How to Stop Puppy Barking and Crying in CrateApr 21, 2023
It’s important to note that some barking or crying in the crate from your puppy is normal at the beginning. The acclimation period of crate training is about 2 weeks. If, after 2 weeks, they still whine and bark a lot in the crate, it’s time to take action and help your puppy through this.
Puppies develop a lot of anxiety when put in the crate or when the owners leave the house for various reasons.
- Maybe your puppy was never left alone and has no idea how to deal with that.
- Maybe your puppy was not properly cared for by the breeder or taken from their mother and litter mates too soon.
- Maybe you might have reinforced the anxiety by talking to them while they are barking and crying in the crate.
What can you do?
Get a camera and record what happens when you leave your puppy in the crate after you leave the house. What you find in the video footage is crucial for developing a plan to help you with the training.
Reframe your goal from stopping the barking and crying to teaching the puppy what you want instead: to be calm and quiet in the crate. Whenever you focus on the problem, you get more of the problem. When you focus on the outcome, you get more of that.
You must think about teaching your puppy something positive instead of stopping or fixing their behavior. Remember that they are puppies, and they basically know nothing about life. You have to be their leader and teacher.
Focusing on your puppy being calm in the crate lets you create a list of ways to achieve this goal. I will help you get started with this list. It is up to you to expand on this list and follow through.
- Help your puppy develop a positive association with the crate by feeding them their meals there. Also, playing games with your puppy, going into the crate to fetch a toy or treat, and calling them out of the crate playfully and happily will allow them to associate fun and good things with the crate.
- Help your puppy learn to relax in the crate and that it’s not a torture device. Try putting the crate in a location where the puppy can see you. Try moving it to the living room if they cry or bark with the crate in the bedroom. Explore your options and see what works best. Place a bully stick, Lickimat, or stuffed Kong in their crate with them.
- Help your puppy learn that it’s not the end of the world when you leave. If your puppy is very attached to you and can’t leave the house without them crying in the crate, you will have to start with a very short duration of 30-60 seconds and build up from there. Once you get to the puppy being calm for 10-15 minutes, you should be OK.
- Help your puppy desensitize to departure cues, such as the sound of the front door closing or you grabbing your keys to leave. This is the hardest part. If you are unsuccessful on your own, you should consider hiring a CSAT (Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer) to help you. This is usually done virtually so you can work with any CSAT anywhere in the world.
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These are just a few things you can do to help your puppy not bark or cry in the crate. Here is a great article from the ASPCA about separation anxiety. This is not my expertise. I am only here to pass on some useful resources to you.
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