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Dog Crying In Crate – How To Train Puppies to Like Their Crate

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Thursday 31 December 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
dog crying in crate
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Owners buy their dogs crates in order to provide a safe space for their dog to do both generally and while they are out. Therefore, when it does not bring your dog comfort, this can be quite upsetting for both parties. If your dog is crying in a crate, don’t worry, the situation is certainly not helpless.

Whether it’s a dog or puppies crying in a crate, there are different causes to consider and ways to help your furry friend. Separation anxiety, pain, and needing the toilet are all causes. There are preventative measures you can take to ensure your dog is happy and feels safe before the crying increases. We will be explaining each option in-depth for you below!

Why Do Puppies Cry in Their Crates?

When you first get a puppy, they are going to be quite clingy. A puppy crying in a crate when left alone is quite expected initially. They are young and need our presence. A crate for your puppy can be a very useful tool at their current stage of life. Not only that but all the way to the time when they are elderly.

However, that does not mean that it won’t take some time for them to adjust. Firstly, it’s something new, and every dog needs time to adjust. This applies even more so to a new puppy who will get base anxiety and separation anxiety much more prominently. Our friends want to be by our side always, but this is not always practical or even safe.

Crying is not always linked to your dog wanting to be with you though. It can also be them needing the toilet, feeling ill, and many other reasons such as being cold. Before you can treat your puppy or older dog, you need to identify why they are crying in the crate.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do they only cry occasionally or constantly?
  • Is it when you leave the room they are in or is it as soon as they enter the crate?
  • Has your dog had a recent health check-up?
  • What is the temperature of the room that the crate is in?

If you have worries or are not sure the cause, check with a behaviorist or vet.

How to Stop Your Puppy From Crying in the Crate

There are multiple ways to prevent your dog from crying in their crate. It is a process called crate training. Depending on your puppy’s personality, its age, its breed, and the crate, crate training can be more or less short.

Slowly Introduce the Crate

After you have purchased your dog a crate, you should not immediately start getting your dog to sleep in their crate for hours at a time or overnight. Change can be incredibly stressful and this can lead to an increase in negative behavior as an outlet. This can be gnawing at the bars, urinating inside the crate, and of course, crying. Never punish your dog, instead, gradually introduce your dog to their crate. Start off by including comforting things within the crate. This can be their favorite toy or blanket, and even your clothing as a source of support.

Start off by getting your dog or puppy used to entering and exiting the crate of their own accord. Reward them positively every time they enter or have been in the crate. Once they are comfortable entering the dog cage, you can place them in the cage for a minute, and once again, reward them. Work your way up to five minutes, ten minutes, and so forth until they are completely comfortable.

Just make sure to never leave your dog in a crate for longer than nine hours. Although this is the absolute maximum and for dogs that are adults, not elderly and puppies.

puppy crying in the crate
Slowly crate train your dog.

Pick the Right Crate

If a crate is not the appropriate size for your dog, or if it does not feel like a safe space for them, they will not feel comfortable inside. This can lead to your dog crying. Firstly, consider the obvious, your dog’s size. Make sure that they can comfortably enter the cage and if they struggle, purchase a larger size. You should also consider their natural sleeping position. If your dog prefers to curl up, you can just worry about their height. However, if you own a dog who likes to stretch in their sleep, you will need a wider dog crate.

More than the size, your dog’s crate should bring them comfort, and you can do so in the choice. From wire cages to wooden cages, some may offer the dog more ventilation whereas others offer your pup more shelter. The added purchase of a dog crate cover can also help your pup feel safer and happier in their crate. Also consider the bed or blankets you will be laying on the base of the crate, as they can also help your dog to feel happier.

Familiarity with the Crate

Your dog’s crate should not be used without them getting used to it, nor as a punishment. A dog crate is your pup’s safe space, somewhere they should be able to retreat to in times of stress. It should be used for good times as well as the bad, and this does not just mean positive reinforcement with treats! If you buy your dog a new toy, instead of just giving it to them, put their new excitement in the crate. They will go to their new crate and associate it with something fun and positive. You can do this with anything your dog enjoys, treats, toys, blankets, and even the time you give them attention.

Most dogs adore the attention and affectionate that we give them. To encourage them in their crate and giving them praise can be the best way to get a dog to associate their crate with something good. Stroke them, give them kisses, and make sure to call them a good dog! It’s actually been proven that many dogs prefer praise to food, so this may be more healthy and effective than treats!

Mealtime in the Crate

Another way to get your dog to positively associate their crate is to feed them their meals inside the crate. This works to get your dog to feel positive emotions about the crate, but also helps them to get used to the prospect in case they need to eat their food whilst inside the crate. Do not start by forcing your dog to go in their crate and quickly placing their meal inside, nor should you make them eat every meal inside their cage to start off with. Instead, place one of their daily meals inside the crate and allow them to go inside in their own time. Just be sure that no other pets or any children could go and grab their food, as it may take your dog some time to get there.

