Got a Crate Squawker?

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Recently I have had a few questions about those of you that have crate whiners!

I HATE whining!  I can almost tolerate full out barking before I can tolerate the sound of whining.  I guess it is the pitch and my tendency toward migraines but whining is one of my biggest pet peeves, so I completely understand!

That’s why I ALWAYS train my dog’s these 7 Brain RE-training Games for dogs to teach him how to keep this impulse under control.

But, it is important to understand crate training from your dog’s stand point before we go much further!

What it’s Like for Your Dog

Most whining and crying comes from our puppies when we try to crate train them.  Understand that they come from a world where they lived with their mom and their littermates in a fairly confined space.  They have never really experienced being all ALONE and it can be kind of scary, at first.

Dogs are den animals, that is true, so acclimating to a crate is somewhat natural for dogs, however they are never “locked” in their dens.  This inability to get our takes some acclimation and the understanding that nothing bad is going to happen to them in this new environment.

Most of our pets are spoiled.  We take our dogs with us and spend lots of time with them, catering to their every need; so they can be taken aback when we lock them up and leave them alone.

Crates are CRITICAL

But, crates are essential to the safety of your dog and your “stuff”.   Read more about why to use a crate and crate games here in my article The Joys of Crate Training.

I will always crate train my dogs.  It makes them easier to travel with, because their home can travel with them, and it helps them with separation anxiety and anxiety at the groomer and the vet hospital.  At some point almost ALL dogs will have to be crated or caged somewhere.  Just last week I had to drop my dog off for x-rays and I know she was put in a kennel to await her turn!

So it is crucial not to give up!  Remember it is normal for your dog to protest and how you deal with these protests will set you up for a lifetime of loud protests if you are not careful!

What Do You Do?

puppy screams in crate

Crate Training will Save you From this Destruction!

First and foremost is to acclimate your puppy or dog to the crate to the best of your ability.

Also play crate games!  The more you can make the crate a fun place the less stress and screaming you are going to get when you leave your or puppy in it!

Good training and the important things in your dog’s life take time!  Don’t just shove your dog in and lock the door and hope he will be okay.  Chances are this would be traumatic for him.

Find an extra great treat, like a sterile cow bone or Kong stuffed with peanut butter or chicken flavor; freeze it and make it a special crate treat.  It must be safe enough to leave with your puppy or dog alone.  So, make sure he can’t get large pieces off of it or shred it.

I never leave a blanket with a dog that is not crate trained.  He could consume it and need abdominal surgery to have it removed.

These special crate treats should ONLY come out when he is in his crate NEVER when he is with you or just around the house.  This makes his crate exciting and him happy to see you leave.  If he has access to the same treat all of the time or at other frequent times it doesn’t make the crate special.

Leave a radio on and make it LOUD.  We live in a world of constant noise and media.  Many of us live in an environment full of noise, the TV, computer, kids screaming, people talking, music playing…but when we leave our dogs alone we leave them in a quiet and sterile environment.  This is not something they are use to and it can be scary alone!  Help them feel like they are in their normal environment by leaving the radio or TV on for them.

Loud background sounds also block the sound of the mailman, delivery man, or other strange noises.  It can also help to calm a puppy in his while you putter around the house and get things done.  But if you leave that puppy alone in his crate and proceed to make noises he can hear, he is more likely to resist vocally!

At night I believe in keeping the crate next to my bed.  I think it is crucial for my dogs to hear that I am right next to them breathing and moving around.  Remember your puppy is use to hearing his littermates, he needs to hear some familiar sounds.  If he stirs in the middle of the night I can hear him and take him outside.  But if he cries, whimpers, or whines when I put him in there I can tap on the side of the crate and tell him to be quiet.  This stops the whimper from escalating to a howl.

Never ever break the cardinal rule!

The cardinal rule, you ask?

puppy screams in crate

Puppies Should Love their Crates!

Don’t Let a Screaming Dog or Puppy Win!

You must teach your dog that in order to get out of his crate he must be quiet!  This is essential!

