Understand the Source of the Barking
Puppyhood barking is challenging because you and your puppy are just starting to learn about each other. You want to be aware if your puppy is barking to let you know that he needs to go out for a potty break, but you don’t want to encourage inappropriate barking, like boredom vocalization. When trying to make sense of barking try to look for the antecedent – what happened right before the bark? Did your pup’s ball roll under the couch? That’s a demand bark and one you don’t want to react to. Instead, wait for a moment of silence and then retrieve the ball.
Is your puppy barking at your because you’re on the phone and ignoring him? That’s attention seeking barking, and if you acknowledge it, you’ve basically told him that being loud is an effective way to get your focus. In that scenario, set your dog up to succeed by giving him a busy toy before you get on the phone.
Many puppies bark when inside the crate, and those barks probably mean one of two things: separation intolerance or the need to eliminate. Sometimes it’s challenging to tell the difference between the two, and since you never want to reward your dog for barking, (meaning, you don’t want him to think that barking always makes him get his way), you need to carefully consider the motivation behind the vocalization before you make a move.
First, think about the timing of the bark. Did you just put your puppy inside the crate? If you gave your pup a potty break before crating him, then the barking you’re hearing is probably intolerance or pre-nap protest (overtired pups often channel their frustration into vocalization). If your puppy has been quiet in his crate for a while and then barks and whines, it probably means that he needs to go out again. This is especially true if your puppy wakes in the middle of the night and makes noise, so make sure that you get him out for a potty break.