No one said crate training would be easy, nor did they say it would be quiet!
The process can go through waves of frustration and success, with the ultimate goal of having a puppy that loves their kennel (making your life easier).
If your puppy is crying in the crate, take a deep breath and remember that this behavior is normal during the training process. It will definitely get better soon if you follow the correct guidelines.
Puppies cry because they feel lonely, need something like using the bathroom or food, or feel separated from you. Ignoring the crying doesn’t always work. Instead, make the crate super comfortable, use a stuffy heartbeat toy for lonely puppies, offer puzzle toys and other activities, allow plenty of out time, and reward quiet behavior.
In this article, I will help ease the crate yowling and wailing with some tips on stopping your puppy from crying in the crate! But, worry not, there is a solution to this.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Since dogs can’t speak to us in our native tongue, they vocalize to let us know what they may be wanting, thinking, or feeling.
Crying and whining can be due to a variety of reasons, and only you would know which one it could potentially be. The more you spend time with your dog, the better you’ll be at sorting out why your pup is crying (and this could be the quickest remedy to the noisemaking!).
First, a brand new puppy entering your home will likely cry because they’ve been separated from their mother and siblings.
When you pick up your brand new bundle, an exciting time for you can be a scary time for them. They are abruptly removed from their only known environment and only family and suddenly plopped into your home. This is not just an overwhelming experience for a puppy, but it may also make them feel lonely. Biologically, a mother dog and your puppy’s sibling will come when they hear a cry.
Secondly, your puppy may be trying to vocalize that they need something.
If you’ve left your puppy in the crate for a while, the crying can indicate a need to use the bathroom, feeling hungry or thirsty, or your puppy may be in some sort of discomfort or pain (such as feeling gassy or being too warm).
Third, your puppy could be crying because they feel separated from you or don’t want to be alone.
This tends to be the most common reason for crate crying, especially during the training process! Even if you’re in the same room as your puppy, they could still feel alone because the door is shut and they can’t get to you.
The key to this is to teach your puppy that the crate is a great place to be and that being alone isn’t a bad thing.
An old tip was always to let a puppy cry in the crate until they naturally stop - but in all truth, this isn’t really the best way to go (especially since you’ll be surprised how good your puppy’s lungs are!).
Puppies don’t cry for no reason, so resolving why your puppy cries is really the solution rather than ignoring your puppy and letting them wail.
The above being said you do have to walk a fine line of not encouraging the crying on accident.
The new rule is to wait for a 10-second pause in the wailing before entirely ignoring your crying four-legged little one. After that, pay attention to them and try to calm them down by figuring out why your pup may be crying.
To calm the crying behavior, try these five tips below.
The first thing is first: always refer back to the basics of crate training. By making the crate comfortable and a rewarding place to be, your puppy will start to enjoy the kennel rather than seeing it as a place they dread spending time in!
Feeding meals, offering treats, or giving exclusive toys in the crate might help your puppy have a good relationship with it. Use the kennel as a place to snooze and gnaw on tasty treats. The more at ease and content your puppy is in their crate, the less inclined they will be to whine when left in there!
Using lots of blankets and fluffy bedding can also encourage crate use; puppies love a soft place to snooze.
For the first few months of your puppy’s crate training, a toy intent on soothing lonely or anxious puppies can be a great idea. This can significantly ease the crying if it’s due to separation from mom and siblings!
While not a substitute for the real thing, a toy intended to comfort young puppies, such as the Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy, may be what you need.
This toy features an inbuilt pulse and heating to simulate a real animal, such as your puppy’s mother. This warmth encourages relaxation, comfort, and slumber, lulling your puppy into a peaceful rest inside of the crate.
Just be mindful that your puppy doesn’t start to chew or destroy the toy, so supervision will be necessary. There are small parts inside of the toy that your puppy can choke on!
When in doubt, give your puppy something to do so that they are way too preoccupied to cry in the crate!
If you have certain toys and goodies exclusive to crate time, your puppy will begin to associate the kennel with lots of fun, positive things. Likewise, your puppy can begin to associate the kennel door being closed and your absence with the same fun activities.
A Kong stuffed with peanut butter, a puzzle toy with treats frozen inside, and such products can all do the trick of keeping your puppy busy, their mind stimulated, and crying at bay.
Be wary of giving bones and rawhide chews to a puppy, though, as these can present a choking hazard and damage growing puppy teeth. Instead, look for puppy-friendly activity toys.
Everything is about balance and moderation - you can’t keep your puppy locked up in the crate all day long.
By offering enough out-of-the-crate time to your four-legged little one and only really using the crate when your puppy is tired and ready to relax, you can mitigate the crying behavior.
Be sure to fill out the crate time with plenty of potty breaks, physical stimulation, and mental stimulation. Setting a crate training schedule is a great idea!
Sometimes when your puppy cries, it’s because they’re worried they won’t be able to go potty. After all, you’ve left them in the crate. This is because pups soon learn to identify you with being allowed outside to relieve themselves, and most puppies despise sitting in a soiled kennel. Because young animals have poor bladder control, timing crate closures after a potty break may be the key to reducing crying.
As for stimulation (both physical and mental), why not teach your puppy a new trick if you don’t have time for a walk before each crating period? Even 15 minutes of working their little brains can put a small puppy to sleep for a long time, putting the crying at ease.
One of the fastest ways to reduce the crying is to reward the moments when your puppy is not crying!
As a general rule, puppies want to be told that they’re doing good, so consistently reinforcing what you want them to do is a big deal.
Wait for periods when your puppy is not crying and reward with a yummy treat and verbal praise.
If the puppy is crying, you don’t offer a reward. You’d be surprised how quickly your little one understands what you want!