There is some controversy surrounding putting dogs in crates, owing to the fact that confinement might seem cruel and unjust. However, multiple situations arise throughout a pet’s life that requires them the crate. Crates can quickly maneuver dogs in case of emergencies, or may be used as spaces to let the dog heal after they’ve undergone surgery.
Some professionals recommend using the crate to housebreak puppies; as puppies are averse to soiling their places of rest, they will be taught bladder control. While the crate proves to be beneficial in many circumstances, it can make your dog uncomfortable.
If you’re facing a similar situation, the following steps will prove helpful.
Table of Contents
- Make the crate comfortable:
- Is your puppy lonely?
- Will wearing out the puppy help?
- Going to the bathroom helps!
- How does crate training benefit you?
- Is it cruel to ignore my puppy if it keeps crying?
- Should you play music?
- Is the crate the right size?
- Should you consider covering the crate?
- Will leaving the door open help?
- Is it recommended to feed your puppy in the crate?
- You’re considering using the crate for punishment. Is it wise to do so?
Make the crate comfortable:
Many dogs cry in the crate because they’re lonely and anxious, and may feel helpless within constraints. It would help to make the crate an amicable environment to make the puppy look forward to their time in the crate.
By adding cushions, some toys and some treats, you can successfully coax your puppy. Make sure to give them a soft surface so they don’t feel uncomfortable from the metal or wire floor.
Is your puppy lonely?
Much of the anxiety in the crate stems from the fact that the puppy feels that their owner has abandoned them. By orienting it in a way that gives them a view of you, they will feel more at ease inside the crate.
Consider staying by their side until they relax, before you leave them alone for a longer period of time. Eventually, they will adjust to the crate without you being a constant supervisor.
Will wearing out the puppy help?
Dogs, especially puppies, have a lot of energy to expend. Letting your puppy in the crate will have them redirecting their energy at the walls, causing them to bite and scratch at the bars.
An excited puppy will eventually yearn for time away from the place, so it is best to deal with this before letting them in. With sufficient exercise, your puppy will have lowered defenses in the crate, and will associate it with a place of rest rather than a place of apprehension.
Going to the bathroom helps!
Putting the puppy in the crate when they have to use the loo is an uncomfortable situation. Make sure you avoid it at all costs. Give your puppy sufficient time to relieve itself before you put them in the crate.
How does crate training benefit you?
Accustoming your puppy to a crate is a process. The puppy will be averse to the crate at first, so professionals recommend crate training. Crate training allows your pet to identify the crate as a safe location that will shelter them potential harm, as opposed to a place of restraint. Crate training can be done by positively reinforcing the process, and validating the puppy for the time they spend in the crate.
Is it cruel to ignore my puppy if it keeps crying?
Many people recommend letting the puppy ‘cry it out’, however it is inhumane to constantly ignore your puppy if they are uncomfortable for long periods of time. Sometimes, it may be a cry of help that needs to be addressed.
If your puppy cries for prolonged periods of time, consider taking them out for a while and calming them down. Don’t leave them in the crate for too long lest it makes the pup depressed. If the situation is completely unworkable, try alternate methods like tethering.
Should you play music?
A study by animal behaviorist Dr Deborah Wells showed that classical music can help anxious dogs calm down. When the owner is not around to positively reinforce the pup, consider using music as white noise so the puppy may remain occupied.
Be careful in choosing the music, it should have calm or soothing tones rather than exciting ones, because that will have the opposite effect to what you’re trying to achieve.
Is the crate the right size?
Crates are not universally sized. What works for one breed, might not work for another. Consider sizing the crate ergonomically according to your dog, with enough space for them to maneuver around without constantly hitting the walls. Your puppy might be uncomfortable because the crate might feel claustrophobic and not like a safe haven if it is not sized reasonably.
Should you consider covering the crate?
This might be achieved through hit and trial, but one reason for incessant crying might be the fact that the puppy feels too exposed inside the crate. Cover it partially or totally with a blanket to gauge if that is the problem.
If it works out, consider doing it regularly so that the puppy might feel at ease. Exercise caution though, keep a check to see if your pup is okay and not feeling suffocated.
Will leaving the door open help?
Leaving the door open seems counterintuitive, but is actually a good way to condition the puppy to stay in the crate. Consider doing this when you’re sleeping next to the pup, so that they feel enough at ease to let you close the door. This way they know that you are watching over them and they have not been abandoned.
Is it recommended to feed your puppy in the crate?
The answer is yes! You can give one main meal to the dog in the crate, so that they associate it with a sheltered feeling. However, only do this two or three hours prior to taking them out. Make sure to remove the bowl after they’re done eating, so that the crate does not get dirty.
You’re considering using the crate for punishment. Is it wise to do so?
Crates should never be used as a place of punishment. Using the space as a tool to reprimand the dog will only create more fear, and have them avoid the crate, or feel depressed in it. Remember, you want to train your dog to feel safe and loved, and not create a hostile environment for them.