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Dogs (and especially puppies) do so many things that we absolutely adore. Unfortunately, one tendency that most people aren’t particularly too fond of is a dog whining and crying in a crate for extended periods.
If you’re trying to crate train your dog you might be wondering what to do if your dog whines in the crate. Luckily, there are some ways to help when a dog is crying in their crate.
Here are the most important things to think about when crate training a puppy:
- Are they getting enough exercise?
- Is their crate in a proper location?
- Have they been crate trained?
- Are they getting sufficient bathroom breaks?
- Is the crate the right size?
- Is the crate comfortable for THEM?
- And most importantly don’t give in to their whining!
If your dog is whining in their crate and it seems like nothing you do can get them to stop, look no further.
We’ve got some tricks that with a little time and patience will help your pup be more relaxed in their crate.
So let’s dive in and get you and your pup some much needed peace and quiet!
Table of Contents
Why Do Dogs Cry In Their Crate?
First things first, let’s address the fact that dogs crying in their crate (especially puppies) is completely normal.
And there’s generally 2 reasons why it happens.
First, they aren’t used to being restricted in this way. When they’re in a crate they’re confined to a certain amount of space and aren’t used to it.
This restriction can make them feel uneasy because it’s new to them. And when they feel uneasy they express it by whining/crying.
Second, dogs are very much pack animals! You may have a new pup who’s been separated from their litter.
Or, an older dog that’s now not free to be around their less-hairy family. Regardless of the situation, this new isolation is upsetting to your pup and they’re crying in an attempt to get your attention.
Now that we understand why the crying happens, let’s look into…
Why Does Your Dog Bark In Their Crate At Night?
First thing you probably want to know is, how the heck did your dog pick up this darn annoying habit?
Well, while it may seem like there’s no good reason for their barking, dogs usually bark for a few reasons.
Most commonly, they bark to get attention, to warn you and your family of a disturbance/intruder or out of fear/anxiety.
Most of the time the reason for their barking will fall into 1 of 3 reasons:
- You’ve unknowingly taught them that barking will get them attention/affection.
- Before getting them to sleep in a crate you allowed them to sleep in your bed or anywhere within your home.
- You’ve recently adopted a new pup and they haven’t quite learned to sleep through the night yet.
Of the 3 options above, the first is the one that gets the majority of doggos. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very difficult to lay in bed and listen to their whining and barking.
But, unfortunately, if you go rushing to them to get them to quiet down or let them out… All you’re doing is teaching them their barking behavior gets rewarded.
This lesson becomes a habit very quickly. And because they love to have you around whenever they please… They’re going to do what they know works, and that’s by barking.
Related Reading: 7 Simple Steps To Get Your Dog To Stop Barking
Puppy Screaming In Crate For Hours: How To Stop It
While each situation is different, crate training a puppy crying is not easy. Especially when trying to figure out exactly what your pup is trying to tell you.
Not to mention, a dog crying in a crate at night is extremally frustrating to deal with.
There are, however, a few things you can do to minimize the behavior from happening often or excessively.
Below are some things you can do to help keep your pup quiet while in their crate.
A lot of the time, restlessness plays a large factor into your doggo whining and crying. If your pup has too much energy, they’ll be able to cry for a long time.
Don’t underestimate tiring them out as a good strategy to stop them from being so vocal in their crate!
Make sure they get lots of exercise when outside their crate. Things like walks, runs at the park, or playing fetch will help make sure they don’t have excessive energy to whine and cry in their crate.
Also, giving them something to exercise their mind while in their crate is a great idea as well.
You know what they say, an idle mind is the devils playground. By giving them a mind stimulating toy while in their crate they will have something to concentrate their focus on.
You know, instead of focusing on how much they miss you and their isolation.
In short, exercise their body and mind to help reduce their desire to whine and cry in their crate!
Crate Placement Is Important
Where you put their crate in your home is very important. If it’s improperly placed, this could very well be part of the reason for your puppy screaming in their crate.
As previously mentioned, dogs are considerably social creatures. If you put their crate in a distant room or worse, in your basement, garage or backyard, this could be a contributing factor.
It’s best to keep their crate in an area where there’s some traffic of people walking by.
If it’s in an area where your family spends time, they won’t feel as isolated and will likely calm down quicker/easier.
