Crate training is an important part of raising a dog. However, there are some dogs who won’t go in the crate no matter what you do. However, there is always a reason why your dog is skeptical about going inside the crate.
One of the primary reasons dogs dislike their crates is that it’s uncomfortable or hurts them. To remedy this, make sure the crate is comfortable for your pup and doesn’t have anything painful like metal bars sticking out. Moreover, make sure the bottom of the crate is soft; you may add additional pillows or use a dog bed if necessary.
If your pup seems to be struggling in his crate, it could be indicative of deeper-rooted problems at home that are causing him distress or anxiety. If you suspect, something serious is afoot, make sure you get checked out by a veterinarian right away.
Dog Won’t Go In Crate – Reasons and Solutions
Dogs that are feeling anxious or stressed may try to avoid crates. You can provide them with some affection while they’re inside, so it helps ease their distress.
You can also try moving the crate to a more comfortable area in your home. If it’s located in an especially noisy or busy part of the house, try moving it to somewhere quiet where your pup will feel more secure and safe.
In this article, we are going to discuss the common reasons why dogs won’t go in a crate and show you some tips to combat this issue.
About Dog Crates
A dog crate is an enclosed plastic or collapsible metal pen that dogs can use to feel secure when left alone. They’re great for many purposes, such as house training, travel, and preventing destructive behavior.
Crates are an ideal tool for housetraining your puppy, as they cannot escape their confinement and become injured or confused. Additionally, it serves as a great way to keep your pup secure when you’re away from home.
Your dog’s crate should be comfortable for them, with enough room to move around, stand up, turn around, lay down, and stretch out. Furthermore, make sure it’s strong enough to withstand your pup’s teeth and daily use.
What Is Crate Training?
Crate training is a process in which you train your dog to accept the crate as a secure and safe location. It can be used for various purposes such as potty training, traveling in the car, or when your pup needs to be restrained while at the vet or other veterinary facility.
Crate training should never be used as punishment or to enforce obedience commands. If your dog develops a negative association with the crate or kennel, it may relate this space with negative behaviors like whining, barking, and biting, which could cause significant anxiety or even physical harm.
To make your pup comfortable in a crate, you should give them time to explore on her own. Let your pup sniff around the crate for several minutes before placing them inside.
Once your dog feels secure in the den, reward them with lots of praise and treats. Doing this will teach your pup that the crate is a great place to rest when tired or needing to go potty.
Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Go In The Crate
If you’ve recently started crate training your dog and they begin whining or crying inside the crate, there could be several reasons for this behavior.
Here are the common reasons why your dog won’t go in the crate.
Sometimes, dogs may start to dislike the crate out of anxiety about it. While this is perfectly normal for most dogs, if the anxiety persists and starts interfering with your pup’s life, then it could be time for a visit from your vet.
To effectively manage your dog’s anxiety, seek professional assistance from a veterinarian, behavioralist, or canine behavior consultant. They can identify the source of your pup’s distress and create an individualized plan that works for them.
- Long Hours In The Crate
One of the primary reasons your dog may begin to dislike their crate is due to all the hours they spend inside it. This can happen if you work long shifts or leave them home alone for an extended period.
Therefore, it’s essential to give your pup enough exercise during the day. Being confined for extended periods of time can have detrimental effects on their health, mood, and behavior.
- The Crate Is A “Bad” Thing
Contrary to popular belief, the crate is not always the ideal place for your dog to live. Unfortunately, many owners rely on it too heavily and make their pups spend long stretches inside, even though its purpose was never intended for that use.
If you do this, your dog will associate the crate with something bad and will avoid going inside. It is essential for your pup to enjoy its crate.
- Changes In The Crate
Maintaining a regular schedule for your dog in his crate is one of the best ways to help him feel secure there. However, if you recently changed things up (such as moving it to another room), your pup may experience anxiety over having his space taken away.
You can try to resolve this problem by reintroducing the crate as a secure place where your dog enjoys spending time when you come home.
- Age And Illnesses
Dogs, as they age, often become more sensitive to their environment. This could make them feel uneasy in their crate or cause whining when put inside it.
If your senior dog seems to dislike being in his crate, it could be due to illness or disease. They may develop weak bladders or joint pain, which makes them feel stressed about being confined.
- Lack Of Training
One possible explanation for why your pup might act out is that he’s not used to being in his crate. Your dog might be more comfortable outdoors or in another room, so when you put him back inside his familiar space, he might feel uneasy and act out accordingly.
Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to retrain your dog to enjoy his crate again.
- Crating As Punishment
Crate training is an effective way to teach your dog obedience and prevent destructive behavior that often stems from separation anxiety. However, using the crate as punishment can become highly stressful for your pup, leading to numerous issues.
If you think your pup has done something wrong and deserves punishment, try placing them in timeout for a few minutes instead of using the crate.
Dogs who have recently gone through significant life changes, such as losing a family member or moving, may become uneasy in their crate. This is often because they’re trying to adjust and find their footing. Your dog may also avoid the crate if it is not comfortable.
No matter the cause, he needs to be comforted and encouraged back into loving his crate.
- Lack Of Exercise
As a pet parent, you likely already know that your pup needs ample exercise each day. Not only does this help them maintain an appropriate weight, but it also benefits their overall health and well-being. The absence of exercise can make your dog feel depressed, listless, and even irritable.
