and are shut in a crate when you go out.
  • Your Frenchie is bored: Perhaps they aren’t getting enough stimulation, both mental and physical when out of the crate.
  • Your Frenchie is scared: Older or rescue dogs can have negative connotations connected to the crate.
  • Your Frenchie needs the toilet: Or it could be as simple as them needing to pee or possibly even vomit (here are reasons why Frenchies can be sick).

How to stop Frenchie crate crying behavior 

If your adult or French bulldog puppy won’t stop crying when in their crate, here are some steps you can take.

Please Note: French Bulldog puppies will cry in their crate for at least the first few days you have them. You won’t be able to stop this, as it’s their natural reaction to being in a new home. The steps below are best applied when the crying is problematic and longer term.

1. Make the crate experience a positive and comfortable one

To stop your French Bulldog puppy crying at night, make the crate as great an experience as you can. For example, you might want to place some interesting toys in there (here are toys Frenchies love), make it cosy with blankets, and leave an appealing treat in there.

At this stage in their life, puppies will start to teeth and hanker for anything chewable they can get their jaws around. Kong toys are great for this, and you can see which ones work really well in on this teething toys page.

french bulldog puppy crying in crate
Our Frenchie’s crate is now so comfortable that the cat even sleeps in there with him.

You should also try building up positive associations with the crate, and some puppy owners like to let theirs feed in there.

Also place something that smells like you in there – it could be a cushion or a t-shirt with your scent on.

2. Place the crate in the best place

The placement of your Frenchie’s crate can have a huge impact on how he feels. If it’s far away from you, insecurity and loneliness can kick in, leading to lots of whining and crying.

We took baby steps with our Frenchie’s crate; it was in our room for a few weeks, and then we gradually moved it further and further away.

If you can’t bear to have it in your bedroom with you at night, at least ensure that it’s in a place where your family spends the majority of their time.

But, by having the crate close to you during the puppy months, it does mean you will be alerted when they need a potty break.

3. Use the right-sized crate

When crate shopping, I always suggest going larger than you need because it can then be their crate and bed for life. Puppies need room to be able to move around, stand up, and turn to let them be comfortable and not feel caged.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money either. The one we’ve used since Claude was a puppy and continue to this day, is this basic dog crate on Amazon.

4. Make sure your Frenchie goes to the toilet first

To really help minimize your French bulldog crying in his crate, make sure their bladder is as empty as possible before sleep time.

However, with puppies, they will need the toilet constantly, and I remember this time with our Frenchie very well. Every hour I would take him out of the crate at night and take into our back-yard patio area.

You can still expect some accidents though, which is why puppy pads are so essential. Again, you can buy puppy pads on Amazon – they are cheap when bought in bulk.

5. Tire your Frenchie puppy out before crate time

An over-excited puppy will not sleep and will cry more in his crate at night if he still has excess energy to burn. It’s essential to give them enough exercise before they sleep, and that goes for both adult dogs and puppies.

Frenchie puppies can tire really quickly, so it could just be a short walk out back or a game of tug of war. Older dogs will have more energy to burn, so give them a run out for 20 minutes before crate time.

6. Ignore your Frenchie’s whining and crying

As hard as this sounds, you should ignore your Frenchie’s cries a lot of the time – unless it’s for a potty break. If you go to the crate every time he cries or whines, you are just reinforcing the behavior, and making him know you will always come and let him out.

Don’t take your Frenchie puppy out of the crate until it’s time and he has been quiet.

7. The difference between crying for attention and crying for the toilet

But how do you know which cry is which?

To be honest, you don’t… so what I recommend is that you take your Frenchie out of the crate the first few times he cries and immediately take him to the potty area.

french bulldog crying at night
You might end up taking your puppy out of the crate during their early months… it’s too tempting not too!

If he doesn’t pee or poop, put him straight back in the crate without any attention or play. Over a week or so, your puppy should learn that crying gives him the toilet and nothing else.

8. Don’t punish or scold your crying French Bulldog 

Punishment and loud voices do not work with Frenchies. As frustrating as your French bulldog crying at night will be, never scold them. They won’t recognise the punishment, and if anything, it will exacerbate the crying and whining.

If your Frenchie is crying due to anxiety and fear, yelling will not help. Yes, he might stop crying in the short-term, but only because he is scared.

9 .Stay consistent 

And lastly, don’t stray from your chosen method. The minute you do will put you back to square on. 

Conclusion

Finally, if you cannot put a finger on why your French Bulldog is crying, and have ruled out the possibilities in this guide, please do consult with your vet. Frenchies are susceptible to a wide range of health problems (listed all here) and it could be a physical or behavioral issue.

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