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Crates are awesome. They’re not only super helpful to housebreak your pup but they can also serve as a great training tool for all sorts of other things.
Not only that, they’re also ideal for hyper dogs. Some pups just can’t calm themselves down. And so being in a confined place helps them a lot to relax and take a nap when they need it most.
My crate is definitely what saved my sanity during the first few months of having my Mini Poodle Baloo. He was soooo hyper. And his crate was literally the only place he could calm down.
However, not all dogs love their crate from the first minute. If not trained properly your dog might actually get quite vocal in the crate. He might be barking, crying and whining to get your attention.
Luckily, there are solutions for that. So, in this article we’ll talk about 7 tips to stop your dog from whining in the crate.
Why Is My Dog Whining in the Crate?
Crates are such great training tools, and they also provide a safe place for your dog to go. But some dogs don’t take as easily to their crates as others.
If your dog cries whenever he goes in his crate, there are a few reasons why he might be having a hard time.
He’s Not Used to It Yet
If you’ve only just started crate training your dog, and he’s crying when he goes inside, he’s probably just not used to it yet!
This is a new experience for your dog, and probably a confusing one too. He just doesn’t understand that the crate is a safe, positive space for him.
Over time, with patience and consistency your dog will start learning that his crate is a comfortable place for him to relax. He just needs to get used to it!
If your dog is crying in his crate, one reason might be that he’s scared. If your dog is accustomed to being able to run around all day, it might be scary for him to be suddenly locked up in a crate.
Like humans, all dogs are individuals. Some dogs just have a harder time being confined than others!
Separation anxiety is a condition in which dogs struggle with being apart from their humans. It ranges in severity, and can be a real challenge for both you and your dog.
If your dog cries while he’s in his crate, he might be experiencing some separation anxiety. Other signs include being destructive while you’re away, attempting to escape, barking, howling or pacing.
Baloo also suffered from very severe separation anxiety in the beginning. He’s definitely a mama’s boy and couldn’t stand even having a door in between us.
What helped us most is to just build it up very slowly. This means I started leaving the room for just a second, then for 2 seconds, then 4 seconds etc. And I always made sure to be back before he started crying or at last come back in when he was quiet.
Yes, it took a while. But now he’s absolutely fine if he has a routine.
Speaking of routine, that’s also one of the most important things that helped me get Baloo from being super hyper to finally calming down:
He Has Too Much Energy to Settle Down
Just like when kids who have lots of energy are told it’s time to settle down for bed, your puppy will cry if he’s feeling too antsy to go into his crate.
This is why it’s important to make sure your dog is getting enough mental and physical stimulation during the day. That way, all that excess energy is burned off and your dog is able to settle down easily.
On the other hand, if your dog is overtired he might react in a similar way. Check out these 10 signs and symptoms your dog is overtired to learn more.
He’s Testing Your Boundaries
Your dog is smart! He recognizes that you have certain boundaries, and if he thinks he can test them and get away with something, he’ll try.
If your dog is crying in his crate, he might just be testing to see how far he can push your boundaries.
Maybe you’re gonna let him out again if he’s just persistent enough…
How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Whining in His Crate?
Okay, now that you know the main reasons why your dog might be whining in his crate, let’s look at how you can stop this behavior.
1. Make Sure He’s Properly Crate Trained
The first step to getting your dog to behave in his crate is, of course, to make sure he’s properly crate trained in the first place!
If your dog is going to see his crate as a safe place where he can hang out, it’s important to crate train him correctly. You can learn how to easily crate train your dog in 13 steps to make sure he enjoys his crate.
And don’t worry—even if you have an older dog, it’s still totally possible to crate train him. Here’s how to crate train an older dog in 6 steps.
2. Make It a Comfortable and Cozy Place
One of the best ways to make your dog love his crate is by making it super comfy. Put his coziest blankets in there, and if he has a favorite toy, throw it in there for him too.
If your dog has a hard time being separated from you, one way to help him while he’s crated is putting an old shirt in with him. This way, your scent is nearby which will be comforting for your dog.
