If you have decided to use a crate for your dog and are experiencing difficulties, you have come to the right place.
Crates aren’t for every owner, nor are they suited to every dog. Some dogs just don’t like being in a crate; others require some training and encouragement. And, some just take to them like a duck to water. If your puppy, or adult dog, is finding the crate and upsetting place to be, we need to understand why in order to find a resolution.
If your dog is crying in the crate, there could be many reasons as to why, and I will look at these in this post, as well as how to overcome them. Some may be incredibly simple, such as where the crate is positioned, and be a quick fix to solve. Others may be more deep-set and be due to the dog suffering from separation anxiety.
Whatever the reason for your dog’s upset in the crate, there will be a way around this. Even if it means getting rid of the crate altogether and looking at product alternatives.
Why Should I Crate My Dog?
Dogs naturally expect little areas where they can have comfortable spaces for themselves. Crates can be extremely helpful in emergencies, valuable teaching aids for puppies, and safe regions for elderly dogs.
Since dogs dislike it when they pollute their resting spaces, crate training is crucial to teaching them to urinate outside the house. To prevent accidents, puppies adapt to retain their bladder when they are within their box.
Establishes a Supportive Environment
Dogs naturally exhibit a “denying” impulse. Crates could offer a safe sanctuary for your dog when feeling anxious or worn out and require a quiet environment around them.
When you have kids in your house, ensure they can comprehend that your dog should always be allowed to remain undisturbed whenever they are in its crate.
Facilitates House Training
A handy resource for house training is a crate. Puppies and dogs dislike going potty in their nest.
Take them to the specified location in your garden or pee pad when the time comes for them to use the restroom. Use encouraging words or gestures to convey your appreciation. For example, they may feel emptying their bladder or urinating after a nap or first thing in the morning.
More Rapid Removal In Case Of Emergency
Having a dog who has been educated to go in a crate makes it very simple for you if it is required to leave your house in an unavoidable situation because of a crisis. Also, by having coverings and accessories that bear your fragrance, your dog might feel more at home.
Protection Of The Family
The fact that your dog can relax peacefully in their crate when you cannot watch over them is an added benefit. Perhaps you are preparing supper or performing maintenance when your dog may endanger your security simply through its presence. You’ll feel safer knowing they’re hidden securely.
It Helps To Have A Safe Journey
Being restrained in a car seems much more secure for the two of you than letting it roam free in the car. Also, you will not like to observe your dog tumbling everywhere in the car when you glance back in the rearview mirror!
On long rides, your dog may be more relaxed and at ease if they are in its box.
Limiting Property Impact
Give your dog a toy appropriate for the crate to prevent them from destroying the beautiful furniture. They will necessarily remain busy with those toys leaving the assets.
Making An Easy Appointment With The Vet
Such situations are very common where the dogs do not really like to visit the vet. They may try to flee away. It makes the whole procedure very easy if they have crate training.
You must leave your companion in a veterinary expert’s house to detect the disease better. In such cases, they may feel happy to remain in their crate rather than the kennels in the vet’s place.
Possible Reasons Why a Dog is Crying in the Crate
There are some factors that can significantly impact how a dog feels about his crate, and these are as follows.
Putting the time and effort into crate training a puppy from the beginning is the best way to ensure he has a good relationship with his crate and knows what is expected of him. Dogs thrive with a routine and knowing what will happen at what time.
Structure is also important to our lives, so having a daily schedule should eradicate any issues that can arise when surprises happen to a dog. If you leave your dog in the crate while you go to work, then it is important to gradually get him used to being alone in the crate while cementing the concept to him that you will return.
Crate training is a step-by-step, day-by-day process in the beginning. Breed depending, it can take a dog some time to get to grips with alone time and believing that his owner will come back and that the world will all be ok again!
The American Kennel Club states that this process should take around six months, so proper crate training is not a quick fix, but it is the best way of guaranteeing a settled dog in a crate.
