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Is your new puppy more whine than roses when he’s in his crate? Is the joy of your new family member wearing thin because it won’t stop crying and whining? Well, it’s time you take the lead.
Crate training a puppy can be frustrating, but the earlier you start, the better. The good news is — there’s a lot you can do to nip the crate whining in the bud, so it doesn’t become a prolonged problem.
Will Your Puppy Ever Like Its Crate?
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Why Is Your Puppy Still Whining In Its Crate?
So, you followed the initial crate training steps, but your dog is still whining. It could be that you went through the process too quickly. Try again more gradually. If your dog continues to cry, don’t go to it or pay attention to it. It’ll quickly learn that whining will get your attention, and then you’ve got a significant problem on your hands. It’s not only okay for your puppy to be in its crate alone, but it’s also beneficial for future behavior and temperament — it fosters independence and helps stave off later issues with separation anxiety.
With that said, it’s crucial that you don’t overuse the crate or make it a place of punishment. Leaving a puppy in its crate for long periods of time or putting it there too frequently can be a trigger for whining and crying. Dogs are incredibly social animals and need companionship.
If you do have to crate your dog more than you’d like (long workday, tons of errands to run, etc.), make sure you spend time playing with or taking it on a walk in between crate times. And don’t forget that a puppy’s bladder can’t go for long periods of time without relief. According to the Animal Humane Society, leaving a puppy in a crate for an 8-10 hour workday is “not an appropriate way” to crate train. If you have times when you can’t be there, ask a neighbor or hire a pet sitter to give your pup a break. The more attention it has while outside of the crate means less time whining and crying once back in the crate.
What About A Puppy Whining At Night?
You don’t have to lose sleep over your puppy whining in its crate at night. First, you need to make sure you’ve taken care of its needs before bedtime.
Is It Actually Tired?
Puppies have a lot of energy (as you well know!), and they need to work it out before going in their crate at night. Take your dog on a long walk and play with it, so it burns off that energy.
Does It Need To Relieve Itself?
Bathroom breaks are critical, especially for puppies whose bladders can’t last long. Make sure your puppy does all its business outside as close to bedtime as possible. Don’t worry — the older it gets, the longer it’ll last!
Is The Crate Comfortable?
Make sure you have good bedding and some of its favorite toys in the crate for the night. Consider the room temperature in the crate room. Puppies and smaller dog breeds can get chilly quickly, so make sure it’s not too cold where you’ve placed the crate. And if the crate is too large, your dog could feel intimidated. Read our article on choosing the best crate for your dog for some recommendations. Or if you’ve got the space, you might try a larger playpen.
If you’ve done all you can to satisfy your pup’s basic needs, consider putting it to bed with a chewable treat or toy that will keep it occupied until it gets sleepy. This will distract your dog. If it continues to whine, don’t go to it. The same problem will arise — if you acknowledge your dog’s whining with attention, it’ll learn that all it has to do is whine and you’ll be there. As hard as it might be, let your dog settle itself down. After a few nights, it should be trained to know that whining and crying in the crate won’t get it anywhere.
Video: Don’t Say No To The Crate
We couldn’t resist sharing this funny video of what can happen if your dog doesn’t like its crate. You don’t want an ongoing battle with your pup.
Remember Why You’re Doing The Tough Training
It’s not easy housebreaking a puppy — remember, it is in a new place, away from its mom and litter. Try to remember that this is an all new environment, and it needs time and reassurance to adjust. As time-consuming and frustrating as crate training (and other puppy behavior problems) might be at first, your hard work will surely pay off in the long run! And if you still find yourself struggling, you might look into professional training (especially while your dog is young). We recommend Doggy Dan’s online course or a local dog trainer.
What methods have you found effective to curb your puppy crying in his crate?
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