ARF, ARF! So you want to stop your dog from barking in the crate?
First, you must understand that barking is a form of communication for dogs. Humans speak, dogs bark. It’s that simple. Barking dogs are merely trying to get attention. The question is WHY? Why are they seeking your attention?
*For simplicity, the gender of the word “dog” will be in the masculine form (“he” or “him”) throughout this post.*For simplicity, the gender of the word “dog” will be in the masculine form (“he” or “him”) throughout this post.
Sniff out 6 reasons why your dog is barking in the crate:
#1 They want to be FREE
Who wants to be locked up in a cage? I’m sure you don’t. A crate is solely a fancy word for a cage. There is no difference; a crate IS a cage.
Locked up and tethered dogs bark constantly because they simply want to be FREE. Crate training is created for the human’s convenience, NOT the dog. Even if you’ve trained your dog to “love” his crate through positive affiliation (e.g. food, treats, toys, etc.), you should not believe that your dog actually loves his crate.
I am NOT against using crates to create a “safe place” for your dog as long as the door remains wide open! Your dog should be free to come and go as he pleases.
#2 They need to RELIEVE themselves
When nature calls, your dog can only “hold it” for so long. Therefore, your dog may bark in the crate to tell you that he needs to relieve himself. Bark Translation: “LET ME OUT NOW!” As the saying goes: When you gotta go, you GOTTA go. What if someone tells you when you can pee or poop? Sounds completely inhumane, if you ask me. It’s also cruel and unreasonable to expect your dog to “hold it” for more than 8 hours.
The #1 reason why crate training is so popular is that it is supposedly the easiest way for HUMANS to potty-train a dog. It is the dog’s instinct to relieve themselves away from the area where they sleep and eat; hence, crates have to be small enough where dogs would “hold it” as long as possible since they do not want to soil their beds. Dogs love you so much that they’re willing to do anything for your satisfaction, including holding their waste until it is physiologically impossible.
BUT seriously, just think about this concept for a minute.
You’re locking up a family member (who loves you unconditionally) because this is the most convenient way for YOU to control his bladder and bowel movement? You’re forcing him to “hold it” until it’s a convenient time for you to take him out? Certainly, there are more humane ways to potty-train a dog!
Learn how to potty train your dog without a crate the RIGHT way. If you are adamant about crate training, please allow your dog to relieve himself before entering the crate for longer than 2-3 hours.
#3 They want FOOD
If you regularly crate your dog, please make sure that he gets enough to eat before being crated longer than 4-6 hours. NEVER crate your dog when he’s hungry. That’s just inherently wrong!
#4 They are LONELY (and just want to BE WITH YOU)
Ever wonder why dogs are called the most loyal beings on Earth? Your dog loves YOU unconditionally and wants to be wherever you are! If you ought to crate your dog, please put the crate as close to your bed as possible.
Sleeping with your dog on the same bed is a deep bonding experience for both you and your dog. I love sleeping next to my humans (well, whenever I FEEL like it). I can’t imagine NOT being able to sleep on the bed. It saddens me to know that millions of doggies around the world are forced to sleep outside or tethered indefinitely, oftentimes in extreme temperatures.
If you don’t allow your dog to sleep with you, you are truly depriving yourself and your dog of a deeper bond, security, and comfort. Give it a shot!
#5 They are BORED
Take a minute to imagine yourself locked up in a closet or small room for more than several hours every single day. Wouldn’t it drive you crazy?
If being locked up in a cage doesn’t drive your dog crazy, it WILL bore your dog. Sure, you can help by giving him chews, stuffed kongs, and toys to keep him busy, but ultimately, those can get old before their crate “time” is up. I don’t know of a single animal who enjoys being locked up in a cage by someone else. Providing your dog with freedom and flexibility inside the house is imperative for your dog’s mental well-being and physical health.
#6 They are NOT ready to rest or sleep
As the saying goes, a tired dog is a HAPPY dog. If you regularly crate your dog, please provide him with plenty of opportunities for exercise and playtime. Two daily walks should be the bare minimum. This will help your dog sleep better no matter where he is, either in a lonely crate or on your comfy King bed.
WOOF! Now you know WHY your dog is barking in the crate, let’s talk about how to STOP your dog from barking in the crate:
A BIG NO-NO
Do NOT punish your dog for barking in the crate.
ANIMAL ABUSE IS FOR COWARDS. No excuses! Please NEVER shake or kick the crate or hurt your dog in any way. Verbally scolding and physically hitting your dog are considered negative reinforcement, which is largely ineffective and purely abusive. What if someone slaps you on the face every time you say a single word? NOT cool, right? It’s flat out wrong. The more you verbally scold your dog, the louder he may bark because he probably thinks you’re joining in. After all, dogs are pack animals. Using negative reinforcement to stop your dog from barking doesn’t solve the issue as it only makes your dog confused and afraid of you.
*The most effective and humane way to train your dog is through POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. Ignore the barking and then reward your dog with treats and/or verbal praise once barking stops. This teaches him that he will only be rewarded when he doesn’t bark.
*Place a blanket over the crate to signal sleepy time.
*Play soothing music to comfort and relax your dog.
*Place the crate as close to you as possible so your dog doesn’t feel abandoned or alone.
BUT HERE’S A BETTER SOLUTION…
First, you need to clearly recognize exactly what YOU are doing to your dog. You’ve locked him up (whether at the beginning of crate training or long-term) and hope that he is perfectly fine with it. He responds by barking up a storm in the crate. My question to you is – how about NOT locking your dog up in the first place? Asking how to stop your dog from barking in the crate is pretty much the equivalent of asking how to stop your child from crying while locked up in the closet? The only difference is that sadly animals are not held up at the same value as humans. Crating or locking up your dog is NOT illegal in most parts of the world (except for Sweden and Finland), but of course, locking your child up could get you in trouble for child abuse.
You can easily stop his crate barking by NOT locking up your dog. Just keep the crate UNLOCKED! Yes, dogs love having their safe places, but be realistic here – a wolf’s den or a dog’s safe place is never locked by someone else. If your dog is truly in a good home, he can find numerous safe places anywhere. Please allow them to have the freedom to walk around and pee/poop using a pee pad or fake lawn inside the house IN ADDITION to 2-4 walks/outdoor opportunities for relief and exercise. Also, if you allow them to sleep in the same room as you (or better, on the same bed), I am confident with an upright tail that the barking will lessen or stop throughout the night as they feel safe and secure.
Instead of trying to stop your dog from barking in the crate, I urge you to stop crating your dog entirely. Or at least TRY! DO use the crate as his safe place, but always leave the door wide open! When he’s finally free from the cage life forever, he’ll bark less and less. The decision is YOURS!
Want more dog care tips? Sniff me out HERE! Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Wet Nose Escapades by Roger Wellington.
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob
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