Time in the Crate
The time a dog can be left alone is very much age-dependent – and breed-dependent! A general rule is to not leave a puppy alone in a crate for more than five hours; for an adult dog, this can be extended to eight hours. Leaving puppies and dogs confined for any longer than this can significantly damage their mental and physical health.
If you have no option but to leave your dog for longer than this, I would strongly suggest considering a doggy daycare, hiring a dog walker, or even considering whether dog ownership is fair for you to be doing at this time.
A crate should be a safe space for your dog. This means comfortable and enjoyable. By placing your dog’s blanket into the crate, he will be drawn by his familiar scent, some owners even opt to put in an item of clothing they have worn so that the dog has the smell of his human in his crate to disassociate any negative feelings.
As well as the bedding, the crate needs to also offer some mental stimulation for the dog – but not be too overstimulating that it promotes hyperactivity. I use a simple Kong toy in my dog crates and find this is sufficient for the short periods my dogs are confined. For breeds prone to obesity, it would be wise to fill a kong with healthy treats or even some veggies such as squash or zucchini.
Covering the crate with a sheet or blanket will make it more of a den-like environment and promote relaxation and decrease anxiety. You can purchase specialized crate covers for a more exact fitting. I have previously written a guide to the best crate covers for large crates here.
Where the crate is positioned is key to how the dog will feel inside the crate. If he can see out of the window or be able to watch the door, he may be on constant alert, which can lead to great emotional upset and distress. If the crate is in a noisy environment, for example, by a tumble dryer, this could induce the same levels of distress.
Contradictory, a crate shouldn’t be placed in a garage, outhouse, or corner of an unused family room where the dog will feel excluded, punished, or isolated. A crate needs to feel like a positive experience.
Ideally, it will be positioned where the family is, so the dog feels a part of things, I place mine in the kitchen, but other owners who report positive dog-crate partnerships have theirs in living rooms and family areas.
It is important that the crate isn’t placed in a drafty area or near to a heat source such as a radiator, as a dog is basically imprisoned and unable to do anything about the temperature around him.
The type and size of crate you get will dramatically impact the dog’s association with the crate.
Choosing the right size for the breed is essential, and what one manufacturer claims as large may only be so by their own standards. I have found a sizing guide that may be useful when selecting a crate for your dog.
It is crucial to get the right size for your breed, too small a crate and your dog will feel uneasy, but too large and he may feel insecure. Ideally, the dog should be able to sit up, stand up and turn entirely around, with room to sprawl out when lying down.
If you’re using the crate as a behavior corrector, when the dog has misbehaved, then the dog will associate the crate as a bad place to be. A crate used for time out is not a crate that can be used for chill out.
It is widely known that dogs respond much better to positive praise and encouragement than punishment, and a crate should not be used as a place for a dog to sit and reflect – dogs are not capable of doing this, so it is very much a pointless exercise.
It is true that a dog can look guilty, but this is simply a response to knowing that his owner is sad, though he will not put two-and-two together and realize the chewed-up slippers cause the sadness!
Lifestyle Surrounding the Crate
A well-raised dog is a well-rounded dog, but a dog who is not fed the proper nutrition or given an adequate amount of exercise before being confined is a dog with a lower tolerance to a crate.
Imagine being sent to bed first thing in the morning, with the stipulation being you cannot leave that bed for five hours. You’re not tired, you’re already well-rested, and you want to be doing other things. Now consider how your dog is treated before being expected to be ok with being in the crate.
The amount of exercise a dog needs varies between breeds, with other factors such as age, health, and stamina needing to be taken into account. Every dog should be walked for a minimum of 30-minutes per day; this should be increased to 2-hours or more for larger, more high-energy breeds.
Exercise isn’t just a physical requirement for a dog; it is also massively important for their mental health too. Make sure that your dog receives a sufficient amount of exercise before and after he goes into the crate, ideally, and he should be more relaxed and settled for it.
