Your dog has decided that being in a crate and away from you IS NOT where he wants to be.
He is crying and whining and waking the entire family, right? My sweet friend, rest assured, this is a moment in transition and testing that YOU are empowered to change. What you are experiencing is not uncommon at all. Your dog is just figuring out what the structure is going to be with you in your life together. Your dog is getting TONS of loving attention, adored and fussed over and loved some more.
Your dog simply wants more of it, at all times. Your dog is merely disagreeing with you about being in his crate away from you.
He is saying, “HEY, I didn’t give you permission to put me in here, who do you think you are??? I want you NOW. I mean NOWWW. DO YOU HEAR ME, NOWWWW!!!” That state of mind didn’t work with my kids, and it doesn’t work with my dogs.
It’s very important that your dog can be away from you and choose to be OK with it. And whenever you leave the house, the safest place for your dog is in his crate. It is the very rare dog that cannot eventually handle a crate successfully.
HOW DO YOU SURVIVE THIS WHINING DOG? The answer is: Structure your day!
Have plenty of purpose-driven activities scattered throughout your day, and schedule rest periods too! Yes, rest is part of the structure of the day as well. Have several periods of ‘out of a crate’ time that lasts a few hours each, and then, plan on 2-3 mealtimes/rest periods a couple times a day lasting about 2 hours.
Ways to help your pup become more comfortable in the crate–
- Have the appropriately sized crate, not too big, not too small, just enough for your dog to stand up easily and turn around.
- feed in your crate at least two times a day. Once in your crate for feed time, allow your pup or dog to stay there for 1.5-2 hours at least. Get a flat-sided water bucket to attach to side of crate
- Have a favorite & safe chew toy, bone, bully stick or kong in the crate and keep those special items for use ONLY in the crate.
- Use a blankie or towel instead of a pad so dog can move it if he get’s hot
- Drap the crate with a sheet, this makes it more den-like.
- Have soft music or a TV playing in the background for some ‘white noise’
If you are the person that has the dog that is shattering glass, and popping ear drums, here are some immediate relief solutions and tricks of the trade for those most challenging dogs-
- For a particularly tough pup or dog, you can fill a crate ½ full with straw. This helps them burrow in and often times, the toughest dog to crate train will be helped by this. I learned this tip from the legend Marc Goldberg!
- Order a Dogtra 300 bark collar. Bark collars are effective because #1) They are 100% consistent, unlike us humans. They catch a bark every time #2) The dog gets to determine their comfort level. Unlike anything we administer to them, in this situation, the dog chooses if he will be comfortable and for how long. Choose to bark then he will be uncomfortable. Choose not to bark, he will feel comfortable.
- Use an ecollar (electronic collar) with a vibration component, you can put his ecollar on him while in his crate and vibrate it every time he barks.
- GET EARPLUGS. Seriously!
I am always willing to make the crate as fabulous as possible, but it’s ultimately not negotiable.
If you are meeting all the physical, mental and emotional needs of your dog each day and your dog has been conditioned to his crate in a positive way using a variety of strategies (I outline these in my book), it is fair and reasonable for you to expect your dog to handle an appropriate amount of time away from you. Stick with it! HANG IN THERE, this too shall pass.