Dog whining in his crate all of a sudden? 10 Shocking reasons

dog whining in crate all of a sudden

Why is my dog whining in his crate all of a sudden? Why is my dog suddenly hates his crate? these are very common questions that almost all dog owners who use the crate ask at a certain point simply because most dogs will go through this phase.

Your dog is suddenly whining in his crate because he does not feel comfortable in it and that’s his way of letting you know, something is suddenly changing the crate from a safe and nice den into an uncomfortable place, and the cause could be anything from a bad smell a noise to a windy spot and all you have to do is to inspect the crate and identify the reason to make it comfortable again.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons for a dog to suddenly hate his crate and we’ll make suggestions and practical solutions for you to make your dog comfortable in his crate again.

Dog suddenly hates his crate what should I do?

When you observe a change in your dog’s behavior like whining in the crate when he never did it before, you have to be methodical about it and analyze the situation using common sense and go through all possible reasons for this change using the process of elimination.

Sometimes the reason could be something so small you wouldn’t even consider it when it actually matters to your dog, so the most logical thing to start with is to recall if you’ve changed anything related to the crate in the last couple of days which might be the cause.

Don’t consider anything to be insignificant, moving the crate a few inches may cause the dog to suddenly hate it. Dogs are different and they associate feelings to anything and a favorite spot could make him like or hate the crate.

If you’ve brainstormed and still can’t remember changing anything about the crate then, let us go through the most common reasons that would make a dog whining in his crate all of a sudden.

1 – Changing something about the crate

This is the first thing you have to inspect, take a few moments, and remember everything you did related to your dog’s crate or it’s surroundings.

Dogs are routine pets they love to have a daily routine and generally don’t like people to mess with it, that’s why all dog trainers will advise staring the training at a young age.

Changing the crate

If you’ve just changed your dog’s crate it is normal that he’d show some resistance and will probably take a few days to get used to it.

The crate training process is all about making the dog love his crate and dogs get attached to their favorite stuff and will not be happy if it changes.

What you should do

In most cases, unless you change the crate because something is wrong with this type of crates(plastic crate to wire crate for example), getting a similar one is a good idea and it’s easier for your dog to get used to it.

All you have to do is put in there something that has his smell a toy, a bed, or anything with your smell to create the same old environment in case you change the type of crate.

Changing the crate’s spot

All dogs have a favorite spot in the house and this is easy to notice when the dog is not crate trained, they’ll probably den up under a table or behind a couch, any place he considers his safe spot.

When you teach your dog to love the crate and consider it a safe place he doesn’t only like the crate but everything that’s related to it, including the crate’s spot especially if you’ve never moved it before.

What you should do

If you’ve changed the crate’s placement and you can move it back to its original spot then it would be best to stop your dog from whining in his crate.

However, if you can’t change it back to its original place then you have to be patient, make sure the new spot is good and nothing’s wrong with it. Use toys and spend some time playing with your dog in the new spot and reward heavily with treats until he gets used to it and generally it doesn’t take long.

Placing toys or things that have the dog’s smell and yours in the new spot will ease the transition for your dog.

Changing the bed or washing it

Cleaning the dog’s bed, blanket or pillow seems a good idea especially if it starts to smell bad, but it makes it unfamiliar to his sensitive nose.

This is very common and usually it doesn’t take too long for the dog to get used to it but still you have to be careful what you’ve used to clean his bed.

What you should do

If your dog has a bed and a pillow or a blanket don’t wash them all at the same time.

Keep something with the dog’s smell on it at all times, so it would be easier for your dog to sense a familiar smell at all times.

Cleaning your dog if he gets dirty before he goes into his crate is a good idea this way the blanket and bed don’t get dirty too quickly and you don’t need to clean them very often.

2 – Something is wrong about the crate

Is your dog whining in crate all of sudden even though you’ve changed nothing about the crate or its environment? Then perhaps something is wrong with the crate.

You should inspect the crate and its environment and check if there is nothing bothering the dog.

The crate is broken

Sometimes the obvious reasons we expect the least are the most common, every time I read this question in dog forums 90% of the answers are the crate is broken or has a sharp edge.

Sharp edges especially on plastic crates would make it uncomfortable and your dog has no other way to tell you about it but to bark or whine in his crate.

What you should do

You have to inspect the crate and make sure there are no sharp edges or broken parts that could injure the dog or make him uncomfortable.

