My 6 month old puppy hates his crate. He cries every night when we put him in it. He has gotten better though. He now only cries for 5-10 minutes (as opposed to an hour). I thought dogs were supposed to like their bed. We have never used it for punishment, we put his favorite toy in there with him and a few treats. If he needs to go out in the middle of the night, sure enough, put him back in the crate and all you hear is crying and whining. Any suggestions?
Katie from Albany, NY
I crate trained my dog when she was a puppy too! Don't give up! You are doing the right thing by not using it for punishment. I would put a blanket over the top at night (kinda what you would do with a bird). She knew that it was night time and would go to sleep. Worth a try! If she can't see you walking around, etc. maybe she won't cry. Also, try to say the same thing to her each night, like "it's time for bed, good night fluffy!" (05/26/2006)
We crate trained our Poodle. Took him out to go potty, played a while and put him back in. He was out for about 45 minutes at time. Gradually we increased the time. By the time he was 6 months old he was completely house trained. Yes, he went in there when he was naughty. He also knew that was his naughty place and went in on his own when he was naughty. Then looked as us all sad to make us feel guilty. After he was 6 months old we only put him in if we had company with small kids. He lived to be 13 and a lot of times he would go in there to sleep. We always left the door open. Don't give up. it will work. :) (05/26/2006)
To help them sleep at night, wrap a hot water bottle inside a shirt with your smell on it. That helps them feel secure and warm, puppies need that! (05/27/2006)
My dogs didn't like the crate either at first. It may take some time getting used to. One thing that I still have trouble doing, but I should not do is, when you put the dog in the crate don't apologize and act all sad that the dog is going into the crate. Remind yourself it is for her protection, etc. I see moms do this when they leave a baby for the babysitter. "oh sweetie mommy will be right back, oh I love you gush gush". Then the babysitter is left with a hysterical baby because mom feels guilty. Anyway also make sure the crate is in a room that you live in frequently, not the garage, but the living room, den, or kitchen. It needs to be where your smell is. (05/30/2006)
In addition to the above you might try always feeding your puppy in the crate until they are crate trained. You are right not to rescue your puppy by getting it out the minute it cries. Only get your puppy out when he is quiet, unless he/she is crying to go potty. You can tell if you listen each time which it is. Good luck. It is much easier if the breeder starts crate training when the puppy is very young. (05/31/2006)
I suggest you put the crate in your bedroom if
possible. My Cocker sleeps in his crate in our
bedroom. It is a small bedroom, but being
crowded is worth it if I have a happy dog. (05/31/2006)
When my Labs were pups they finally learned to enjoy their cages as an "escape" from the world (like our bedroom is for us) by giving them a very soft nightlight (like the energy saving ones that give off the green glow) and playing the radio really softly until they got used to the fact that nighttime is a naturally quiet time. (06/01/2006)
The obvious solution! Don't make him sleep in it! If he hates it so much you are actually torturing the poor little thing by forcing him to stay in it. Find him something else ASAP! (07/07/2006)
Sorry, I know I'm in the minority. but I don't believe in crating a dog. I have three dachshunds, one of which is 10 years old and adopted this past June. The other two are 8 and 11. I have had the first two since they were babies. The only time we have ever used a crate was when one of my guys had disc surgery and for his own good was not allowed to be loose for a few months. He didn't mind the cage, but he had to be carried in/out for a few months to go do his business and had a full time babysitter (my dad) when I wasn't home. Yes he recovered fully. My guys have a doggie door with a ramp and a fenced yard for when they want to go out. I think as long as they are trained right from the start and have things to play with you don't need a crate. Even my new guy is well behaved. To me a crate is punishment and my furry children will never be crated. (09/19/2006)
My dog isn't too particular about her crate. She used to soil it even if I left her in it for 10 minutes. This is what I did that I believe has worked. I put the crate in an area that we hang out in all of the time (family room/rec room), and I put a dog bed in there with her food and water dishes. Every time I left I put two treats under her pillow. She stopped soiling her crate after that (she had a couple of more accidents) but all in all she vastly improved.
Okay on the crying at night. I just seriously started crating her at night. She is 10 months now. I used to crate her and have her in the room with me when I first got her and it was horrible. She would cry and bark and bang on her crate all night, not for just one hour. I feel that once I got her used to being in it during the day with the treat and all, she was better at night. Yes, she would still cry, but not as long. What really helped was an electronic training collar. On the e-collar is a button for shocking and a tone button. Every time she whined at night I used the button on the collar that has a tone and that works. I once had to used the shock and after the shock I didn't hear a peep until morning. The tone portion of the collar is a method used to warn the pup that a shock may be delivered if she doesn't stop the unwanted behavior. (01/08/2007)
We have used crates for 2 dogs, one we adopted when she was 8 years old, and she had been neglected (chained up in a backyard for 6 years). She quickly developed a severe case of separation anxiety when we left home and became very destructive because she was so anxious we might never come home. We were advised by a vet and by the Second Chance adoption people to crate her. We first used an old wire-bar crate my husband had, and she actually pulled the bars off and cut herself up really badly trying to get out. We bought a sturdy plastic crate, and though she hated going into it, in very short order she was cured of the anxiety. She had a safe, quiet and contained place to be while we were gone, and she found we always came home. You cannot make a big deal though when you take any dog out of the crate, fussing over them and petting and crooning to them, even a small puppy, or they will so crave that feedback that they will cry and whine to get out. You have to act very nonchalant and ignore them for a good 1/2 hour after taking them out of the crate. Soon they will adjust. Dogs are in the wild cave-type dwellers, and they do feel safe in a small contained space. It is not a cruel thing to do. We tend to place human characteristics on our pets, but they are not people or children, right? :)
The other dog we used a crate on was a puppy who is now 2-1/2. We used it at night with her until she was probably 1-1/2 years old. We did NOT keep it in a bedroom, as that only exaggerates the problem. They crave the attention from you and it just postpones their becoming adjusted and quiet in the crate, and finding that they actually like it. It works great. We recently made an 1800-mile move by truck to a new home, and the dog made the trip quietly and happily in the back of the pickup in her crate (she is rather a large dog). It worked out great. (01/08/2007)
My dog would cry for hours when I first started crating her. I finally had the idea to cover the entire thing with a blanket so it was really dark and she couldn't see out. This stopped her crying. I did this for a week or so and slowly started to cover less and less of the cage until she would stay in quietly. She still whines from time to time when I am in her sight, but no longer is she crying and screaming the entire time. (07/05/2007)
Crates are an "interim" training tool only. If you are using them for a dog that's past housebreaking and chewing; you're misusing the tool instead of properly training your dog. If your dog is over the age or a 1 yr or 1 1/2 yrs and you still feel the need to cage them; your dog is probably not getting enough exercise and taking out nervous energy or acting out on separation anxiety issues.
Dogs need a good 1 hr + a day of exercise. Not being let into a yard by themselves, but actually good and tiring exercise like running with you or alongside your bicycle. You can not train a dog to accept less exercise than they need.
If you dog has separation anxiety issues, you need to look into that specifically because it will take a progressive desensitization to address the problem correctly. Exercise is imperative here, as well, so get the running shoes on.
The number of answers where people are talking about how their adult dogs hate their crates is scary bad. There shouldn't be a need to cage an adult dog. If the dog was properly trained and exercised, the owners wouldn't feel a need to lock their dogs up.
By Shelter Worker
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