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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 he won’t stop crying and whining? Well, it’s time you take the lead. Crate training a puppy can be frustrating, to say the least, 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 His Crate?
For sure, but it’s important that you ease him into it the right way. Dogs are instinctively den animals, and they find comfort in having their own pad. But first, puppies need assurance that their new crate is a safe, inviting place — not a cage that serves as a long-term babysitter or a tool for punishment (it’s not a time out chair). Easier said than done, right? If you take the lead and follow the steps in our article, Crate Training Your Puppy: The Key To A Pee-Free Home, it can be a relatively painless process. Remember: keep your eye on the prize! Your end goal is for your puppy to want to be in his crate!
Why Is Your Puppy Still Whining in His Crate?
So, you followed the initial crate training steps, but he’s still whining. It could be that you went through the process too quickly for him. Try again more gradually. If he continues to whine, don’t go to him or pay attention to him. He’ll quickly learn that whining will get your attention, and then you’ve got a major problem on your hands. It’s not only okay for your puppy to be in his crate alone, it’s actually beneficial for his future behavior and temperament — it fosters independence and helps stave off later issues with separation anxiety.
With that said, it’s important that you don’t overuse his crate or make it a place of punishment. Leaving a puppy in his crate for long periods of time or putting him in there too frequently can be a cause of his whining and crying. Dogs are extremely social animals and need companionship.
If you do have to crate him more than you’d like at certain times (long workday, tons of errands to run, etc.), make sure you spend time playing with him or taking him 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 for him, ask a neighbor or hire a pet sitter to give him a break. The more attention he has while outside of his crate means less time whining and crying when he’s crated.
What About a Puppy Whining at Night?
You don’t have to lose sleep over your puppy whining in his crate at night. First, you need to make sure you’ve taken care of his needs before it’s bedtime.
Is He 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 him on a long walk and play with him so he burns off that energy.
Does He Need to Relieve Himself?
This is key, especially for puppies whose bladders can’t last long. Make sure your puppy does all his business outside as close to bedtime as possible. Don’t worry — the older he gets, the longer he’ll last!
Is His Crate Comfortable?
Make sure you have good bedding and some of his favorite toys in his crate for the night. Consider the room temperature where his crate is located. Puppies and smaller dog breeds can get chilly pretty easily, so make sure it’s not too cold where you’ve placed his crate. And if his crate is too large, he could feel intimidated. Read our article on choosing the best crate for your dog for some recommendations.
If you’ve done all you can to satisfy his basic needs, consider putting him to bed with a chewable treat or toy that will keep him occupied until he gets sleepy. The key concept here? Distraction! If he continues to whine, don’t go to him. The same problem will arise — if you acknowledge his whining with attention, he’ll learn that all he has to do is whine and you’ll be there. As hard as it might be, let him settle himself down. After a few nights, he should be trained to know that whining and crying in his crate won’t get him anywhere.
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 his crate. You don’t want an ongoing battle with your pup.
Remember Why You’re Doing the Tough Training
It’s not easy being a puppy — he’s in a new place, away from his mom and litter. Try to remember that it’s all new to him, and he needs time and reassurance to adjust. As time-consuming and frustrating as crate training might be at first, your hard work will surely pay off in the long run!
What methods have you found effective to curb your puppy crying in his crate?