Crate inspection should be a regular thing you do but make sure you don’t mess around a lot with the crate most dogs don’t like it.

The crate is too small

Sometimes the dog outgrows his crate and it suddenly becomes uncomfortable for him to lay down and enjoy enough space.

When you first buy a crate everyone tells you it should be a few inches larger than your dog but not too large so he doesn’t make a potty corner within the crate.

Sometimes we just forget that the dog is growing fast especially in the first few months and if it gets too small for him you could have the dog whining in crate all of a sudden.

What you should do

What I always recommend is getting wire crate with a divider, it helps you manage the size of the crate without having to change it every couple of months, you simply increase the area the dog uses by moving the divider panel as your dog grows.

The crate I always recommend is the Midwest double door crate with a divider panel( click here to check the current price on Amazon), it is the best crate for crate training and it’s super cheap and robust.

Just make sure you choose the right size you can read this article about how to measure your dog for a crate.

3 – Other dogs or pets have been in the crate

The purpose of a crate is to be a safe and intimate den for your dog, it’s like your bed, and nobody wants to find another person in his bed.

In most cases, dogs don’t like to share their crates or beds especially if they’re not used to having other animals in the house, and that could explain why your dog suddenly hates his crate.

Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell and they will detect the smell of other animals if they’ve been in their crate.

What you should do

If other dogs or pets have been in your dog’s crate and he is not happy about it then you need to wash it all and get something he has his smell on, another bed or toy, or a shirt so it feels home again.

Also, try to reward your dog and give treats and verbal praise to associate happy feelings with the crate again so he doesn’t reject it.

4 – The crate smells bad for your dog

scents dogs hate
Smells dogs hate could make a dog whining in crate all of a sudden

There is a very common mistake most people do, we tend to think that what smells good for us does also for our dogs, and it’s definitely not the case.

Dogs have a much stronger and more sensitive sense of smell and refreshing nice smells for us like citrus is very repelling to them.

You can read this article about smells dogs hate and you’d be surprised of the smells in the list.

A strong repulsive smell could make your dog whining in crate all of a sudden and remember that repulsive smells for dogs are generally strong ones not bad ones we don’t like.

What you should do

The first thing you should do is check out the article for the smells that dogs hate so you can avoid them, then if your dog’s crate has been exposed to a strong smell that’s making your dog suddenly hate his crate then you have to clean it up.

Choose the cleaning product carefully some are even stronger than the smell you’re trying to cover, and of course wash everything up and use things that have his smell on it to make it feel familiar.

5 – The crate is associated with bad experiences

Dogs evaluate places based on experiences they’ve had in there, hence the idea behind crate training is to associate good things with the crate.

Some dog owners make the mistake of using the crate for time out to punish the dog which is for crate training like shooting yourself in the foot.

The crate should be a safe place for your dog nothing bad should happen in there, and it’s useless to punish a dog unless you catch him in the act because it simply confuses him.

Dogs are animals, they have a certain level of intelligence but you can’t punish them for something that happened an hour earlier.

You also want to avoid yelling at your dog and reprimanding him in the crate or else he’ll feel no longer comfortable and safe in it.

What you should do

Don’t use the crate for time out, if you did then you have to be patient and start over crate training and making the crate great again.

Using treats and toys and playing games are all good ways to make the dog enjoy being in the crate again.

6 – Your dog is hurt or sick

Pain could certainly make a dog whining in crate all of a sudden, and sometimes we just don’t pay much attention to our beloved friends out of habit.

Dogs get sick and hurt also and we need to pay attention to their general health regularly to make sure they are fine.

Some dogs especially active ones could get hurt playing and it’s not easy to notice it.

What you should do

If your dog’s behavior in the crate has changed, then the first thing you should do after inspecting the crate for sharp edges and bad smells is to check him up and the best thing would be to take him to his vet.

You can do a simple manual inspection to see if he’s hurt anywhere, anyway if it hurts too much he can’t lay down in his crate then once you touch him where it hurts hell let you know.

7 – Crating for too long

If your dog is spending too much time in his crate then he’ll hate it for sure, dogs get bored and crates are not to be used for more than a few hours at a time.

In some unique cases where you have to work full time, you might use it for 8 hours and only if you have to and that’s it. If you can find other alternatives it would be much better, if you are working full-time while crate training, check out this article it will help you manage it.