Why You Shouldn’t Punish a Dog That’s Crying in the crate
A crate is a haven for dogs. They often love to spend their time in their little space. Crate training uses a pup’s innate desire to live in a shelter.
However, the canines sometimes continuously cry, shout, or whimper in a crate. It can, at times, be quite irritating for the owners. But it would be best if you held your nerve in such cases.
One needs to investigate the reason for continuous crying if it doesn’t stop the same even after being ignored for 10 to 15 minutes. But it would be best if you never shouted at or punished it.
1. Your Pet Might Be Stressed Enough
Shouting at your dog ain’t going to help in case he is sobbing out of fear. It could damage the respect he holds for you if you scream at them while they are already terrified. Your dog considers you your protector and believes your life is safe in your hands.
It may cease sobbing merely as it has become further terrified and fears that you no longer love or care for it. You did not solve the issue in that case but made it even more complicated.
2. Discipline Might Make Dull Moments Interesting
When your dog is growling out of boredom, you can make it laugh by reprimanding it. For example, they may stop talking for a moment if he is fascinated by the commotion.
3. Sometimes Unfavorable Treatment Can Serve As A Treat To The Dog
Like children, many dogs may whimper in their crates to get affection. They are very much aware that they will get their desired petting if you reach their cages.
They might cease crying immediately, but doing so will ensure that the dog remains the same in the upcoming days whenever he wishes to have your attention.
4. It Might Have Messed Up The Crate
Though generally, dogs like to keep their nest clean, sometimes they accidentally end up pooping or peeing in the crate itself. They feel in such conditions and will always try to have your attention.
This is not normal for mature dogs. But the puppies tend to make such accidents until they must be adequately trained.
5. It Might Be Feeling Lonely
At times the dog feels lonely being in the crate. It might think that if it starts to cry, you might come to give it company or shower it with your love.
In such cases, there are better options than ignoring it for a long time, as it might adversely affect his mindset.
To conclude, you can avoid his crying for some time. To be more precise, 10-15 minutes should be ok.
If your dog is seeking your attention, it will stop crying by that time. However, if it is not stopping, you need to check up on it to know whether it is anxious for some reason or has accidentally pooped or peed in the crate itself.
How to Teach a Dog Not to Cry in the Crate?
A dog generally cries to gain attention while being in a crate. But there can be other reasons too. The reasons can range from being anxious to accidental poop. But you must make sure that stops the continuous crying for his good.
Well, there are two simple ways to train your pet not to create any mess inside its crate.
Turn the crate into a welcoming space
The first thing you can do is make the crate a happy place for the dogs. There are several ways to perform that.
Offer the meal inside the crate
Dogs often find the crate to be a happy place for themselves. But at times, they may not feel the same. So to make the crate life comfortable, you can sometimes offer the meal inside the crate only. This will help it enjoy the time it spends in the crate.
Fill the crate with soft and squeaky toys
Dogs generally have tremendous love and attachment towards soft toys and squeaky toys. So all you can do is give your dog some of those occasions when you want them to stop crying.
It is also a perfect way to teach them to be in their crate by their wish rather than forcing them to accept the same.
Put some delicious foods in the crate
Offering your dog cold, inflated Kongs in his metal or plastic box will occupy it. That little adjustment will be beneficial. However, having some of these frozen stuffed toys in your freezer is a better option.
If you need to leave for household chores, throw some delicious things with a bowl of grains like barley or rice.
Turn the crate to the most comfortable place
The crate must be the most comfortable zone for the dog if you want the dog to be in the crate for a long time. To ensure the fellow feeling, put something there from which they will get the touch of you.
The pet generally tends to like the odor of its master very much. So it is better to put something like a soft mat or chewy toys that carry your essence to your dog.
Verify whether the size and shape of the crate are appropriate
The crate is the place where your dog is going to spend his time. Ensure that it feels comfortable and at home. In other words, it must not feel suffocated there.