Dogs are much more strong willed than we are, so if he screams for 2 hours straight and you go to let him out he will object even more adamantly the next time you put him in and 3 or 4 hours will be nothing.

By letting out a dog that is throwing a fit, you are basically saying “YES! Please throw a fit when you want something”.  And you are much more likely to see this behavior anytime he doesn’t want to do something.  He will begin to scream when you leave him alone in the car, or alone in your home, or if he doesn’t want his nails trimmed.  You have taught him that fit throwing and screaming to gets him what he wants.

Instead, you must teach him that being quiet is what you want.  If he wants out of his crate he must be quiet, this teaches him impulse control and that he doesn’t get everything that he wants when he wants it.  Impulse control is fundamental to good dog training.

Tricks

Exhausted dogs and puppies are too tired to scream.  If I have a dog that is a screamer or likely to throw a fit, I will wear him out prior to his crate stay!  Play ball, run him next to your bike, or take him for a hike and as he begins to drift off slip him into his crate.

I have had screaming puppies!  I had a 6 week old puppy that screamed for nearly 4 hours one night but I didn’t let him win.  I lost a night’s sleep, but it was better than losing several nights sleep or worrying about squishing a puppy in my bed!

puppy screams in crate

Your Dog’s Crate Should be his Favorite Spot!

Shorter sessions are better.  This makes sense but if you leave a dog for 8 hours that can be hard to adjust.  If however you do 10 minutes when he is exhausted, with a safe chew bone, and end on a happy note you will ease into crate training much easier!   Make sure he is tired before bedtime!

If rapping on the crate doesn’t work to quiet my puppies or being by the bed doesn’t seem to help them feel better, I try moving the crate as far away from my bedroom as possible so they can scream without bothering me.  I can later bring the crate back into my room, but this allows me to get some sleep.

I have even moved crates to my air conditioned office that was located in my garage.  I have let quite a few dogs scream it out.  Once I know they aren’t going to hurt themselves, I let them throw a fit.  This is like a child throwing a tantrum, if you give in it only gets worse.  As long as they are safe, let them learn that fit throwing will get them nowhere.

At some point you may have to let a screaming puppy out to potty and we know you can’t break the cardinal rule…so how do you win?

You make a distracting noise and get ready to praise a quiet puppy.  If you can’t wait for them to fall asleep and then surprise them, then make a strange noise and when they pause run down and reinforce quietness.

But overall make it as positive and fun as you possibly can!  There are going to be some fits, that is normal but how you deal with them is the most important!  Remember you are the stronger smarter animal 😉

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There are 206 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    I just got a 3month old pit bull. I went to the store to but a leash n colar cuz he didn’t have one. I brought him home and as I got out the car I put the collar on him n he started throwing a fit. I finally got it on him n I picked him up out the car n sat him on the ground n put his leash on. He screamed n would not move. I started calling him but he would not move. I even tugged on the leash n he did not move he just got louder. I picked him up n carried him up stairs and he got up n didn’t really do a lot if moving. I gave him a treat n he started warming up to my apt. He played with me n my son for a while. It got late so I put him in his crate. N he screamed. I took him out n when I put the leash on he screamed and pulled. I put him back in and he screamed for a hour and then stopped. This Is only day 1 how should I go about getting him leash n crate trained right?

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  2. Tammie Jones says:

    I have a new 8 week old Daschund puppy who has become very attached to me. I am trying to crate train him for when we are gone. I left him for a little less than 2 hours tonight and came home to find his face and ears completely wet. He had drooled or slobbered that much! I have read that some dogs cannot be crate trained due to trauma. What else can be done?

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    Minette Reply:

    I’ve never seen a dog that “couldn’t be crate trained” I think that is an excuse.

