Dogs best communicate with us through vocalizations as humans aren’t always the best at picking up body language.
Still, barking can be a huge nuisance if you live in an apartment or shared living space. A puppy barking in the crate is especially problematic, as the kennel is meant to be a quiet and relaxed space for your little one to be when you’re too busy to watch them.
But, don’t worry, it’s possible to make the barking stop!
Puppies bark because they want out, are stressed or frustrated, have too much energy, dislike being in the crate, have a basic need that isn’t met, or something outside is bothering them. Rewarding quietness, taking the puppy out when they’re quiet, offering exercise and mental stimulation, covering the crate, and using an activity toy are all ways to quell barking.
In this article, I will help you stop the crate barking, so don’t give up hope!
Ready? Let’s begin.
To understand why puppies bark in the crate, let’s visit why puppies bark at all. To start, different vocalizations tend to mean different things:
Now, understanding what the different barks are could lead to why a puppy is barking in their crate. Here are some of the reasons a dog may bark in their kennel, with you being best to determine which is most accurate:
If your puppy is uncomfortable with the crate, being locked in the kennel can cause stress or frustration.
This is why it’s so important to gradually go through the crate training process so that your pup becomes more comfortable with the kennel. Your dog could be barking because they simply dislike the crate and don’t want to be locked in there.
If your puppy hasn’t had their physical or mental needs met, barking could be because they have an excess of energy that needs to be burned. This is similar to us humans having a hard time laying down if we haven’t moved enough that day and have a lot of energy to burn!
Barking is a way for your puppy to burn the energy that is bubbling inside of them and let you know that they have energy bubbling inside of them.
Because your puppy depends on you for bathroom relief, filling an empty belly, and quenching a thirst, they could be barking to let you know one of these fundamental needs hasn’t been met.
This is where having a good daily routine with crate time revolving around meeting these necessities is a good idea.
If your pup hears something outside or sees something in their vicinity that bothers them, the barking could be an alert to let you know. If you ignore this alert, the barking could become more and more rampant.
Barking is how dogs speak and communicate, so fully disallowing this isn’t always the healthiest thing to do (as you wouldn’t want someone to stifle your own voice, would you?).
However, the key is to teach your dog when barking is appropriate and when it is not. For example, barking outside in the park is appropriate; barking incessantly in a crate is not.
So, to show your dog that barking in the crate isn’t appropriate, should you ignore them? Yes and no.
If your puppy is demand-barking, as in, they’re barking to be let out because they want attention or your response, then ignoring it can show your dog that barking won’t get them what they want.
However, if the barking is due to fear, stress, anxiety, alerting or having a need that must be met (such as going to the bathroom), you’re only going to cause further issues by not paying attention to your dog.
Because it can take some time to learn what all of your puppy’s different barks mean, it’s best to only ignore the barking if you’re absolutely positive that it is due to demand and not something else.
If you’re not sure, you need to check on your dog and figure out what is causing the upset. But, make sure to wait for at least a small space of silence to not encourage the barking as much.
There are a few different ways to discourage crate barking, primarily revolving around your dog understanding that the barking is not a wanted behavior.
First, always refer back to the basics of crate training. Your dog should quell their woofing desires by sticking thoroughly with the crate training basics while also rewarding non-barking behavior.
Rewarding your puppy when they aren’t barking is one of the quickest strategies to minimize the nuisance behavior. Puppies like to be told that they’re doing a good job, so reiterating what you want them to do (or not to do) is crucial. Your validation teaches a dog the most.
Every time your dog stops barking, offer a reward. This reward can be a high-value treat, praise, pets, or even out time from the kennel!
You have to associate quiet behavior with something your puppy really values. If your puppy is barking, don’t offer any sort of reward. You can even push on this behavior further by telling your dog to quiet down and reward them for listening to your words when your dog gets quiet.
Your puppy will quickly begin to associate being quiet with receiving something good, and your praise validates that belief system that your puppy will form.
Sometimes, the crate’s location is the real catalyst in why your puppy is barking.
If the crate is placed too close to an entryway like the front door or backyard, in a room with lots of hustle and bustle, or in a room that is far too isolated from everything, then this location may be what is prompting the constant woofing.
The fastest way to stop unfavorable behaviors before they start is to ensure your dog is stimulated enough to satisfy their mental and physical needs. Many unpleasant behaviors stem from pent-up energy, boredom, and not having a positive outlet.
Set a good crate training routine that includes plenty of walks, playtime, trick training, and puzzles to keep a healthy mind and body for your puppy. This should resolve a lot more than just nuisance barking as well!
The darker the crate, the more enticing sleep will be. By covering the crate, you can block out outside elements that could distract your puppy, disturb your puppy, and otherwise make your puppy want to bark. By truly simulating a den experience, your puppy will be less inclined to bark and more encouraged to sleep!
Just make sure that you aren’t overheating your dog by covering their crate without proper ventilation.
There are so many wonderful toys to use in a dog’s crate that you can easily distract your puppy from barking by preoccupying them!
This is similar to giving a child a coloring book during dinner at a restaurant; focusing on an activity keeps them too busy to misbehave.
Look into the various crate toys that encourage long-term engagement, such as a puzzle toy with treats hidden inside.
Believe it or not, scientific studies have shown that playing soft rock, classical music, and reggae to a dog barking out of stress or anxiety can help significantly reduce these negative feelings.
The music gives your dog something to focus on, and it can soothe them significantly. Animal shelters actually use this technique to help relieve anxious behaviors.
It’s okay if you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of getting your puppy to stop barking; it’s certainly not as easy in actuality as it may sound on paper.
Ensuring the barking stops quickly can be a pretty important situation to resolve for some living situations. It can be a good idea to consult a professional dog trainer specializing in nuisance behaviors.
Make sure the trainer you use is truly certified in their craft and knowledgeable in calming dog barking. Be sure to ask a lot of questions!