Now, there’s definitely a time for their crate to be in an area with less commotion. For example, if they’re tired or if it’s time for bed.
In this instance having their crate in a separate room will help them get some peace and quiet. Some owners opt to have two crates. One where their pup can spend time in during the day and still feel included in the family activities.
And another where it’s in a quieter place where they can get some rest when they’d like.
If you can only afford one, that’s fine. The best place for it would be in an area where your family spends time.
If you’re willing and able, moving their crate to a quiet place when it’s time for them to rest can be done as well.
Be Sure To Crate Train Them
Making sure your dog is familiar with their crate can help reduce their anxiousness whilst inside. Don’t just throw them in their crate.
If you simply lock them in a new crate without giving them any time to get accustomed to this new space, they will likely dislike this new space.
And because of this, they will whine and cry until they’re let out.
By training your doggo to enjoy their time in their crate, you will significantly reduce the amount of resistance they give towards going into their crate.
And another important point is to not use their crate as a means of punishment.
If the only time they’re put in their crate is after they’ve done something wrong, they will never like being in their crate. It will always feel like they’re being punished.
Help them get accustomed to their crate and give them treats and toys for being well behaved.
With some time and patience, their crate will become a safe place for them where they feel secure. They might even voluntarily start going into their crate!
If you want a more detailed crate training guide check out these online puppy training programs.
Sufficient Bathroom Breaks
Depending on the age of your doggo will determine how often they need a potty break.
If you have a young pup they will have a smaller bladder and likely cry because they have to go to the bathroom.
Making sure you let your pup outside ever 2-3 hours will make sure they aren’t crying because they have to relieve themselves.
Older dogs also need to be let out more frequently as their bladder doesn’t work as well as it once did.
If your older dog cries often in their crate you may want to increase the amount of bathroom breaks they’re getting.
Don’t Give In To Their Whining
You may feel the urge to give your puppy attention or take him out of his crate. Unfortunately, doing so will only reinforce the behavior.
Ignore it! This is the most common mistake from people who wonder what to do when their dog cries in their crate.
If you let your pup out of their crate, they’ll learn that crying gets them what they want, which is more attention from you and a chance to roam around freely.
If they whine for an hour and then briefly stop because they got tired or gave up, don’t reward this behavior with any kind of praise or affection.
Your dog will realize that if they whine long enough they can get what they want if you do that enough times.
You want to reward the behavior you want. Which is for them to be calm and quiet in their crate.
After they’re done crying and are quiet for several minutes, then you can reward them with treats and praise or even let them out.
Proper Crate Sizing
Dog’s need to have enough space in their crate… But not too much!
Their crate needs to be big enough where they can stand up and move around without feeling cramped in there.
They should also be able to freely play with their toys in their crate without having to be on top of them because of lack of room.
Consequently, you don’t want their crate to be too big where they have too much space inside.
Their crate is supposed to feel like their den.
It won’t provide the same feeling of safety and security if they have too much space inside their crate.
The general rule of thumb is to have enough room for them to stand up and turn around without struggle.
Make Their Crate Welcoming
Another thing you need to do is make sure that their crate is as welcoming and comfortable as possible. This means adding a soft bed or blanket, some toys, and anything else that will make them feel at home.
You may even want to consider covering the crate with a towel or sheet to help muffle any noise and create a den-like atmosphere.
When Is It Time To Worry?
If your puppy is screaming in the crate for hours and it doesn’t seem to be calming down regardless of what you do, then it might be time to seek professional help. This could be a sign of separation anxiety or another serious issue that needs to be addressed.
A dog whining in their crate at night or during the day is not a red flag to begin with. Its when crying is to the point where they seem frantic or inconsolable, that you need to be concerned.
If your puppy is exhibiting these behaviors, then it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to get to the root of the problem and find a solution.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
A little bit of whining is definitely not uncommon! Your pup is simply used to being around their loved ones and needs to get accustomed to this new environment.
The more of the strategies you use above the easier it will be for your pup to get used to being in their crate.
What a blessing it will be when you never again have to wonder what to do if your dog cries in the crate!
We know their crate is a great place for them to hang out and not for punishment. Now all that’s needed is to use a few simple strategies to help them see the same thing!
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