    Sometimes you have to choose smaller time frames, play crate games and reward often. If you use the search bar at the top of the page you will find articles on all of those

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  3. Tammie Jones says:

    My question regarding trauma was something I had read. I’ve had 3 dogs and none of them wet their face salivating when left in the crate. I successfully crate trained my previous dog of the same breed. If I were making excuses I would not have asked this question. I find your comment incomplete and to be quite honest, offensive. For one who is supposed to be an expert, I would think you would have better word choices. And please tell me how it is possible to choose smaller time frames when one MUST go somewhere?
    The same thing happened today after leaving him for an hour and 1/2, the minimum time I HAD to be gone. I have put him in his crate on a daily basis for small periods of time. It appears is not the crate that is the issue as he will go in and out of the crate to play at times. It is being separated from me. He barks and carries on when he is in the crate and can see me in the other room. If I use a gate and step across, he immediately begins to whine. If my husband is holding him and I am in the room he wants to be put down in order to come to me. I am doing my best to raise a well-behaved dog. I did not do anything to have this occur, but I am looking for help to find ways to make it better. Your reply was absolutely NO help. I suppose if I were to buy your videos, It might be different? Well, no thank you.

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  4. Jeff Kahn says:

    I have an 8 week old Labradoodle. I’ve had her for 3 days and we’re cratig her. She always crys and whines and I always end up sitting next to her until she falls back asleep. Is that ok for me to do or is that letting her ‘win’?

    I live in a NYC apt so I can’t really let her cry for 4 hours or my neighbors would hate me. Any advice?

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    Minette Reply:

    Doggy day care or dog walker

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  5. Jeff Kahn says:

    No this is for night time

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  6. Sandra Gilbert says:

    My mixed terrier that I got 2 months ago from the humane society is 5 years old and not house trained. I’ve never had a male before and never had to crate train. I’m getting frustrated trying to house train him. Any suggestions?

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    Minette Reply:

    We have many free articles on potty training, use the search bar at the top of the page to search for articles you are interested in.

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  7. Joanne says:

    I have recently accquired a 6 month old lurcher. I have always crated previous pets (all similar breeds) without an issue. In fact with most Greyhounds they prefer the crate to a normal bed as it becomes a safe place.

    However, this dog appears to become extremely anxious. We are having to use the crate as I am out of the house for 4 hours a day, 4 days a week.
    When we are in the house he is as good as gold, when we are out he has accidents and can have a tendency to chew, which we cannot have. I am determined to keep going, but could do with some more advice.

    Being familiar with crate training in the past, I have done all of the usual things. I introduced it in a fun way when I was in the house, I have fed him in there. I have shut him in and stayed in the room and then let out so he associates with safe time. When we are at home, we leave the door open and he very often will just use as a general bed, very happy to trot in and out.
    However the trouble does start when he cannot see us. I have tried to go out of the room and then leave for an hour and come back in the room, ignore him, just to reassure I am in, he stops momentarily then starts again.
    His behaviour is constant loud barking, following by bouts of clawing and chewing at the bars. He has bent 4 of the bars by chewing and biting and this is a very sturdy metal crate! I have left him for an hour at a time and the most he has been quiet was less than 5 minutes, then he starts again. He is attacking the bars and trying to get out. I need desperately to increase the time he can be left as my work is becoming affected. I always leave the radio on loud for him and give him a big bone AND kong. He will NOT touch them whilst we are not there, not even a sniff. As soon as we come back he immediately goes to the bone, but I have been taking it away.
    Today we tried again for 1 hour, he had been for an hour walk, lots of fast running and recall, he was shattered, however after being placed immediately on return to the house in the crate, the distress and barking began straight away.
    I would really value any other advice. I have read all of the previous comments and tried everything. Nothing seems to calm him down. I really need to crack this. I do have will power and I see the huge benefits to crate training from previous experience, however this dog appears to be different and more problematic! Please help.

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  8. Donna says:

    Hi iv had my bision frise 7 weeks she is 11 months old someone was giving her away basically not tiolet trained at all so crate was the way she s fine at night goes in easliy it’s in *kitchen* my other dog also has crate there well get up in morning she whining g I stand in fromt of crate for 2 ..3 mi s for her to quite she does because she really need tiolet I make her with I’d she tries to rush out and sits goes to tiolet 15 mins in garedn and I have to do school runs so back in crate .. well that’s where it starts whines insistently all day she never shuts up 4 hours later still whining have to listen to it get louder when I make my breakfast been told. All over net don’t let out untill quite! That would be good if she did .. have no idea not got any better in 6 weeks I’m thinking of selling it’s getting me down where I don’t even go in kitchen or wana open and close my doors cause she gets louder and louder .. iv ignored her never given in I’m too stubborn..

