A puppy throwing tantrum in a crate is a nuisance, especially at night. But although it can be frustrating, there are ways to handle the situation appropriately.
For this post, I discuss why puppies cry inside crates, what you can do about it, and how you can prevent it in the future.
Why is my puppy throwing tantrums inside the crate?
Puppies are like babies. They can get pretty scared and anxious when left alone or placed in an unfamiliar place.
If your little doggo is throwing a fuss inside its crate, the following might be the reasons why:
1. You’re keeping the puppy in for too long.
In general, you shouldn’t keep your puppy inside the crate longer than 30 minutes if it’s still younger than ten weeks. Once your pup turns six months old, that’s the time you can crate it for up to 6 hours.
2. Your puppy is hungry.
Before jumping to conclusions, you should ask yourself, did I feed my puppy before crating? If not, thirst and hunger will make your pup cranky instead of relaxed inside the crate.
Take note that puppies need to eat small meals four to five times a day. So before crating, make sure your pup had eaten its meal or at least had a snack.
3. Your puppy is scared.
Loneliness and fear are common reasons why puppies cry and throw tantrums inside the crate. Due to their young age, puppies require more attention and companionship than their older counterparts.
Canines that are new to isolation and confinement will not take crating easily. This is much so if your puppy was recently separated from its littermates.
As much as it’s an uncomfortable process, most puppies will outgrow this fear. However, it’s only possible with the right training and desensitization.
4. You failed to train your puppy well.
As mentioned, training plays a big role in your puppy’s behavior inside the crate. If it doesn’t relax inside, you may need to brush up its crate training.
Take note that crate training must be done slowly. It’s a no-no to force a puppy inside because this will make the crate feel like an unsafe place to be.
How to stop your puppy from throwing tantrums in the crate
If your puppy is crying and throwing a fit inside the crate, the following methods will help a lot:
1. Don’t give in to the tantrums
Even though puppy tantrums can be annoying, you shouldn’t give in every time your pet cries. Doing so will reinforce the negative behavior even more.
Puppies have self-soothing ways whenever they are stressed or afraid. It would help if you waited for this to kick in before approaching the crate and providing comfort to the pup.
Sometimes, enduring your pup’s cries can be a good thing. This will teach the little dog that he will only receive attention if he stops the negative behavior.
2. Keep the crate close to you
During the first few days, it’s pretty normal for puppies to cry inside the crate. However, it will help a lot to keep the crate inside your bedroom or at a distance where the pup can still see or sniff you.
You can slowly move the crate away from your location in the next few days. Do this slowly until your puppy is used to being in the crate away from you.
Take note that you should never get your dog used to sleeping on your bed or in your bedroom. This bad habit will soon disrupt your own sleep, so it’s important to wean the puppy off your presence.
3. Cover the crate
Another trick that works for many puppies is covering the crate with a towel or blanket. You can also purchase a crate that comes with roll-up covers.
Your puppy won’t see distractions or anything that may trigger crying by covering the crate. Also, the cover will give a den-like feel, which makes puppies more relaxed and secure.
4. Consider using calming aids
For puppies with separation anxiety, calming aids will help a lot. You can consult the vet about the best option and dosage that you can use.
Moreover, you can purchase over-the-counter soothing aids like calming sprays, artificial dog pheromone, and essential oils. You can also explore calming treats that will help tone down your puppy before crating.
If you’re keen to give sedatives to your dog, you should consult the vet first. Not all dogs, especially very young puppies, respond to sedatives well.
5. Make the crate inviting
To reduce your puppy’s risk of throwing a tantrum, you should make the crate as comfy and inviting as possible. You can do this by putting your pup’s favorite toys and bedding.
Puppy owners also place one of their used shirts inside the crate to help calm their pets down. This works well, especially if you’re placing the crate outside your bedroom.
6. Drain your puppy’s excess energy
Taking your puppy to a short walk or playtime will help drain its excess energy. After that, the pup will prefer to sleep inside the crate instead of throwing a tantrum.
Just remember that puppies don’t need excessive exercise. Also, it would help if you kept the pup hydrated to prevent the risk of overheating.
What should I do if my puppy is scared of the crate?
It’s a normal reaction for puppies to get scared of the crate. After all, it’s an unfamiliar space, and they need time to get used to it.
- Lure with treats. Dogs are food-driven, so treats will go a long way in making them get used to the crate. You can start tossing treats or feeding the pup inside the crate without closing the door.
- Choose the right crate. Your choice of the crate is also crucial in getting your puppy to like it. Make sure that the crate has enough space for the pup to stand, turn, lie down, and sit.
- Let the puppy sniff it. Before starting formal crate training, you should give your puppy the chance to sniff and become acquainted with the crate. This will help the pup relax inside and outside the crate.
- Keep crate stays short. During the first weeks, it’s best to keep crating in short periods. This will prevent your pup from associating the crate with a negative experience.
- Associate the crate with fun. Another thing you can do is associate your dog’s crate with fun activities. You can do this by incorporating the crate during playtime.
A puppy throwing tantrum in crate is a common problem. The good thing is that training, familiarization, and a proper schedule will help stop this issue.
It’s also important to take crate training slowly and carefully. This way, your pup won’t establish a negative association with the crate over time.