Dogs whining in crates are a common issue among new pet parents. Whether you have a puppy or you just adopted an older dog crying in a crate is expected. Some dogs have never seen or been in a crate while others are just curious why they can’t come out to play.
If your dog has kept you awake all night from crying in their crate, you are probably feeling exhausted and desperate to solve the problem. You aren’t alone when it comes to a sleepless night. Many pet parents struggle with the same issues when it comes to crates. The good news is there is something you can do about it starting today.
Being a pet parent can be challenging at times so the first thing you need to do is calm down. It’s easier said than done but it’s essential for you to have patience with your adorable dog compared to feeling agitated because they will pick up on that energy and things can get worse.
How To Stop Dog Whining & Crying in Crate
The following information will help guide you towards stopping your dog from crying and whining in a crate.
Why do dogs whine and cry in a crate?
Your puppy is used to being with their pack from the moment they are born. This means they spend every moment with their siblings and mom until you adopt them and bring them home. Puppies eat together, sleep cuddled next to each and play together. A pup that has just been welcomed into a human family will naturally miss its sibling’s company and often feel alone especially when crated.
Chances are you have had the joy of seeing a pack of puppies cuddles together side by side sleeping. This precious view is what’s missing from your pup’s world when you first bring them home. Staying alone in a crate will cause them to whine and cry to get out because they want to be closer to you and your family, which they consider to be their new pack.
Your pup’s isolation can lead to depression and unwanted behavior because they will do anything to get your attention. This behavior usually arises when you put your pup in a crate and leave them for hours without introducing the crate to them first. There is a helpful process that you need to follow to help your pup adjust to their new surroundings which will help stop their crying and whining.
How to Get Dogs to Stop Crying in a Crate
Choose the right size crate
Your dog needs to feel comfortable and has room to move around in their crate. An excellent way to choose the right size crate for your pup or dog is to measure their body. Use a soft measuring tape to determine their size. Glide the measuring tape along your dog’s body from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail.
Then measure from the top of their head to the top of their paw. Add 2 to 4 inches to each measurement to give your dog room to grow. Make sure your dog can stand up on all four legs and turn around easily inside their crate.
Ignore crying and whining
Your dog is trying to get your attention by crying and whining. The moment you react to their behavior whether it’s positive or negative, they know how to get your attention and will continue whining in their crate. You love your dog and it’s understandable that it’s difficult to ignore their whining but it’s an essential step in stopping the behavior.
Offer rewards for quiet time
At some point, your dog will quiet down in its crate and possibly take a nap. Reward their quiet behavior with their favorite treat. The next time your dog takes a nap in their crate or spends a considerable amount of time being quiet, reward them to encourage repetitive behavior.
Gradually increase crate time
The first time you put your dog in the crate only let them remain inside for 10 minutes. Once they learn to settle down for 10 minutes increase the crate time to 20 minutes and continue to gradually increase the time until they feel comfortable being in the crate for a few hours at a time.
Potty time before crate time
Take your dog outdoors for a walk to encourage them to do potty before placing them in the crate. This will eliminate the possibility your dog is crying in their crate because they need to do potty. You will feel confident their whining is only their attempt to getting your attention.
Exercise your dog before crate time
A brisk short walk or playtime in the backyard is a great way to exercise your dog before crate time. Make sure your dog has experienced plenty of exercise before placing them in the crate. This will help your pet feel calm when inside the crate and it can help them fall to sleep quickly which helps prevent them from crying and whining.
Place the crate in the right spot
This task sounds easy but it can be quite complex. Your dog has a special personality that you need to observe so you can find the right place to put the crate. If your dog is a busy body and needs to know everything that is going on in the house, place the crate in a high traffic area in your home such as the kitchen. However, if you have a shy dog that likes to curl up and take a nap in the corner, place their crate in a quiet room in the house that has natural sunlight.
Make the crate feel cozy
Dogs are den animals when they live in the wild. Help create a natural experience by making the crate feel cozy. You can place a light blanket over the top of the crate and blankets and toys inside to help make your dog feel comfortable. An excellent tip is to place an interactive treat dispenser toy in the crate. This interactive toy provides a tasty snack for your dog while keeping them busy and stimulating their mind.
Every dog has a different personality and ability to learn or be trained. Some dogs learn fast while others need time. Carefully observe your dog’s behavior during the crate training process. Make sure you are moving at their speed. This means you might need to space out the gradual time increase over a few weeks. The key to successfully crate train your dog is to remain patient and kind throughout the process.
As a pet parent, you are responsible for your dog. This can feel like an overwhelming experience but the journey is rewarding. Remain calm and patient when your pup starts to whine and cry when they are in their crate. Then use the tips mentioned earlier to help your pup become comfortable with being in their crate alone.
If weeks of training do not produce a positive outcome, it’s wise to seek help from a professional dog trainer. Crate training is important because it provides a den-like experience for your dog that helps make them feel safe, calm, and cozy. Start crate training your dog today!