Crate training a puppy crying seems hard to deal with especially for inexperienced dog owners. It can be overwhelming for you to have your new puppy crying in his crate. However, if you take the right actions you can make it stop in a matter of days.
This article won’t provide you with a magic stick to make your dog stop crying in his crate overnight. But we will list some good practices to deal with it and make the dog comfortable in his crate.
The first thing you should know is that a puppy crying while crate training is something to expect, and is very common.
So to know how you can deal with this situation you want to identify why is your puppy crying while crate trained.
Why do dogs cry in their crate?
This is most common among young puppies rather than older dogs. Although this could be the case for older dogs also.
This is also very common at night especially in the first few days but if not dealt with correctly could take much longer and become a habit.
Being in the crate for the first time is not easy for a dog especially if you don’t do a good job introducing him to it.
New dogs are going through a transition phase and a new home can be intimidating for the dog. So when confined into the crate he may feel trapped.
Smaller puppies still miss their mother and siblings and still have to adapt to the new situation.
If the crate is placed in some obscure lonely place the dog may feel lonely or fear in some cases.
Too much noise or outside distractions may disturb the dog in the crate and make him cry. You can’t put the crate next to a generator or some machine that keeps beeping or ticking all night.
If the crate is too small or not well maintained and has sharp edges or not clean enough it could be a reason for the dog to feel sad in it and express that by crying.
Crate training errors
Believe it or not, you can lower the chances of your dog crying during crate training just by the simple act of introducing your puppy to his crate during the day.
If you take the new puppy home and let him play around and nap whenever he likes during the day and then all of a sudden you lock him up for bedtime you sure are to expect a long night of crying.
You should never introduce your dog to something when it’s time to do it. Always break it down and start early on so the dog is not just chocked with new experiences.
Using the crate as a time out area for punishing the dog or reprimanding him inside the crate will associate the crate with bad feelings.
Leaving the dog in the crate for too long can have the dog crying in his crate.
Puppy crying in the crate when left alone
Some dogs will only start crying in the crate when left alone, meaning you could have them in the crate during the day while you are around but when you leave or at night they start crying.
The first thing to do if your dog is crying in the crate when left alone is to make sure he doesn’t have separation anxiety.
The first big sign is that your dog will be crying and barking when you leave whether he is in the crate or not.
Dogs with separation anxiety also tend to be destructive and aggressive when left alone and they chew on anything and salivate a lot. If you observe such symptoms you should consult your veterinary.
If the dog is only crying when left alone in the crate then you are probably doing something wrong with your crate training. I suggest you read this crate training guide.
The crate training is not a remedy for dogs separation anxiety and consulting an expert is advised.
Dog crying in the crate at night
If the puppy is only crying at night in the crate this is totally normal behavior for the first day or week.
As a matter of fact, almost all puppies cry in the crate on the first night even if you do a great job introducing them to the crate.
This could really be stressful for dog owners, having to endure the crying puppy for long hours during the night.
It is more stressful if you have to wake up for work the next day, and embarrassing if you live in an apartment and have neighbors.
Many dog owners after a few minutes of crying just give up and let the dog out to play a little then try to get him back in the crate again.
Doing this is not your best option and it will just make it worse.
Probably most of you heard that you should just ignore the dog when crying at night. This is true and it does work most of the time. But what to do if the dog just won’t stop.
How can you make this stop and deal with it as fast as possible?
How to get my dog to stop crying in his crate?
There are three phases you can work on to make your dog stop crying while crate training.
Introduction to the crate
The best thing you can do is to introduce your dog to the crate before bedtime. You can go slow using treats and toys allowing you to establish trust toward the crate.
By making the dog go inside the crate and having food in it you start associating the crate with happy thoughts.
If you’ve read this crate training guide, you’ll find very detailed helpful steps to make your dog like his crate.
Using high-value treats and toys is a necessity to lure the dog into the crate and have him build a happy relationship with it.
Exercising before bedtime
Dogs are energetic and playful but they spend most their day sleeping. Smaller puppies can sleep up to 18 hours a day.
You want to use that to make the dog exercise plenty before his bedtime to cool down his energy.
If the dog has not had enough playtime and exercise it will be harder for him to go to sleep.
But you want to make sure not to overdo it to the point you end up hurting the dog.
During the night
If you did introduce the dog to the crate during the day and exercised enough before going to sleep. Your dog could make it through the night.
You just want to make sure the dog had his potting break just before bedtime and stop giving water two hours before.
If your dog starts crying in his crate you want to ignore it at first. If you let the dog out while he is crying you are giving confirmation that getting what he wants is by crying for long hours.
Ignore the dog for ten to fifteen minutes and see if he stops if he doesn’t, you want to break his crying cycle.
This is why we recommend having the crate in your room so you can interact with the dog while crying.
You want to gently call the dog while he is crying. if he responds give him a treat but don’t let him out.
If he does not respond you can tap gently on the side of the crate, the sound will make him stop. Once he stops give a treat and verbal praise.
You want to continue with the same method every time he starts crying interrupt it and when he stops give treats. and every time give it a while by ignoring him for five minutes.
After a while, the dog will understand that crying is not going to get him what he wants and stop on his own.
Puppy won’t stop crying in the crate
If you follow the method of ignoring and breaking the puppy’s crying cycle and still he won’t stop crying while in the crate. You want to check first if there is no other reason for him to feel uncomfortable or no need for potting.
If there is none you want to talk to the dog just a simple “shuch” sound and when he stops; open the door of the crate, and when he tries to get out close it.
repeat this process multiple times; every time he cries make the sound and open the door and when he tries to get out close it.
It may be exhausting a bit to do it for a few days during the night especially if you have work in the morning but it is very effective.
Just keep doing the same steps we’ve seen and it won’t take more than a week for him to stop.
When taking the dog for a potty break in the night, keep it simple and about the potting nothing else. You want the dog to learn that the night is for sleep only no playing. You want the dog following your schedule, not the other way around.
Should I leave my puppy to cry at night?
If you choose to let the dog cry at night it may work, in fact ignoring him is the first thing to do. But if you notice that your dog is not responding and keeps crying you have to take action.
Many people think it’s hard or cruel to leave the dog crying at night and ignoring him. But at those early stages of crate training, you still building communication so you can’t just do whatever the dog wants.
The puppy crying during crate training is normal. If the dog doesn’t like something he will complain about it and that’s how he’s going to do it. But that does not mean that everything your dog rejects is bad.
When you make a decision to crate training your puppy, crying and barking is something to expect. Don’t make your guilt ruin your training.
How long to let the puppy cry in the crate?
Ignoring your puppy while crying in his crate is something that you have to get used to. However, how long can you do it without it being cruel or harmful to your dog?
You should not jump on the dog as soon as he starts crying. But give it some time maybe fifteen minutes then you have to take action.
If the dog keeps crying alone in his crate for too long he could get depressed and become low on energy during the day.
Crying while in the crate is normal behavior, and the keyword here is behavior. Simply because behavior can be changed. Either by reward and praise or by denying and persistence.