When you are home your dog needs to go in the crate for no more than an hour at a time or else he’ll get frustrated.

What you should do

When you’re home let the dog out to play and only crate him when it’s time for him to sleep at night or when he needs to rest after some activity.

If you have to crate the dog then it would be best if you don’t hang around and use a Kong toy and fill it with treats and it will keep him busy for a while, The king does a great job when it comes to crate training, you can read this article about crate training with a Kong for more details and tips.

8 – The dog’s age

Sometimes dogs change in character with age, some dogs just like us will age grumpy, and would suddenly hate the crate.

There is also the weak bladder issue with old dogs since they are not able to hold it as long as they used to and it makes them uncomfortable.

What you should do

If you have a senior dog you can expect sudden changes in behavior, and all you have to do is to try to adapt and do your best making him comfortable.

If your senior dog is no longer comfortable in the crate, it is perhaps a better idea to use a playpen.

The one we recommend is the Midwest wire playpen (click here to check the current price on Amazon) it is easy to install and it attaches to the Midwest wire crate.

9 – Your dog is not exercising enough

All dogs need a minimum of activity everyday even the non active ones, some will need plenty of exercise and walks while others only need a play session at home.

It is important to make sure your dog is low on energy before he goes in the crate, if you crate your dog while he still wants to play he’ll get bored and will resist being in the crate.

What you should do

Always take your dog for a walk or have a play session just before he goes into the crate.

Most people don’t understand that the crate is a place to relax or to sleep, just like your bed, and just like you your dog don’t like to go into bed unless he feels tiered or sleepy.

Make sure he gets plenty of activities depending of course on the dog’s breed and age before crating.

10 – Your dog is testing you

This is common behavior in dogs, sometimes they just get bored with something and they’ll test you to see if they can get anything else.

I’ve noticed this behavior before with food when some of my dogs as they get older all of a sudden refuse to eat their food.

If you let your dog out or change his food he knows that whining in his crate will make you do what he wants.

What you should do

If you’ve checked the crate for all of the above reasons and nothing seems to be wrong with your dog or his crate then just ignore it don’t let the dog get what he wants or else he’ll keep doing it.

You simply need to ignore your dog, be patient and see if he’s no longer whining or barking.

If your dog keeps whining in his crate even after ignoring him then you want to calm him before you let him out.

My dog suddenly hates his crate at night and won’t stop whining

dog suddenly hates his crate at night
dog whining in his crate at night

If your dog has been crate trained properly then he’ll spend the night in his crate without any resistance.

But what makes a crate-trained dog whining in crate all of a sudden and only at night?! and how can you stop this behavior?

Here is a great video from McCann Dog Training about that particular point and they provide good advice.

The most important point to focus on is that you have to interrupt the whining( or barking) before letting your dog out and making sure it’s not a way to let you know the puppy needs to pee.

your dog suddenly whining in crate and nothing works

If you’ve checked all the possible reasons for this sudden change and nothing seems to be working, maybe trying the playpen would be a solution.

I’ve written a guide on playpen training that you can find useful, the playpen could be a great alternative to the crate especially if you use the playpen and crate combined one it forms a nice playing space where your dog can enjoy enough playing ground and get into his crate when he needs to.

Some dogs just change in behavior and sometimes there are no reasonable explanations, so you want to look for the next best alternative which in this case is the playpen.

All you really need is your dog to be confined and safe while you can not be there to supervise him and for him to have a safe den and both are options you can find in a playpen.

How to make your dog like his crate again

Dog hates his crate all of a sudden
Dog hates his crate all of a sudden, how to make him like it again

If your dog suddenly hates his crate and you don’t really know what’s going on the last resort is to start over.

You need to make the crate great again by crate training your dog all over again and building the bond with the crate again.

In this case, I suggest you get a new crate to change things up and the best one to get is the Midwest double doors wire crate it really does a great job when it comes to crate training providing your dog with an open space to explore the new crate without feeling trapped.

Make sure to use a chew toy and the Kong would be even better since it can be used as a food puzzle.

Play some interactive games with your dog before going in the crate and reward with treats and verbal praise when he gets in it.

Make sure your dog is low on energy and have had enough activities before his bedtime so he doesn’t feel bored in the crate.


Dog’s best friend by Mark DERR

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