Crate Training: How to Stop your dog from Crying in his Crate

In the last few posts, we’ve talked about why you should be crate training your dog, choosing the right dog crate, and gone over how to crate train a dog.  Today, lets talk about how to stop your dog from crying in his crate.  If he’s been crying for days, it’s not just a part of the training process.  Most dogs may cry a little bit the first few days, but then they get used to it, and start enjoying spending time in their crates.

Crate training is great for keeping your dog safe when he’s unattended, giving him a space of his own, and potty training puppies.  Your should be a pleasant place that he enjoys spending time in.  So if he’s crying in his crate, it’s obviously not the happy place you want it to be for him.  Being stressed out isn’t good for your dog’s health.  And let’s be honest, it’s annoying to the humans and other dogs in the house, when one dog cries or fusses constantly in his crate.  No one gets any sleep, and everyone ends up miserable.

Tips to stop your dog from crying in his crate

Remember these things to stop your dog from crying in his crate

First off, never release him from the crate while he’s crying.  This reinforces to him that his fussing gets him attention and out of the crate.  Always wait until he settles down to calmly open the door.  If not, you’ll never be able to stop your dog from crying in his crate.

Be patient.  This is new to him, and possibly scary.  He just doesn’t know any better, and needs to learn.

If you dog get anxious in his crate, remove his collar and tags.  Dogs have managed to strangle themselves when their tags get caught in the crate.  With a dog that is calm, and content in his crate, this usually isn’t needed.

Always have a potty break before crating your dog.

A tired dog, is a good dog.  Especially when it comes to crate training.  A long walk, an active play session, whatever it takes to tire your dog out, should be done before crating your dog.

Always leave the door to the crate open, when your dog isn’t in it.  So that if he so chooses, he can go in it.

Never use the crate as a punishment.  You want him to have, or gain, good feelings about his crate.

Don’t put your dog in the crate when he is already crying, or fussing is you want to stop your dog from crying in his crate.  An already anxious dog will not settle down as easily.

Make the crate a comfortable, pleasant space

As long as he’s not a terribly destructive puppy, he should have a comfortable bed or blanket.  You want his crate to be a comfortable, nice space for your dog.

We also give our dogs a sturdy toy, usually a Kong Cozie stuffed animal, or a Nylabone Dura Chew, we’ve found that they hold up best to even our toughest chewers.  Make sure the toy is in good condition, and this should be a toy he gets only in his crate.  The new toys we buy become the crate toys, and we take the old crate toys to the toy box as they start to show signs of wear.  A stuffed Kong is a great toy to start with, filled right, they can keep a dog busy for a long time.

Try placing an article of your clothing, that’s been worn for a while, in his crate with him.  Your smell on the clothing will comfort your dog.

Try leaving the television or radio on.

Be patient and keep working on it – Eventually you should be able to stop your dog from crying in his crate

If your dog knows a “quiet” command, (ours in “Enough” said in a firm voice) give him the quiet command, and walk away.

Try crating your dog while you’re home at times.  You want to teach him that being in the crate doesn’t always mean that he’s going to be alone.  With multiple dogs, put their crates next to each other, or opposite of each other, so that they can see and/or hear each other to know they’re not alone.

If he starts crying, even when he can see you, talk calmly to him.  When he settles down, reward him with praise and a treat.  If hearing your voice doesn’t calm him, or gets him more wound up, try ignoring him for a while.  Again, never release him from the crate while he’s crying.  Or you’ll never get your dog to stop your dog from crying in his crate.

Change the crate, to try and get it more to his liking.  If your dog crate is a metal wire crate, try covering all but the front.  If you’re using a plastic crate, try switching to a metal/wire crate so he can see more.  Our young JRTs love to look out the windows, so we have their crates under a window, so they can see out.

If your dog gets over anxious in the crate, try having him wear a Thunder-shirt in the crate.

The exceptions to crate training

There are some dogs, who will panic when put in a crate.  They’re characterized by drooling, shaking, trying desperately to try to escape, to the point that they hurt themselves and keep trying.  If this happens, or if he actually manages to escape the crate, discontinue use of the crate.  Instead try gating him into a small, dog proof room, with a comfy bed and a safe toy.  Or if he’s a small dog, an exercise pen would work.  It is rare, but possible for a dog to be claustrophobic, and your’s may be one of them.

This post is part of the series Crate Training

Other posts in this series:

  1. Crate Training: Choosing The Right Dog Crate
  2. Crate Training: How to Crate Train your Dog
  3. Crate Training: How to Stop your dog from Crying in his Crate (Current)

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