The crate should be big enough. It needs a proper space to turn around as per its will and to stretch its body.
Keep the crate in a common area
While being in the crate, they will feel caged, but you can always place its cage in the bedroom, especially during the night can be the answer. Please remember to place the crate near your bed.
In case the crate doesn’t fit in your chamber, you can eventually shift closer to your preferred resting position.
This is precisely similar to many parents’ process to educate their children to spend the night while taking a nap alone. They progress to that degree of autonomy.
Take your pup for a training session before the crate time
Activity is the subsequent stage in successfully crate training pups (cue the drumroll). Your dog will have difficulty resting if it bounces about when you bring it inside the crate. This happens more to young dogs, who are about 1.5 years old.
Be confirmed about the exact amount of time and activity you need to carry out with your pet, depending on his age and breed.
Alternatives to Dog Crates
Dog crates are not every owner’s product of choice, and even some animal charities can see them in a negative light. However, when used correctly, they can be a safe way to contain a dog while the owner is out of the house. If you are looking for a solution when supervision can’t be given but don’t want to use a crate, you may want to look further into the following.
Dog Play Pens
Dog playpens are a perfect alternative for owners who want to give their dogs more space than is offered with a crate. A dog playpen should be tall enough so a dog can’t escape and well-equipped with a blanket, toys, and a water bowl. Some playpens have their own washable floors for accident-prone pups and can be used inside or outside of the home.
Dog gates are a great way of confining a dog to a room or specific area within the home or garden. Much like baby gates, they come in various sizes, materials, and colors with different features like extra tall and extra-large.
Carlson Pet Products is a brand to consider, as their range of dog gates are all highly-rated and with a product for every owner, need and breed.
If you have a safe, confined yard or garden, you may want to consider adding a dog house to provide shelter for the dog when he is left alone for more extended periods. The add-on of a heat lamp for the dog house will ensure that the dog stays warm and dry and that you’re meeting the expectations of the law in providing adequate provisions for a dog outside.
When to Seek Outside Help
If you follow all of the above steps and your dog is still crying in his crate, it may be time to seek professional advice. I would always suggest seeing your veterinarian before anyone else. It could well be that the dog has an injury that is aggravated by being in a cramped condition, or it may be a psychological issue due to hormone imbalances that your vet can treat.
If the vet rules out medical issues, the next port of call should be a dog behaviorist. Always check the credentials of the behaviorist before seeking their advice, and it is ok to seek quotes as this is not the most affordable service out there. This is also an unregulated field, and unfortunately, anyone can claim to be a dog behaviorist, so research is essential.
Just utilize the expression you think it believes you generally use to send it or out to excrete.
Matters might worsen if you shout at your dog or bang on the crate. Then, after several minutes of ignoring it, if the whining still occurs, then do the activities mentioned above.
It is a good idea to leave your dog for some time if it starts whining but for mostly 15 minutes.
Your dog will cease whimpering if it is just seeking your attention. However, even after this, if they continue to weep frequently, you will need to perform desensitization activities to create a suitable attachment with the crate.
Please don’t keep your dog in the crate sobbing too long. 10 to 15 minutes are enough to keep them in that state.
Constant whimpering for more than that sometimes shows that their crates are untidy or they feel some or other problems.
Yes, it can. Though it is not the best way to stop them from crying, it can sometimes work. Dogs feel calmer and less anxious by reducing visual stimuli, thereby reducing enthusiasm and growling.
No, it is better not to put water in a dog crate during the day. Vets and pet owners are never recommended to place food and water in the dog’s crates.
The answer can be both yes and no. It completely rests upon your pup’s nature.
When your dog temporarily ceases growling or whimpering, praise it by dropping a goodie inside his crate while remaining discreet and friendly.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
Apart from writing on Canine Weekly, I share my views on Twitter and Linkedin.