If they are generally nervous, it may be best to not interact with them or even encourage them into their cage, and instead allow them to do so in their own time. However, if they are nervous about the cage and benefit from your support, gently encourage them with praise and sitting by their bowl.

Crating for Shorter Time Periods

It may not be the crate that is causing your dog to cry, but the length of time that they are left in their crate for. Perhaps your dog suffers from separation anxiety, or they are elderly and need the toilet more frequently. Some dogs you cannot cage for long periods of time because of their individual needs. So accommodate that! Cage them for shorter periods of time and only when necessary. This could include leaving the house to do some shopping, but perhaps not for a shift at work. Decide how long you will be out of the house and make sure that this isn’t too long of a period for them to be withing their crate.

Exercise Your Dog

Your dog’s crying may be linked to them feeling stir crazy being locked inside of their crate. In which case, making sure they have an intense exercise session before getting them inside the crate. This can be great fun for them and put them in a great mood. More so though, it gets rid of all their energy beforehand. They will enter the crate very tired and will enjoy their much needed rest, and most likely, a good nap. Just be sure that your dog has access to some fresh, cold water while they are in the crate as they may be dehydrated after exercise.

dog stir crazy in crate
Dogs can feel antsy in crates.

Checking Your Dog’s Health

Your dog crying in their cage can be a sign of illness or pain. It is why regular health checks with your vet are so important, to identify any health problems that may be internal. Crying may be the only symptom your dog displays to show this discomfort. But what conditions would only arise within the crate? Dogs with mobility pain may ache more so after sitting or lying down for a while in crate-demanding positions, or they may simply need to walk more so. On the other hand, dogs with UTI infections may have pain before urinating and be crying to be released.

Be Aware of the Temperature

If it is too hot or too cold in the area your dog’s crate is placed in, then they can suffer detrimental consequences. From heat stroke to hypothermia, your dog’s cries could be telling you of their discomfort and trying to convey it. They cannot leave the situation, nor the temperature, so be sure it is appropriately placed. If you live in a hot area or cold and need to cage your dog, then you must provide them what they need. If the temperature is high, your dog may need a cool mat, fan, and a high supply of water. Whereas in a cold area they will need blankets, a thermal bed, and maybe even a heated one.

Ignore the Behavior

If you know your dog is healthy, happy otherwise, and everything else is in order, it may be time not to give in to their attention. Sometimes dogs cry for our acknowledgment, and we have to draw a line. It may be a case of ignoring your dog and allowing them to calm down. However, we recommend doing so with the recommendations of a vet or a behaviorist. A dog crying is usually a sign for them to communicate something is wrong, so never assume you should directly take this path of action.

When Should You Worry About Your Dog’s Crying?

You need to worry about your dog’s crying if it is constant, highly excessive in the crate, or leads to negative and harmful behavior. Anxiety can be incredibly distressing for dogs and can affect their mental and physical health. So even if the whining stems from something without vet interference, it is still crucial that you seek the aid of a profession. Also, be aware of other signs that could indicate a physical illness that may need a vet visit.

Dog Crying in Crate – FAQ

To help you in every way we can, we have composed the most searched questions on the internet about your dog crying in a crate and answered them below.

How long should you let a dog cry in a crate for?

It depends on the urgency of their crying accompanied by any other symptoms. Analyze their behavior along with your environment to determine if the crying needs aid or interference. If your vet or behaviorist has advised you to ignore your dog crying, then be sure to ask them for the recommended time as well.

Does putting a blanket over a dog crate help?

A blanket does usually help your dog feeling comfortable in a crate. This is because the darkness is calming and can help to prevent anxiety. It’s why so many owners recommend buying a dog crate cover for this exact purpose.

Is it cruel to crate a dog at night?

It is cruel to keep a dog in a cage for many hours, however, as long as they are given a pee break and are already comfortable with the crate, it is not. Dogs need the provision of water, an appropriately spaced cage, and not too much time locked away.

Can a puppy cry itself to death?

A puppy cannot cry itself to death but it can make itself feel ill with anxiety and give itself a sore throat from crying. Make sure that no puppy is left too long in a cage, they need attention and love more so than an adult dog. They are never crying to frustrate you, just to be noticed.

What is a good crate alternative for dogs?

There are many great alternatives to dog crates including doggy playpens, safety gates to keep your dog in a room, and even taking them to doggy daycare.

Always remember that your dog is crying in their crate for a reason. Do not punish them, take time to figure out why they are behaving this way and how you can help them.

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