The cozier and comfier you make his crate, the more he’ll enjoy being in it. After all, you enjoy your room more when it’s comfortable and cozy, and your dog is no different!
For more tips, check out this article for what to do if your dog suddenly hates his crate!
3. Wear Him Out Before You Crate Him
If your dog has too much energy when you’re trying to crate him, it’s time to incorporate more ways to tired him out! You can try taking him for more walks, or you can get creative with your dog by signing him up for dog sports like flyball or disc.
And don’t forget that it’s important to make sure your dog is getting mental exercise too. There are plenty of fun brain games you can play that both you and your dog will enjoy!
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
4. Don’t Over-Crate Your Dog
Crates are awesome ways to keep your dog safe and comfortable. But you can’t leave a dog in a crate all day every day. They need to get out and play and explore, as well as spend time with you.
Dogs of different ages can spend different amounts of time in a crate. Puppies shouldn’t spend more than a few hours, and adult dogs shouldn’t spend longer than 8 hours in a crate.
Over-crating your dog can lead to negative associations with his crate and, potentially, separation anxiety. You want your dog to love his crate, and part of that is making sure he isn’t in there for too long.
5. Ignore the Whining
If you let your dog out of his crate as soon as he starts whining, that just teaches him that whining is his ticket out.
As hard as it is, you should ignore your dog when he’s whining. Just be mindful that his crying isn’t because he’s hurt or needs to go outside.
Also keep an eye out for a potential panic attack in your dog. If your dog panics when he goes in his crate, it’s time to start crate training from the beginning again and start building positive associations with the crate!
6. Only Let Him Out When He’s Calm and Quiet
If your dog cries to try and get you to let him out, you need to teach him that doing the opposite is what will get him out of his crate.
You should only let your dog out of his crate when he’s calm and quiet. This way, your dog will learn that being loud and obnoxious won’t get him anywhere!
7. Provide White Noise
If your dog feels anxious or uncomfortable in his crate, white noise might be a helpful solution for you and your dog!
A quick YouTube search for “white noise for dogs” will bring up plenty of options to help your dog relax while he’s in his crate. Here’s an example:
Alright, now that we’ve covered why your dog might be whining in his crate and how to make him stop, you might still have some more questions.
Let’s look at a few of them next.
Why Is My Dog Whining in His Crate All of a Sudden?
Does your dog suddenly have an aversion to his crate?
There are a few reasons why your dog might have changed his mind about his crate. A change in environment, negative associations with his crate, over-crating, and separation anxiety are all possible reasons.
For more information and tips for helping your pup, learn more about why your dog suddenly hates his crate.
How Long Do You Let a Puppy Cry in His Crate?
When it comes to teaching your dog that crying won’t get him out of his crate, you might be wondering how long you should let your puppy cry while he’s in there.
Most of the time, dogs will settle down in a few minutes. But if the crying seems excessive, you might have to go back and start training in smaller steps.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I had to build up leaving Baloo alone in a room or his crates in a few seconds at a time. And if he started crying before I got back in, I knew I had to reduce the time before I got back.
Should I Let My Puppy Cry in His Crate at Night?
It’s completely normal for your puppy to cry in his crate while you’re working on crate training. As hard as it is to deal with, you should only let your puppy out if he’s being calm and quiet.
While you’re crate training your dog at night, make sure to set alarms for your dog’s potty breaks. Your dog can hold his bladder for the number of hours equal to your dog’s age in months plus 1. So, for example, a 2-month old puppy can hold his bladder for 3 hours. There are always exceptions, of course but that’s the general rule.
Set your alarms, and make sure you’re the one waking your puppy up, not the other way around! This will teach him crying isn’t the way to get out of his crate.
With time and patience, your dog will get used to his crate and settle down easily for the night.
Crates are amazing tools for training as well as keeping your dog safe. But some dogs have a harder time with their crates than others. It’s important to pay attention if your dog is trying to tell you that something’s wrong, like he’s being over-crated.
If your dog is still crying even when he’s being crated for short periods of time, make sure to follow the above tips to help your dog learn to love his crate.
P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.