This may result in destructive behavior as well as aggression. If your pup seems to dislike his crate, it could be because they aren’t getting enough physical activity.
- Attention Seeking
If your dog suddenly starts whining when in their crate, it could be a sign that they want your attention. They may be asking for something from you, such as a belly rub or cuddle. They may be feeling anxious and need assurance that you’re there for them. This is a common response to separation anxiety.
- Small Dog Syndrome
The term “small dog syndrome” describes a group of behavioral issues that often develop in small dogs. These behaviors include aggression, anxiety, and separation issues. As you can imagine, these behaviors are not very cute and could prove hazardous for your furry friend. If your dog is suffering from small dog syndrome, it may avoid the crate.
9 Tips on What to Do If Your Dog Hates the Crate
If your dog has recently developed an aversion to their crate, there are a few steps you can take to help them feel more at home.
Here are some tips to make your dog comfortable with the crate.
- Determine The Cause of Why Your Dog Hates Crate
Identification of the cause of why your dog has started to dislike their crate can help you solve this issue. It could be anything from a broken crate to separation anxiety.
For instance, puppies who have been separated from their mother too young or come from less-than-ideal rescue situations may experience separation anxiety and become extremely distressed when left alone in the crate.
- Start Small
When trying to establish a habit, it’s beneficial to begin small. Doing so will give your efforts greater momentum and boost your self-belief.
If your goal is to help your dog become comfortable in his crate, start by allowing him to leave briefly while you’re home. Gradually increase the amount of time until he can remain quiet for 30 minutes or more without becoming anxious or restless.
- Schedule Crate Time
When teaching your dog how to use the crate, it’s essential that you introduce it gradually without overwhelming them. This is especially pertinent for puppies who aren’t yet mature enough to hold their bladder or bowels for extended periods of time.
The best thing you can do is schedule crate time for your puppy to establish a routine.
- Make Crating a Positive Experience
Crating your dog should be a positive experience and a place they feel secure and comfortable in. If your pup isn’t enjoying his crate, there are some steps you can take to make it more conducive for him.
Make the crate a comfortable space for family members by placing it in an area they frequently spend time. This may be the family room or other common area in the home.
Additionally, placing soft blankets or dog beds inside will make your pup feel more at home in his crate.
- Make Your Dog Comfortable
Crate training your pup is a great way to make them more secure and relaxed in their crate. The most important step is making sure your dog perceives it as a secure, cozy space.
First and foremost, make sure your dog has the appropriate crate. Make sure it won’t restrict their movement or sleep comfortably, as this could cause distress and lead to undesirable behavior.
Next, it is essential to carefully choose your crate bedding. Make sure it is durable and not made of materials your dog could chew on, such as blankets or towels.
- Make Crating Fun
Crates provide your dog with a peaceful place to rest and unwind, but using them as punishment only creates negative associations and potential future issues. Thankfully, there are ways to make crating fun for your pup.
Start by taking them for a walk or playing before putting them in their crate. Once your pup enters the crate, reward them with treats or toys.
- Be Consistent
Crate training your dog requires consistency. Consistency helps the pup associate the crate with positive experiences.
If your dog is having difficulty staying calm and focused in their crate due to fatigue, it might be beneficial for them to get some exercise before going inside. This will help ensure they remain relaxed and focused on you during their confinement time.
- Use a Playpen
If your pup dislikes being in a crate, try using a playpen (affiliate link) instead. These lightweight pens are an ideal way to keep them out of trouble while you’re gone and also help alleviate separation anxiety. These playpens are ideal for puppies who require physical activity without getting into trouble, as well as jumpers.
A playpen is an economical alternative to a crate, helping your dog remain secure and entertained while you’re away from home.
- Tire Your Dog Out
Dogs that have spent too much time in their crate may begin to show signs of fatigue. They might bark or start to play around uncontrollably.
If you think your pup might be bored, take them on a long walk before leaving them home alone in their crate. This is an opportunity for them to burn off some energy and relax – which will also help them settle down in the crate.
The Right Way to Set Up Your Dog’s Crate
Your dog’s crate should be set up as a safe, secure haven where they feel at home. But just like any other room in your house, it should not be the only place your pup spends time. Here is the right way to set up your dog’s crate.
- Choose the Right Size
- Place the Crate in a Comfortable Location
- Put Comfortable Bedding Inside
- Keep Food and Water Inside the Crate
- Provide Their Favorite Toys
Crate training can be an effective tool for puppies as it helps you to potty train them and leave them alone at home when you go out. However, many dogs dislike crates. It can be because of past abuse by their previous owner, anxiety, or boredom.
Your dog may also dislike the crate if you keep them inside for long hours. To help your dog learn to enjoy being in the crate, use various positive reinforcement techniques.
Start by crate training your pup for short periods when you are home and gradually increase the time. Also, provide them with comfortable bedding and plenty of toys.
- Hiby, E. F., Rooney, N. J., & Bradshaw, J. W. (2004). Dog training methods: Their use, effectiveness, and interaction with behavior and welfare. Animal Welfare, 13(1), 63-69. Link: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ufaw/aw/2004/00000013/00000001/art00010
- Blackwell, E. J., Twells, C., Seawright, A., & Casey, R. A. (2008). The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 3(5), 207-217. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787807002646
- Ziv, G. (2017). The effects of using aversive training methods in dogs—A review. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 19, 50-60. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787817300102
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