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  9. Donna says:

    Oh as per my post she has a hour walk and then a run on beach every day when she quiten down enough for me to stand and wait for hush.. but this takes her from 8.30 am till about 1pm so about 2 pm untill4 when I collect daughter and put in crate to dry of ..so 2 hours excersise but still whines to get out straight away .. to get out crate
    ..

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  10. Tiffany says:

    He was crate trained, we thought. And, was quiet all night. And, just recently, he started to whine, bark, and howl. I don’t know what happened.

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  11. M riddell says:

    My bichion frise barks all day when l leave him what can l do to stop it

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    Minette Reply:

    Make sure he is tired when you leave and crate while you are home too http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/top-5-reasons-dog-crate-train/

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  12. HInna Amjad says:

    i brought home an 8 week Morkie and let him have free reign of the house. I have been trying to teach him to use puppy pads while I am at work, but he doesnt seem to want to use them. He is now about 11 weeks old. He does go potty outside, but while I am at work he tends to go everywhere but his pee pad. I have been considering crating him while i am away.

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    Minette Reply:

    Yes!! Crate train and don’t use potty pads

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  13. Jodi says:

    We brought a Morkie DOB 1-12-17 home. We have had him for a month now. You are brave foe letting him loose in the house. We can’t do that. We had success for about 3 weeks with a Iris panel playpen, but within the last 2 weeks he has pushed and moved it and now we are back to the crate with only hard toys. I’ve recorded him with my iPad he screeches and chews the crate bars during the day and will bark so much he vomits his breakfast. I have tried a frozen king with peanut butter and now on the weekend I’ve tried putting him in there while we are home. We haul it back upstairs for night bedtime with fluffy bedding and sleeps beside me in it for 8 hrs no prob. The day time separation is brutal on him. I do come home for lunch for mid day break. No potty in crate.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Exercise him until he is exhausted when you leave.

    He sleeps in there for 8 hours… but then you leave him all day… he needs more exercise and stimulation.

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  14. Mary says:

    Hi!
    I just adopted a spaniel/receiver mix puppy, about 11 weeks old. I’ve been crate training her for about a week, using a lot of these tips. It’s going okay, but I had a question about letting her out in the middle of the night.

    The routine seems to be I put her in her crate, she whines for 20-30 mins, settles down and sleeps until 3, wakes up and whines, I let her out to pee (when she is quiet) then immediately back in the crate until morning. This worked well until last night.

    Last night she went in her crate and was quiet (!) until 1:30 and then started crying, I let her out to potty when she quieted down, but she was also up at 3 and 5.

    My question is, even if I don’t let her out until she is quiet, and it’s only for potty, am I still reinforcing letting her out if she’s crying. I am very dedicated to not reinforcing this, but also want to make sure she is getting out if she can’t hold it.

    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I put my puppy’s crate next to my bed so that I can hear them get up and get a little restless. I try not to wait for the whine, so instead I am rewarding the behavior of getting up and moving around.

    I also try to make sure that my puppy is tired by exercising him an hour or so before I take him to bed.

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  15. Ken says:

    Hi
    I just got my 8week old lab today! He is attached to me. The first time I put him in the crate he screamed bloody marry. I wanted to cry. I kept him in for 5 minutes and did that about 4 times. I took him out to pee and ran him a little and he came in and I put him in and he went to sleep. I did that again after dinner and before bed. His crate is too big to go in my room so i have to keep in the den. Im wondering if I should just sleep in the den tonight because if he sees me leave he will cry. Idk what to do

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    At some point puppies need to self soothe just like babies need to learn to self soothe. I prefer a crate in my room, but it is up to you where you put the crate. Changing your sleeping routine is a big change that I would try to avoid if possible.

    [Reply]

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